Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Get Spooked on The Strip (and in Downtown)

I LOVE Halloween. It's my favorite holiday, but more than that, it's mind-boggling to me that anyone could prefer any other choice to a night devoted to dressing up and getting drunk and eating candy and making out with girls dressed like hot versions of super heroes or monsters or Abe Lincoln (and I'm predicting that this year's big Halloween costume will be Joaquin Phoenix from The Master, which will mean there will be a few hot lady versions of said costume that might just be slightly sexually confusing).

Las Vegas, as one would expect, does Halloween right. Thanksgiving or Christmas/ Chanukah/ Kwanza in Vegas? Just sad. New Years Eve is of course a blast there, but also turns The Strip into the most crowded place on Earth, while drinks and food cost about a million dollars (prices are only slightly exaggerated).  But Halloween in Las Vegas? If you've never done it at least once, I feel bad for you son.

This year promises to be a particularly gruesome Halloween month (another reason I love the holiday: it basically means a month chock full o' parties), with Hostel director/ Quentin Tarantino entourage member Eli Roth's Goretorium at the Harmon Corner Shopping Center opening up for bizness this week. An ambitious Halloween Haunt that will be open year round, the place promises to deliver bloody scares aplenty, all of them approved by the twisted horror auteur. While the $40 admission price is a bit steep for a haunt (the Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights and Knotts Scary Farm haunts cost about the same but also include the park's many rides in their admission prices), your ticket does include admission to the attached nightclub... which could be fun or totally terrible, who's to say until it opens officially? Roth said that he wants the place to be "the scariest, top of the line, most intense haunted house in the world," and now he'll have the opportunity to put his money where his (very big) mouth is as the place is just hours away from opening its doors for the first time.

Sick and twisted magician The Amazing Jonathan has "designed" (or been given credit for the design of due to marketing concerns) his own Haunted House in Downtown, The SCREAMont Experience at The Las Vegas Club. While this one isn't getting as much hype as Eli Roth's haunt, it also costs half as much to get into. Circus Circus also has their own Fright Dome haunt in their Adventuredome amusement park and converts offers freaky tours of their 13th Floor Experience, but then again, Circus Circus is scary enough without people dressed as zombies lunging at you from dark corners.

So if you're looking for some good scares, Las Vegas has got you covered. But that's not the main reason to visit Sin City for the best holiday on the planet (or the Saturday before the best holiday on the planet if Halloween happens to take place in the middle of the week). The real reason that Las Vegas is the best place to be for Halloween is that it's LAS VEGAS ON HALLOWEEN. The ultimate party holiday (sorry, NYE, there is too much sadness and loneliness involved with you if you don't have anyone to kiss at midnight) combined with the ultimate party city. A place where people travel to in order to escape their normal lives and act a little ridiculous combined with a holiday where people dress up to escape their normal lives and act a little ridiculous.

There are over 50 parties being thrown at bars, clubs, and other venues on the weekend before Halloween and on the night of the holiday. Mandalay Bay throws a Haunted Hotel Ball that combines the best of Vegas nightlife with an old-school (and Shining-like) society ball, with a scary haunt into something totally unique. The 3rd annual Las Vegas Halloween Parade is a fun all ages event in Downtown, and it plays like a First Fridays event with costumes and giant puppets (and the fact that the route is near some of the most unique bars in town doesn't hurt). If you're feeling a bit frisky, head to The Fetish and Fantasy Halloween Ball at The Hard Rock.

Clearly there are plenty of options for parties and events, but I've personally enjoyed a few Halloweens at GhostBar in The Palms. The place already has a fun spooky theme with glowing ghost-shaped overhead lights and 3D hologram portraits on the wall that seem to follow you as you walk, and their Halloween event kicks it up to the next level. Plus the fact that the place is located on the 55th floor of the hotel, and the patio area (which includes a clear glass walkway that makes you feel like you're floating on air) affords you some of the best views in the city.

But wherever you end up in Vegas on or around Halloween, you will find yourself a good time. How can one argue with people walking around The Strip sipping on giant Margaritas in full costume (some of which will be clever and elaborate references to semi-obscure movies and TV shows you love and some of which will just be really sexy), celebrating the best holiday we have? You can't argue with it, and you really shouldn't try.

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