Looking for live bands, burlesque and 10,000 dancing ghouls this Halloween? Parade of Lost Souls is Back, Oct. 31

Photo credit: Rodger Levesque | Flickr

Photo credit: Rodger Levesque | Flickr

Looking for something distinctly different this Halloween night in Vancouver?

The Parade of Lost Souls may be just the thing. The annual tradition, which sees thousands of people marching, dancing, playing music and eating fire on the streets of the Commercial Drive neighbourhood, returns Oct. 31, from 7 p.m.-10 p.m.

The grassroots, crowdsourced and utterly unique parade dates back decades in East Vancouver. It’s loosely organized and community-based, and generally features an eclectic assortment of local groups, ranging from live bands to clowns, magicians, Mexican folk dancers, dancing zombies and even burlesque troupes. The spirit is participatory – with everyone invited to join in a celebration of life and death.  

Photo credit: Ianiv & Arieanna | Flickr

Photo credit: Ianiv & Arieanna | Flickr

The theme this year is “tricksters.” Expect to see lots of artsy costumes honouring mythology’s most celebrated tricksters, from Dionysus and Satan to Puck and Bart Simpson. Highlights this year include a Thriller flashmob, an impromptu carnival band comprised of everything from flutes to tubas, and a “ghost caravan” consisting of a portable theatre for staging spooky vignettes.

As usual, the exact route of the parade is a secret, revealed at midnight on Oct. 30, though it’s sure to be somewhere in the Commercial Drive neighbourhood. The revelry continues afterward at the official Lost Souls After-Party, held at Astorino’s on Commercial Drive (1739 Venables St.). Expect more rollicking carnival-style music (courtesy of the Okestar Slivovica), as well as live burlesque and DJs (tickets $20-$25).

Photo credit: Rodger Levesque | Flickr

Photo credit: Rodger Levesque | Flickr

For the second year in a row, the parade and after-party are being organized by Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret, a local collective of professional and emerging artists in East Vancouver. The underlying goal of all this macabre fun, according to their site, is “to redefine our ideas of community engagement [and] to reconnect with one another, and with ourselves, in a celebration of the cycles of life and death.”

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