NYC Halloween shows: A Scarily Selective Guide (GWAR, Deafheaven & more)
Halloween is upon us and NYC really loves to get into the spirit. With it falling on a Wednesday this year, it means there are two Hallloweekends, before and after, though most of the action is this weekend. As always, the biggest event of the season is the 45th-annual Village Halloween Parade, which takes place on October 31 from 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM. Anyone can march in the parade but in order to participate, you must be in costume, and arrive at 6th Ave at Canal St. beginning at 6:30 PM. This year’s theme is “I AM a Robot!” and this year there's a special $25 VIP section for those who dress in theme:
Your $25 advance ticket buys you a secret entry point for early admission and no lines, a special DJ and soundtrack for an In-Parade party, TV coverage and the chance to meet other Robots like yourself!!!
If you can’t watch the parade in person, it will be broadcast live on NY1 from 8 - 10 PM.
As usual, there are a million Halloween events, parties and shows to choose from. This year, we just picked what we thought were the most notable. There are also lots of great options that aren't specifically Halloween-themed. Check out our daily What's Going On? posts for the night's most notable shows, and consult our NYC Show Calendar for even more. Our daily Halloween show pics are below.
FRIDAY OCTOBER 26
The Wonder Years, Have Mercy, Oso Oso, Shortly @ Starland Ballroom
This is the first night of The Wonder Years' tour with Have Mercy, Oso Oso, and Shortly, and given the time of the year, this show doubles as "The Wonder Years' occasionally annual Halloween Extravaganza 2." There will be free candy, costume contests, and each band is doing a cover set as well as a regular set. The Wonder Years are doing Queen, Have Mercy are doing Post Malone, Oso Oso are doing Fall Out Boy, and Shortly is doing My Chemical Romance.
Gutterween @ The Gutter (also 10/27)
Williamsburg's other, smaller bowling alley and venue is hosting a three-night "Gutterween" with cover bands. Friday night features acts as Cyndi Lauper, Johnny Thunders, The Rolling Stones, B-52's, The Kinks, The Who, Black Sabbath, Marilyn Manson, Insane Clown Posse, and Michael Jackson. Saturday features bands as Hole, Buzzcocks, The Replacements, blink-182, T. Rex, Amy Winehouse, Queens of the Stone Age, Tool, and Smashing Pumpkins.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 27
Coven, Sanhedrin @ Le Poisson Rouge
Halloween weekend shows often have cover sets or costume parties, but if you want to go to a show where the actual music is spooky, Coven is a great choice. The occult rock legends reunited last year for their first US show in 27 years, and now they're finally playing NYC. Their classic debut album Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls sounds as evil today as it did in 1969 (which was one year before the debut album by masters of evil Black Sabbath, and also it might be worth noting that this album has a song called "Black Sabbath" on it).
Witch Taint, Voice of Doom at Lucky 13
In 2004 comedian, musician and BV contributor Dave Hill created alter-ego Lance, a teenager living with his parents in Gary, IN who also happened to be the lead singer and sole member of “the most extreme, brutal, and Satanic black metal band of all-time.” That band, Witch Taint, play this show with "NJ's legendary horror punk band" Voice of Doom.
'Suspiria' Costume Party at Videology
Dario Argento's '70s horror classic (and not the just-released remake) is the inspiration behind this costume party where Videology will transform into the Tanz Dance Academy of Freiburg, with inspiration coming from the vivid colors of the film. There will also be witches, ballet dancers, and more. Sadly, this is the last night of operation for the Williamsburg screening room, bar and DVD rental store which closes after 15 years.
Halloween at the Black Lodge with A Place Both Wonderful and Strange, Fuck You, Tammy!, knifesex, Liberty Rose, Winkie, Del Judas @ Elsewhere
Twin Peaks-themed group A Place Both Wonderful and Strange's "Halloween at the Black Lodge" has become an annual tradition with a host of acts (including one, Fuck You, Tammy!, that was clearly inspired by the most recent season).
Metal Allegiance: Performing Black Sabbath’s first album and more @ Brooklyn Bowl
Here's a Halloweekend covers show with some very Halloween-ready music being covered. Metal supergroup Metal Allegiance (members of Testament, Overkill, Dream Theater) are performing what is arguably the first true metal album, Black Sabbath's 1970 self-titled debut, in full (and more).
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28
The 28th Annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade and Chi-lloween 2018 @ East River Amphitheatre
While it's not actually in Tompkins Square Park this year, the much-loved Dog Parade is back after almost not happening. If you can't make it in person -- it's from noon to three -- it will be broadcast on ESPN.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30
Sally Can't Dance, Tribute to The Cramps @ The Bowery Electric
This monthly tribute party will be deep in human flies and goo goo muck as they salute the late Lux Interior and The Cramps. Guest vocalists include Eugene Hutz (Gogol Bordello) Cait O'Riordan (The Pogues), Jack Terricloth (World/Inferno Friendship Society), Jesse Malin, Daddy Long Legs, Miss Guy (Toilet Boys), and tons more, plus DJs Jonathan Toubin and Howie Pyro.
Wavves, Beach Fossils, Kevin Krauter @ Elsewhere
Beach Fossils threw a very fun Halloween party at Brooklyn Steel last year, and this year they're back, with Wavves in tow, for two spooky nights at Elsewhere. Kevin Krauter, formerly of Hoops, opens both nights and Halloween night also doubles as Elsewhere's one-year anniversary party (more on that below).
Alphaville Halloween Party
Bushwick venue Alphaville is throwing this free Halloween covers extravaganza featuring bands as Gary Numan, X, The Go-Gos, Radiohead, and Mazzy Star.
GWAR, Miss May I, American Sharks @ Irving Plaza
If you're looking for a concert to see on Halloween, what better band than a band who wears costumes and sprays the audience with blood on any night of the year? Irving Plaza hosts 'GWARoween PT II “The Bloodening'” on Halloween night, and while we can't know for sure which one will be the best, it feels safe to assume that this one will at least have the most amount of beheadings.
Elsewhere 1-year Anniversary w/ Beach Fossils, Wavves and more
Popgun's three-stage venue Elsewhere opened Halloween night 2017 and they're celebrating the one-year anniversary tonight with this spooktacular featuring Beach Fossils, Wavves, plus Kevin Krauter, Wooing, Native Sun, DJs and more. And if you're hungry, the Mission Chinese located on the ground floor is now open.
New York Night Train‘s Haunted Hop Halloween Spook w/ Roky Erickson, Hank Wood, Death Valley Girls and more @ Knockdown Center
Jonathan Toubin is once again taking over Queens' massive Knockdown Center for a Haunted Hop featuring live sets from Roky Erickson, Hank Wood & The Hammerheads, Death Valley Girls and White Mystery. There’s also the “Monster Mash Room Full of Mirrors” with “12 of your favorite bands” pretending to be other bands, plus Howie Pyro’s Blood Diner and Discotheque, Gare B Scopi’s Horror Cinema, Screaming Horses Brujas Coven, Jonathan Toubin himself spinning spooky 45s with mummy go-go dancers, a costume contest, and “much more.”
Christian Death, Pawns, Sadist, Devil Master, Blu Anxxiety @ Brooklyn Bazaar
Valor Kand has lead death rockers and American goth icons Christian Death since 1985 and has continued to shock and horrify (and delight) fans.
Cypress Hill "Haunted Hill" @ Gramercy Theatre
Hip Hop vets Cypress Hill just released a new album, and now they're set to come back to NYC for one of their annual Haunted Hill shows (which they've been doing for over 20 years) with promised "Special Guests."
World/Inferno Friendship Society Hallowmas @ Warsaw
Speaking of annual traditions, it's World/Inferno Friendship Society's holiday spectacular, Hallowmas, which is famous for its elaborate planning, stage show and surprises. What do they have store this year?
Deafheaven, DIIV, Ionna Gika @ White Eagle Hall
Deafheaven, DIIV, and Ionna Gika (of IO Echo) all make the kind of dark, gothy music that sounds great every night of the year but should especially work well on Halloween. Some of these shows will have crowds dressed in wacky costumes, but we suspect this one may have everyone dressed in all black.
Phil-O-Ween @ The Capitol Theatre (10/31, 11/1 & 11/2)
The Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh is returning to the Cap for a three-night Halloween run billed as Phil-O-Ween. Night one (Halloween proper) will see him playing a set as Phiddle, aka Phil Lesh and Twiddle, and there's also sets from Phil Lesh and The Terrapin Family Band, GEM featuring Grahame Lesh, Elliott Peck and Mihali Savoulidis. Night two is Phil Lesh & the Terrapin Family Band ft. Jimmy Herring (of Widespread Panic) and Karl Denson, and night three is Phil Lesh & the Terrapin Family Band ft. Jimmy Herring.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2
The Sons & Heirs (Morrissey tribute band), Masters & Servants (Depeche Mode tribute band) The Bell House
Do you wear black on the outside because black is how you feel on the inside? You'll probably enjoy this party, called "Cemetery Gates," that has Smiths cover band The Sons & Heirs along with Depeche Mode cover band Masters & Servants.
Cypress Hill "Haunted Hill" w/ Madball @ Warsaw
This second night of Haunted Hill should be even crazier as Cypress Hill have New York hardcore vets Madball opening.
Flyers for a few of the shows and parties are below.