A Spirited Tradition

Halloween Loop celebrates its 35th year on Oct. 31

1980: Ronald Reagan was elected president; John Lennon was assassinated; the U.S. men’s hockey team defeated the USSR in the Miracle on Ice; the Rubik’s Cube was invented.

Oh, and Wilmington played host to its first Halloween Loop.

Thirty-five years later, that’s right, 35 YEARS!, Wilmington’s grandest nightlife tradition continues. And in what seems a fitting coincidence for such a significant anniversary, this year’s Loop will actually take place on Halloween night, Friday, October 31.

“In terms of annual nightlife events in Wilmington, nothing really compares to the Halloween Loop,” says Jim Miller of Out & About Magazine, the presenting sponsor of the event. “Three things make it such a supremely successful series: longevity, draw, and spectacle.”

This year’s Halloween Loop will feature a significant lineup change. In an attempt to reduce traffic congestion and overcrowding in Trolley Square, the four traditional Loop venues located there (Anejo, Catherine Rooney’s, Kelly’s Logan House, Satsuma) will not be stops on this year’s Loop and no Loop shuttle buses will be servicing Trolley Square. These venues will be participating in the other Loops on the City Loop Series.

“The Halloween Loop was drawing more people to Trolley Square than the participating bars could accommodate,” says Jerry duPhily, coordinator of the City Loop Series. “That resulted in long lines, lots of people in the street instead of the bars, and traffic issues. So in an unselfish gesture, the nightspots in Trolley Square have decided to take a year break from the Halloween Loop to encourage people to patronize the other Loop stops in the city.”

Those other venues include: Chelsea Tavern, Dead Presidents, Ernest & Scott Taproom, Famous Tim’s, Firestone, Gallucio’s Café, Grotto Pizza, Club Lavish, Latin Fusion Nightclub, Shenanigans, Badges and Timothy’s Riverfront. A one-time $10 cover gains you admission to all participating Loop venues. Attendees will receive a wristband upon paying the cover.

As always, dress to impress. By that we mean creativity is king when it comes to a costume. So don’t come as a cowboy, a Philadelphia Eagle or a Playmate. Think shamed politician, pop culture icon, dead rock star….

There is no official starting point to the Loop. You simply select the nightspot you’d like to visit first, pay the cover charge, and receive a wristband that gains you admission to all other Loop venues without paying another cover. The wristband must be presented to ride the complimentary Loop shuttle buses. Shuttle service begins at 8:30 p.m.

Here are a few other Halloween Loop tips:
• Costumes are strongly recommended. This is a costumed bar crawl. Many venues have prizes. In fact, the Loop Patrol will be awarding on-the-spot prizes for costumes that catch their eye.

• The buses stop running regular routes at 12:45 a.m. and begin making last-visit stops at 1 a.m. Buses stop running at 1:30 a.m., so be at the last venue you plan to visit by 12:30 a.m.

• Wear a comfortable costume. Make sure it allows you to see where you are walking and use the rest room with ease. And make sure it doesn’t cause you to become overheated (Venues get very crowded on the Loop).

• Get there early. Lines begin forming by 9 p.m.

• Designate a sober driver or plan to stay in the city for the evening at a friend’s place or one of the city’s five hotels. There are also several complimentary Last Call Lots where you can leave your car overnight and pick it up the next day.

For a list of venues, Last Call Lots, and updates on the Halloween Loop, visit outandaboutnow.com

So, what do you think? Please comment below.