Austin | Dallas | Houston
Monster Mash

All dressed up (like a zombie) and nowhere to go? Top picks for the most happening Halloween parties

Austin Photo Set: News_Zombie Ball_Oct 2011_bullet hole
The more creative the death the better over at this year's Zombie Ball at ACL Live on Saturday. Photo by Jon Shapley
Austin Photo_News_Halloween Parties_White Ghost Shivers
The White Ghost Shivers usher in the end of the world at their Apocaliptico Dia de los Muertos Halloween Ball at Beauty Ballroom.
Austin Photo: Events_Eat Drink and Be Scary_Poster
You may choose to go naughty or nice to any of these parties. But either way: you better get dressed up!

Halloween has always my favorite night of the year, and it's been my mission since childhood to get invited to as many Halloween parties as possible.

Honestly, I don't really love the scarier parts of All Hallow's Eve (like The House of Torment or the overly-sexy ladies' costumes on Sixth Street). What I love are all the big parties with themed foods (Spider Sliders!) and spoooooky drinks (Witch's Brew!) and, most of all, costume contests.

The Halloween party costume contest gives people something to aim for in their self-decoration. A reason to go to Lucy's in Disguise on South Congress and ask for help from the brilliant minds there to make sure you win the office party contest this year ('cuz that Captain America costume from Target ain't cutting it, sir).

To up your chances of winning the big costume title this year, we've compiled all the biggest parties this Halloween weekend to dress up and show off your best monster fashion. (Don't worry, we're only including the parties where you have a chance to win big!)

Ghoulwill Ball

Friday night, Goodwill Industries of Central Texas hosts the annual Ghoulwill Ball at the W Hotel. This year's theme is "Mr. Dark's Carnival," so all attendees are invited to dress in their best cadaverous carnivalesque couture. Might we suggest the pairing of a mustachioed circus strongman and an alluring bearded lady?

Halloween Scream Party

Also Friday night, Austin City Living is hosting the 5th Annual Halloween Scream Party, benefiting the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation. There are approximately one million sponsors attached to this party, so there should definitely be plenty of food and drink for everyone. (And the costume portion of the evening isn't even mandatory, so your chances of winning the contest are phenomenal!)

Eat Drink and Be Scary Ball

On Saturday, the Eat Drink and Be Scary Ball kicks off at the Hyatt Regency Downtown. This evening of food, drinks and costumed partying benefits Sammy's House, a nonprofit that provides funds for medically sensitive and developmentally delayed children. There will also be a live and silent auction, in addition to the very necessary costume contest.

Apocaliptico Dia de los Muertos Halloween Ball

Over at Beauty Ballroom on Saturday night, the White Ghost Shivers are hosting their own Apocaliptico Dia de los Muertos Halloween Ball in honor of the end of the Mayan calendar and the eventual destruction of the entire known solar system. (Y'know, the usual.) This musical evening will also include a performance by The Minor Mishap Marching Band and lots of fun and bizarre trinkets for sale in the End of Days Market Square.

Dragoween: Night of 1,000 Madonnas

The costume shouldn't be too difficult to decide on if you attend Austin Roundup's Dragoween: Night of 1,000 Madonnas on Saturday. Held at the R. L. Davis Auditorium on the Texas School for the Deaf campus, this benefit party is putting the attention of the evening back where it belongs: on the Material Girl herself. Only question is: Gap Tooth Punk Rock Madonna, Cone Bra and Glamour Madonna or Amazing Arms and Goat's Milk Baths Madonna?

Zombie Ball

Meanwhile, ACL Live is infested with zombies of all shapes and sizes at the now infamous Zombie Ball, now in its fourth terrifying, beautiful year. Nobody ever seems to grow tired of the decomposing recently-deceased theme, and the most outrageous and elegant costumes of the year typically show up on the dance floor at this party. Think you've got what it takes to top them? Join in Saturday night.

Hell: A Halloween Ball

And finally, what holiday would be complete without a little gender-bending tranny action from your friends at the ND? CHRISTEENE, that loveable scamp returns from promoting her new album to attack the ND with her general cavalcade of hysterical, in-your-face excitement. Together with music maestro JJ Booya and plenty of special guests, CHRISTEENE presents Hell: A Halloween Ball. Costumes are mandatory for this show, but you'll likely lose them somewhere in a dark corner somewhere throughout the night.

These are just our top picks for all types of tastes for the weekend. Keep in mind that actual All Hallow's Eve doesn't happen until next Wednesday, so there will be even more to look forward to then, including Trouble Puppet Theater Company's Toil and Trouble premiere and the Soundsystem show over at ACL Live.

Now get to work on those costumes!

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Austin news, views + events

Insider Offers

Curated experiences at exclusive prices

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address