One of Vancouver’s favourite Halloween traditions, the Parade of Lost Souls, returns to Commercial Drive this year on October 28. Presented by the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret Society, the just-announced 2023 edition features multiple choose-your-own-adventure processions through East Van.
Participating souls—yes, that’s you and your fellow Halloween-obsessed family and friends—will depart in one of three directions at 7:30pm and 8:30pm from the Britannia Library at 1661 Napier Street. Each procession will be led by a band, with additional festivities including a “Thriller” flash mob, a witches dance workshop, and “Time Warp” dancers.
As anyone who’s descended on East Van for past editions knows, costumes aren’t required to take part, but the Parade of Lost Souls is at its most fun when packed with folks letting their orange-and-black freak flags fly. That’s another way of saying the more wart-festooned witches, DIY Count Choculas, and human pot plants the better.
Those needing a little direction are welcome to show up for drop-in workshops at Dusty Flowerpot Cabernet studio (2050 Scotia Street) tonight and next Friday (October 13 and 20). Volunteers will not only be on hand to help you realize your best Halloween costume, but you can hang with fellow Parade of Lost Souls enthusiasts, rip into “Pa Pa Power” on the karaoke machine, and help with set decorations.
Those with small children can show up at the Britannia Library October 28 for the Parade of Little Souls at 6:30pm. Those for whom no Halloween celebration is complete without a half-dozen zombies and ripping up the dancefloor to the Misfits’ “I Turned Into a Martian” can hit the WISE Hall from 10pm to 1am for The Lost Souls After Party.
As for the big night on October 28, Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret artistic executive director Kat Single-Dain says this in a release:
“Parade of Lost Souls is for the people and by the people. Our aim is to ignite the creativity that lives within all of us. Every year, our community collaborates to create the ultimate Halloween experience with a wide range of workshops, dances, a huge variety of music, and the most fantastic costumes you can imagine. In fact, we want you to imagine something more fantastic and wear it to the parade! This is a participatory community celebration that includes you and is offered absolutely free, with donations encouraged.”
So, start working on that costume which, Frankenstein-style, assembles the best—which is to say worst—parts of Donald Trump, Pierre Poilievre, Tamara Lich, and Marjorie Taylor Greene. Or embrace your inner ghost by grabbing a white bedsheet and cutting two eyeholes in it—horn-rimmed glasses optional. Some Halloween classics have never gone out of style for a reason.
When: October 28
Where: Start at the Britannia Library at 1661 Napier Street