Call it what you will: All Hallows Eve, Dia de los Muertos, Samhain or just Halloween, but there’s just something about this time of year. Las Vegas is home to some of the world’s wildest Halloween parties, with tricks and treats for all tastes.
Halloween is a big deal for nightclubs in Vegas, which makes it a big deal for XS and Tryst Managing Partner Jesse Waits.
“We encourage people to go all-out,” he said. “If they’re not completely decked out, they’re underdressed. People can be themselves and dress the way they want to dress, so it’s one of the most popular holidays.”
Nightclubs are a popular spot on Halloween weekend, with big-named celebrities and DJs performing all weekend and big cash prizes being doled out in costume contests. XS and Tryst aren’t holding costume contests this year, but they are among the clubs, including Chateau and Studio 54, immersing themselves in a theme.
“We wanted to make it more about the artists, the music and the themes [selected by] the artists,” Waits said. Deadmau5, Avicii and Manufactured Superstars are among the performers that weekend that have come up with a theme for the night to match their music and add a spooky ambiance for the holiday.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Halloween without costumes, and you’ll see some crazy ones in Vegas. Among those Waits has seen include ultra-realistic Transformers robots and a Na’Vi costume from the film “Avatar” that included stilts.
If you’re looking to impress, store-bought might not cut it this year.
“Everybody dresses up,” he said. “It’s like being a kid again at nightclubs.”
While you’re making your outfit, just take note: You can’t enter a casino wearing a masks, and you can’t have any sort of weapon with you, either.
XS at Encore has a full weekend, with Avicii, Axwell, Deadmau5, Afrojack from Thursday to Monday, respectively, each one hosting a night with themes from “Fallen Angels” to “House of Horror.”
Tryst at Wynn kicks off the party Thursday night with “The Affair” Industry night with Manufactured Superstars and Dave Fogg, “Fairytale Land” party Friday evening and “Angels and Devils” Saturday with TV star and Vegas performer Angel Porrino.
Hot Chelle Rae kicks off the celebration at Haze at Aria on Thursday night, Flo Rida performs Saturday night, while Ludacris performs Monday night and there are $10,000 in prizes for the costume contests on both nights. Guests at Aria have free admission until midnight.
On Thursday night, Tao at the Venetian hosts the Taolloween costume contest with $10,000 in prizes. On Saturday, they’re home to Heidi Klum’s Halloween party. Expect some crazy costumes from Klum and Seal, who’ve dressed as everything from Transformers to aliens and a six-armed Hindu goddess.
Vice Sunday hosts the Lavoween costume contest at Lavo at the Palazzo, with $10,000 in prizes.
Yolanda Be Cool treats guests at The Bank to a special live DJ set Friday night, including their hit “We No Speak Americano.” Afterward, you can meet some “Beautiful People,” as infamous rocker Marilyn Manson hosts the party on Saturday night.
Thursday night, Moon gets an early start on Halloween with a party hosted by “True Blood” star Joe Manganiello. Friday its Cirque de Stylz featuring the Danseurs Rhythme.
Saturday is the ultimate Halloween party night with Night of the Killer Costumes 5 at the Palms Las Vegas. That night Rain, Moon, Playboy Club and Ghostbar will all be hosting parties. At Rain, DJ Pauly D will be performing and prizes include $10,000 and a one-night stay at a Palms Sky Villa. Moon is giving away $10,000 and a one-night stay in the Palm’s famed Hardwood Suite, while Playboy Club and Ghostbar are both offering $5,000 first prizes and ovenight stays at a Palms penthouse and the Palms G Suite respectively .
Calling all do-gooders, Revolution at Mirage is holding a Superheroes and Villains Costume Party on Friday. DJ Ear Waxx is performing and there is a $2,000 costume contest for the best super-themed outfit.
Crown Theater and Nightclub at the Rio celebrates all Halloween weekend. Get on the guest list for half price (or free on Sunday and Monday), and party with Mia Amore, Ron Jeremy, DJ Franzen and more throughout the weekend.
Ice-T and Coco host the “Player’s Ball” Saturday night at LAX, featuring a contest seeking out the “Sexiest Seductress” and offer $10,000 in cash prizes.
Saturday night at at Pussycat Dolls Burlesque Saloon, Gretchen Christine Rossi of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” takes center stage with with the Dolls.
“True Blood” star Sam Trammell hosts the Halloween party Saturday night at Vanity at Hard Rock Hotel. On Sunday night, the Sinners’ Ball Sunday kicks off with $50,000 in cash and prizes for costume categories such as: Sexiest, Best Celebrity, Scariest, Most Creative, Best Group and WTF.
“Girl Next Door” star Bridget Marquardt hosts at Gallery at Planet Hollywood Saturday night, celebrating the release of her Halloween costume line, followed by a UFC afterparty with Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz.
“90210” star Annalynne McCord hosts at PURE at Caesars Palace Friday night and Snooki from “Jersey Shore” hosts Saturday, with $10,000 in prizes being given out each night.
Chateau at Paris Las Vegas is home to JWOWW’s “Pimp N Ho Costume Ball” Friday night, with the MTV star hosting electronic dance music-centric Halloween party where the club and outside terrace have been transformed into a fantasy land.
Afterward, Paul Oakenfold performs at Chateau on Saturday night, at the first “Blood Orange Masquerade Ball.” They’ll be giving out $20,000 in cash and prizes, with the best costume receiving $10,000.
Studio 54’s Nightmare on 54th Street party kicks off Friday night at the MGM Grand, with a DJ Loczi Halloween version of his recurring Electric Dream night titled “Electric Scream.”
Then on Saturday, Holly Madison hosts the 3rd Annual “Hollyween” with cast mates Laura Croft, Josh Strickland and Angel Porrino from the show “Holly’s World.” Expect costume contests, performances and a unique rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Finally, Monday night is the 45th Annual Beaux Arts Ball at Studio 54, a costume gala with awards of $25,000 in total cash prizes .
Monday night at Harrah’s Carnaval Court, the party goes on from noon to 4 a.m. with local band The Crashers and two costumes contests with $5,000 in cash and prizes.
Body English nightclub at the Hard Rock is hosting a “Rock Star Halloween” party Saturday night, with music by DJ Twisted.
Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club closes out a week of Halloween partying this weekend, with Lindsey Haun from “True Blood” hosting on Friday, a $5000 costume contest Saturday, open bar on Sunday night, and a Masquerade Ball and Hustler Honey Search Monday. Expect drink specials throughout the weekend and 2-for-1 cover on Monday.
Attractions & More
Werewolves and demons aren’t the only thing that transform in the night. Many Vegas attractions undergo a startling metamorphosis during the Halloween season, becoming ghoulish versions of their former selves. Madame Tussauds at the Venetian is among them, and one of the most drastic.
“After Dark: Experience the Lockdown,” combines the production of a Halloween attraction with the mystery of possible paranormal activity.
“We’re above the old Sands and the Copa Room, and employees were reporting some kinds of paranormal activity,” Madame Tussauds marketing head Jennifer Morton said. “We even got the Ghost Adventures team to check it out.”
And of course, the crew found some kind of activity.
“It’s a unique angle, sharing with guests the paranormal activity that employees have really experienced here,” she said. “We’re including our own theatrical spin on it along with what employee have really heard or seen.”
On top of blending real reports with produced scares, guests will have to contend with not knowing whether that’s a wax sculpture or a hidden ghoul waiting for you to feel safe.
“We’re offering a different type of experience, more toward psychological terror,” she said.
Another transformation comes over Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. The ill-fated ship’s tragic history gets a frightening makeover for the Titanic Haunted Tour, featuring ghostly characters who were victims of the ship’s collision. The Haunted Tour is complimentary with the cost of admission to the main attraction on Oct. 30 and 31
Fright Dome takes over Circus Circus’ Adventuredome, with an attraction rated among the top five scariest haunted attractions in the United States two years in a row. This year, Fright Dome is themed after the “Halloween” film series, as ghastly slashers, including Michael Meyers, roam the premises stalking and spooking guests.
The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay becomes the Haunted Reef Saturday night. Dark and spooky tunnels, creepy sounds and ambient music join the Reef’s terrifying predators to make for a frightening experience that will make you rethink just how jolly it is “Under the Sea.”
The third annual OktoberFrightFest envelops the Fremont Street Experience with spooky vibes and ghoulish sounds all month, with themed Viva Vision light and sound shows themed to “Time Warp” and “Monster Mash,” and bands playing the ghastliest hits from Guns & Roses, Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, Michael Jackson and more.
The 2nd Annual Las Vegas Halloween Parade is an all-ages parade running downtown from Fourth Street to Ogden Avenue. Word has it that the best spot to view the parade is along Fourth, from Hoover Street to Fremont Street. El Cortez will host the official after-party of the Las Vegas Halloween Parade, kicking off immediately following the parade.
Dust off your cape and cowl for the Golden Nugget’s Heroes vs Villains Charity Poker benefitting the Stan Lee Foundation, Sunday at 3 p.m. For details and RSVP, e-mail email@example.com.
Springs Preserve gets into the Halloween spirit with the Haunted Harvest festival, which takes over the attraction from 5 to 9 p.m., with a haunted house, trick-or-treating, games, hayrides and more. The Harvest runs through Monday.
Night School for Girls at the Excalibur undergoes a transformation into “Night School for Ghouls,” with pole and burlesque classes offered Friday through Sunday.
Bars & Dining
Even meal and drink gets a spooky makeover on Halloween weekend. You can celebrate Dia de los Muertos at a Mexican restaurant, grab a pint of frightening brew all weekend long or subconsciously wonder if there’s more to that scary pun name for that meatball platter.
Hussong’s Cantina & Taqueria at Mandalay Bay celebrates Day of the Dead with creepy cocktails and food specials from Thursday through Monday, including Dos Equis pitchers for $18 and Don Julio Blackberry Margaritas served in a skull for $9.95. Paint supplies and skulls will be provided to contestants interested in entering the Most Interesting Painted Skull contest on Sunday night, with judging at 7 p.m.
China Poblano at The Cosmopolitan celebrates with a special Day of the Dead menu with items priced from $12 to $14 and special cocktails.
Simon Restaurant and Lounge at Palms Place has a special Halloween Brunch on Sunday for $39.50, with spooky items like Snickers Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins, Frankenberry Treats and their full regular menu.
Cabo Wabo Cantina at Planet Hollywood hosts an ’80s Halloween celebration, with a $200 free bar tab up for grabs to the most “rockin’” costume. Meanwhile, $5 touchdown shots, $5 Buffalo chicken nachos and buckets of fries, $10 buckets of wings, $20 buckets of beer are on their Halloween menu.
Insert Coin(s) is offering cash prizes and partying throughout the weekend: $500 for the best Walking Dead costume Friday night, $1,000 for sexiest costume on Saturday, $500 for the best video game or anime costume on Sunday and $500 for the best overall costume on Monday night.
Get ready to celebrate the King of Pop, when Rí Rá Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay has their Michael Jackson-themed “Thriller”party at 9 p.m. on Saturday. The pub will be decked out for the festivities and Jackson will be the night’s soundtrack. Specials include $4 pints of Newcastle and Heineken, $4 zombie shots and $4 dirt pudding.
Jean Philippe Pâtisserie is serving Halloween creations at Bellagio and Aria, as well as displaying a chocolate sculpture of a flying witch at the Bellagio location, which uses 60 pounds of chocolate and 30 pounds of fondant.
Rhumbar at the Mirage hosts the “Circus Sunday All Hallows’ Eve” party on Sunday night, with a spooky circus theme, special cocktails and DJ Larry Lynx spinning Halloween-inspired tunes.
PBR Rock Bar at Planet Hollywood hosts the “Haunted Hoe-Down,” with a costume contest and bull-riding competition for a $200, $100 or $50 bar tab for winners in both categories.
Rockhouse’s third annual “True Bud” weekend offers two-for-one Budweisers and Ketel One vodka specials all weekend, with DJ Sincere spinning some monstrous mash-ups and costume contests throughout for up to $500.
McFadden’s at the Rio is partying it up all weekend, with a beer pong tournament Thursday, costume contest for $500 on Friday, “Boos and Booze” $20 open bar and drink specials on Saturday, and half-off wells and drafts for costumed partygoers Monday night.