A spooktacular night at Church Street’s annual Halloween party

Six blocks filled with thousands of people wearing different costumes having a good time together

Huge crowds at the annual Halloween party on Church Street. (Madiha Karim/Toronto Observer)
Huge crowds at the annual Halloween party on Church Street. (Madiha Karim/Toronto Observer) 

Toronto’s annual Halloween street party on Church Street had a huge turnout this year.

The Church-Wellesley Village transforms six blocks, starting at Wood Street and ending at Gloucester Street, into a pedestrian-only street party every Halloween.

Thousands of people came to The Village, also known as Toronto’s primary gay neighbourhood, dressed in different costumes making the Halloween spirit come alive.

Dexter, a Brazilian drag queen in Toronto, said the biggest difference is how the crowd gets bigger every year with more straight people and families coming.

Drag and the gay culture is becoming more mainstream every year which makes the party inclusive to anyone.

“We close the street for everybody to come here and celebrate. There is a drag show in every bar here and all the doors are open for everybody, gay or not, to come in,” Dexter said. “It is a street that is closed so we can express ourselves. We can all wear costumes, there’s police so we’re all safe. This space is created so we all can come and express ourselves and feel safe.”

Dexter is the Brazilian Queen of Toronto and started doing drag on cruise ships 10 years ago. She moved to Toronto seven years ago to learn and gain more experience on how to do drag.

“So to be here and have a space and to be in between all these other stars is a really great privilege,” she said.

Thousands of people came to the Halloween block party on Church Street. (Madiha Karim/Toronto Observer)

The Church Street tradition began in the 1960s and 70s. Back then, it was not legal for men to dress in drag, so Halloween gave them the chance to do so.

In the late 1970s, crowds at the bars on Yonge Street would mock and throw eggs at the people who dressed up.

Things calmed down on Halloween night by the early 1980s and bars started to move to Church Street so the party followed.

Over the years, The Village became known as Toronto’s primary gay neighbourhood with many LGBTQ+ friendly businesses, restaurants, clubs and bars opening. As the crowd became larger, so did the popularity of the block party.

Fire spinning show happening on Church Street for the annual Halloween block party. (Madiha Karim/Toronto Observer)

Along with the drag shows, people were dancing and performing fire spinning in the crowd.

With all the unique costumes that were there, people were lining up to take pictures together which made the vibe enjoyable and everyone in the crowd felt included.

“I love Halloween and we should celebrate it. This is interesting for me because Halloween is the one time of year that everyone dresses up, so it’s really cool to see everyone dressing up, not just me,” said Victoria, a cosplayer in Toronto.

She said it was her first time going and thought it was a cool event to go to because you also get to meet new people.

“Everyone gets to dress up, eat Halloween candy, and have a good time. I think this is kind of a huge event that people can go and do that. Plus, it’s free, which is great for people who are trying to have fun on a budget.”

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Posted: Nov 3 2023 9:00 am
Filed under: Arts & Life Entertainment Lifestyle News Things to do