You know the (mostly true) stereotype: Gay Christmas takes form in Halloween.
To mark the hallowed holiday, many cities throw outrageous bashes, host tongue-in-cheek events, or go all-out risqué. But many traditional ways of celebrating are now considerably more frightful thanks to Miss Rona. So, across the country cities have canceled events like West Hollywood’s Halloween Costume Carnaval, Chicago’s Halloween on Halsted, and New York City’s Greenwich Village Halloween Parade.
However, you can still safely celebrate the ghoulish season with drive-in drag shows, outdoor festivals, and road trips that have been modified to protect against getting infected by the coronavirus. And don’t worry, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention you can still dress up to an obsessive and borderline-inappropriate level, just as long as you don’t use a costume mask as a substitute for a cloth mask.
So, no matter where you live, there’s sure to be a perfect socially distanced festivity nearby or just a short ride away. Let’s focus on three of the big guys here.
Drive ‘N Drag: Halloween
Wig out with some of the most fantastic, fierce, and spooky ladies of RuPaul’s Drag Race in this cross-country drag show. Attendees will get the live theatrical experience from the safety of their own cars. The outdoor series launches in Philly on October 9th and runs through October 31st with stops in San Francisco, Boston, Denver, and New York.
The show opens with Asia O’Hara performing a séance to summon the souls of Drag Race favorites Yvie Oddly, Aquaria, Kameron Michaels, Kim Chi, Vanessa Vanjie, and Violet Chachki who have all have died from obscure causes. Each soul will share her chilling tale of death in an immersive stage performance that is sure to fright and delight.
Tickets for Drive ‘N Drag: Halloween can be found here. Multiple shows will run in each city. VIP parking spots near the front of the stage are $139 per car (two people per car). Regular parking spots are $69 per car (two people per car). Additional passengers are $25 each. Food and beverages are available via Gourmet Food Trucks and limited-edition Halloween merchandise will be available from the queens!
Dystopia is a three-day (October 30th – November 1st) LGBTQ open-air festival located on a private 500-acre site in the Pocono Mountains—just two hours outside of New York City.
Following Utopia, Jake Resnicow’s wildly successful summer retreat—an event that had no attendees test positive for the coronavirus—Dystopia will be an opportunity to get away and relax with yoga, hiking, and campfires in Pennsylvania’s famed woods. There will be immersive performances, with a fiery surprise from Burning Man and music provided by Dan Slater, Danny Verde, Matt Denton, Connor Curnick, Calypso, and Spencer H. This will also be your chance to celebrate Halloween by getting in on the post-apocalyptic fun by dressing in your doomsday best: Zombie, warrior, or undecided voter.
Dystopia takes safety protocols seriously. The retreat will only allow 225 guests with all cabins at 50 percent capacity. All guests are to wear facial coverings indoors, in music areas, and whenever there is a possibility of coming within six feet of others. And everyone (including staff and vendors) must adhere to a two-part testing mandate that requires attendees to be tested at home, three days before the event, and then again once arriving at the event grounds.
All-Access Passes for Dystopia, including three-day/two-night accommodations, start at $449. Each boutique cabin has its own private bathroom, shower, air conditioning, and heat. For more information, check out TakeMeToDystopia.com.
Drive out of your comfort zone
Grab your “sis-taaaas,” jump in the car, and take the scenic route through New England to explore gay-friendly cities and their surrounding Technicolor countryside towns. You will find brilliant little stops in Rhode Island and New Hampshire, and surprises tucked away in Maine. But be sure to add one of the hottest Halloween destinations to your itinerary: Salem, Massachusetts—just 30 minutes from Boston. Pro tip: With a full moon appearing on October 31st, stay clear of the Black Flame Candle as not to wake the Sanderson sisters from their slumber.
Celebrating Disney’s ghoulish classic, Hocus Pocus, aside, please note that some of the annual Haunted Happenings have been canceled or moved to virtual events, while others are still on. Even without special events, Salem is still worth the trip. You can enjoy a walk around the city to take in the architecture and green spaces, and eat and shop your way down Essex Street. And museums such as the Salem Witch Museum, Witch Dungeon Museum, and Witch House are open but have capacity limits. The Peabody Essex Museum is hosting a new exhibit called “The Salem Witch Trials 1692” and includes rarely shown original witch trial documents. Walking tours in Salem, which typically allow up to 50 people per tour, are limited to 10 people.
Note: Advance tickets are highly recommended or required at many attractions. Masks are also required in all public spaces (indoors and outdoors), as is social distancing. Your best bet: Plan ahead. Look online or call to get a better sense of what experience to expect.