The French are still not sure about the whole Halloween thing. Sure, it seems like a good way to sell some stuff, and who doesn’t like candy? But their suspicions that it’s yet another American commercial scam (or something that only little kids should care about) means that you’ll have to make a real effort if you’re set on celebrating Halloween (aka Samain) in the City of Light.
Remember when you were a kid and you dressed up like a witch, a mummy, a vampire, or a zombie? Of course we all moved onto more creative costumes as we got older (like Sexy With, Sexy Mummy, Sexy Vampire, and Sexy Zombie), but the French are still new at this so they think you have to be scary, and will look a bit confused if you just show up disguised as something else. Not that it’s hard to find costumes of all sorts. After all, they do have costume parties, Carnival, and period balls. Here are some of the best shops (keep in mind that by October 30th you may have slim pickings) where you can purchase or rent your disguise:
Vivefiesta Bonne Nouvelle: 25 Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle, 2nd
Au Clown de la République: 11 Boulevard St-Martin, 3rd
A la Poupée Merveilleuse: 9 rue du Temple, 4th
La Joie pour Tous: 37 Blvd St-Germain, 5th
Au Fou Rire: 22bis rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 9th
Clown Montmartre: 22 rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 9th
Au Cotillon Moderne: 13 Boulevard Voltaire, 11th
Vivefiesta Beaumarchais: 38 Bis Boulevard Beaumarchais, 11th
L’Académie du Bal Costumé: 22 rue Ledru Rollin, 12th
Au Bal Masqué: 11 ave Victor Hugo, 16th
Arlequin Sommier: 33 rue Brochant, 17th
Tutti Fiesta: 47 rue St-Ferdinand, 17th
Also, I found an awesome shop this week that specializes in feathered boas, headresses and capes for showgirls, RD Plumes de Paris (26 Galerie Feydeau, 2nd), one of the side passages off Passage des Panoramas, behind the old Stern engravers. The prices are amazing for the quality.
Where to Go
Okay, so now you’ve got a costume, but don’t expect to just go door to door getting free candy. You’ll have to find an event to attend if you want to celebrate in you new duds.
Le Manoir de Paris (18 rue Paradis, 10th): This haunted house is open year-round, but for the Halloween season (October 18 – November 10) there are special extras, with a new Asylum visit added to the regular spooky tour over three floors. Tickets are €25. Buy yours online in advance (be sure to print it!) to avoid long waits in line. Not suitable for kids under 12.
Disneyland Paris: Well, why not celebrate an American holiday in an American theme park? It’s still all in French, so you can feel all cosmopolitan. The decorations are up from October 5th through the 31st, with Frontierland transformed into Halloweenland (where you’ll find the French version of the Haunted Mansion, aka Phantom Manor). The Halloween Soirée on the 31st (from 5pm until 1am) has separate tickets for €37. The tickets are already sold out on the official website, so you’ll have to do a bit of Googling to find people selling theirs (FNAC or Ticketnet may have spots left). And be sure to read their note on costumes (nothing too scary, too “sexy”, too vulgar, or too dangerous to wear on the rides).
Halloween Bars & Clubs
Mystery Demory Night (62 rue Quincampoix, 4th): The Demory-Paris bar near the Centre Pompidou is hosting a Halloween burlesque party with costumes, dancing, sexy performances and a make-up artists for those who come sans déguisement.
Pavillon Champs-Elysées (32 rue Marbeuf, 8th): For bling-bling clubbing, get on the guestlist for the Ultimate Halloween Party, with free entrance for the ladies before midnight, €10 for the guys. Expect dance music for the 1500m² dance floor, priority entrance and free shots for those in costume. From 11pm-6am.
Le Panic Room (10 rue Amelot, 11th): The lower basement of this Oberkampf bar is hosting Halloween Dirtynight “before” party with deep house and techno. Free entry 7pm-2am.
Le Petit Bain (Quai François Mitterrand, 13th): This péniche boat club at the foot of the Bibliothèque is hosting its first DISKOVER #1 Halloween party with live DJ sets from the latest European underground scene. From 11:30pm-6am. Tickets €15 (€12 in advance).
Le Bus Palladium (6 rue Fontaine, 9th): There’s plenty of space for Halloween clubbing on the 31st at this live rock music venue, with a concert by punk band Sweet Guillotine. Entrance free before midnight, then €12 (with a drink). Concert starts at 9pm.
Le Henjo (47 quai de la Tournelle, 5th): Another peniche in the shadow of Notre Dame celebrating Halloween with a costule party, from 11pm until dawn, entrance €12.95.
Le Concorde Atlantique (27 quai Anatole France, 7th): Wearing a great costume to this popular nightclub on the Seine will allow you to cut the lines and get special cadeaux and drinks. Two dance floors and open-air terrace. Entrance €10 (€20 includes 5 drink tokens). Open bar and snacks until midnight. Open 10pm-6am.
Cantada II (13 rue Moret, 11th): This Goth/Punk Bar with the large selection of Absinthe is hosting a “Night of he Living Dead” anti-Halloween party on the 31st, with a DJ playing the best punk and rock of the 70s and 80s (from 11pm until dawn).
Joe Allen (30 rue Pierre Lescot, 1st): The famous American restaurant/bar is having a Halloween party from 7pm-3am, with a haunted house, magician, make-up artist, jack-o-lanterns and candy, of course! COme in costume, entry €30 for adults, €20 for kids (only until 9pm, then they’re off to bed!). Beverages not included (they have Pumpkin Ale!), reserve at email@example.com
Day of the Dead Culture
Festival International du Jour des Morts: The 10th annual Day of the Dead festival takes place in venues throughout Paris from Oct 31st through Nov 8th, with colorful altar offerings, photo and cinema expos, live performances, and even chocolate tastings at the Salon du Chocolat. Don’t miss the inaugural festival from 8:30pm on October 31st at the Couvent des Cordeliers (15 rue Ecole de Médecine, 6th). Free entry to all events, full program online.
Le Jour des Morts: The French actually celebrate Toussaint (or All Saints Day) on November 1st, which is more festive in Mexico. Join in the annual Mexican-style El Día de los Muertos at the Belleville art galleryAssociation pour l’estampe & l’art populaire on the 31st from 6pm. Live music on November 2nd.
Don’t forget the Jack-o-Lantern! Get yours at the pumpkin patch at Gally Farm, just outside of Paris, through the 31st October.