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HighBall Halloween Returns on October 31st

Walker Evans Walker Evans
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The end of the summer is usually a bit of a sad moment for most in Columbus who enjoy the plethora of festivals and outdoor events throughout the warmer season, but the approach of fall is also a reminder that Halloween is right around the corner. The return of the Short North Highball Halloween is sure to be the crown jewel of the costumed holiday this October.

For those who didn’t attend the inaugural event, this year promises to be a mix of old and new. An overarching “Cirque” theme will be reflected through the costume contests, the side-show performers, and the costume inspirations for the thousands in attendance. “It’s like a cross between Carnivale and Mardi Gras with a pinch of Halloween and a healthy splash of the Short North’s artistic spirit,” said John Angelo, the Executive Director of the Short North Business Association.

The main stage competitions make their return this year with the Children’s Costume Contest, Dogtober Howloween Procession, general-public HighBall Costume Contest, and the signature Couture Costume Fashion Showdown that pits fashion professionals against each other on the runway. Thousands in cash and prizes will be given out between the various contests.

The Highball is one of the extremely rare events that closes High Street to automobile traffic and creates a pedestrian-only environment under the glowing Short North arches. Many have said that attending the event last year was worth it just for the opportunity to be able to drink, dance, and party out in the street. Ketel One and Bud Light Lime are signed on as the main beverage sponsors, and several local DJs including DJ Moxy and DJ Sonya will provide the musical entertainment.

The Highball Halloween takes place on Saturday, October 31st from 4:00pm to Midnight, and will be located on two blocks of pedestrian-only High Street between Third and Fifth Avenues in the Short North. Admission is $2, and more information can be found at HighBallHalloween.com, which relaunches on September 23rd.

More photos from last year’s event below:

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  • Stoked for this!

    Walker any talks of art out in the streets?

  • jpizzow

    So what’s with the $2 cover this year….not that I mind, it’s not that much. Also why did they move it so far north? My buddy was going to have a keg party in Victorian Gate, which would have been very convenient. Either way, looking forward to this year.

  • Coreroc: Yeah, there will be plenty of great performance art and fashion design going on out in the streets! :D

    JPizzow: The $2 cover is to help fund the event. Last year I think we just nearly broke even after the sponsorships and alcohol sales were tallied up after all of the expenses. So to keep this great festival growing, we’re trying out the $2 cover this year. The relocation is for some variation as well. Ultimately, it would be great to grow this event to encompass the entire Short North, but for now we’ll have to settle for just a few blocks at a time, and share the love around the District.

    Not to say this is a small event though! The first year saw around 10,000 in attendance, and this year is looking to be even bigger! Fun! :D

  • JedThorp

    This was a great event last year, and I’m all about them moving it up to between 3rd and 5th, which is an area in Short North that can use some attention and increased foot traffic.  The cover is a bummer, but worth it.

  • jpizzow

    $2…fine. Location…..fine. I’m there. I’ll gladly pay that miniscule amount to keep this event going and yes, the north end of the SN could use some more lovin. Though, I kind of figured it would be bigger than 2 blocks this year. I thought I overheard someone last year saying that this year would be expanded by a block or 2 due to the event’s success.

  • are there any bands….LIVE music bands playing? no disrespect to dj’s just clarifying my question….Andy Shaw Band would love to play this!

  • The live music stage was removed this year, but could return next year. Not sure if you attended last year to see it, but there was very little interest in the live music. It probably had to do with the location (Haiku Parking Lot) being set back off the street, and with so many people looking to party in the street it didn’t really make as much sense. The parking lot location was due to the fact that Highball was on a Friday last year, and there was only about a 1 hour gap between when the street was closed off and the event was started, so we had no time to set up the live music stage to have bands playing in time anywhere else. The Haiku Parking Lot we were able to have closed off before the street closure.

    So yeah… it’s mostly due to logistics. With this only being the second year, we’re still working out the kinks. I imagine though that some of the venues located in this area will be looking to do all sorts of other live music entertainment and afterparties. Highball ends at midnight, but Halloween runs all night! ;) Check in with the various bars in the area to see if anyone is looking to book some music that night. :D

  • lizless

    I can’t wait for the Highball this year! Thanks for all your effort on it, Walker. I know you have done so much work on it the past two years, it’s amazing!

  • awesome.  We still need  a few Fashion Designers!!!

    FYI:  80 Foot Stage.   Also 3rd to 5th Avenue is much bigger than last years area.

    Here’s the program:

    4:00  –  5:00 Mini-Masques: Children’s Costume Competition

    5:30  –  6:30 Dogtober Howloween Procession

    6:00  –  10:00 DJ Sonya

    8:00  –  8:45 Costume Couture Fashion Showdown

    9:30  –  11:00 HighBall Halloween Costume Competition

    10:00 – 12:00 DJ Moxy

  • penelopus

    i’ve lived my entire 33 years of life in cbus and high ball is, by far, the coolest thing to happen to this city.  so glad the event is back.  fo’ rillzz.

  • Project Runway’s Althea Harper confirmed for HighBall today!  http://bit.ly/3PxnBA

  • Can we get 20,000 people?

    Let’s get a head count started:

  • Second Annual HighBall Halloween Welcomes “Project Runway” Fashionista

    Dayton-born clothing designer Althea Harper was drawn to fashion at an early age. And on Saturday, October 31, this 24-year-old “Project Runway 6” contestant will be drawn back to Ohio as celebrity judge and featureddesigner for Columbus’ second annual HighBall Halloween.

    This fashion-focused extravaganza will feature an 80-foot runway, professional models, live entertainment and a costume competition for fashion designers. Adults, children and pets will also compete for prizes, bragging rights and a moment in the spotlight. The theme for this year’s festival is “Cirque.”


  • I’m so happy this is growing as a “fashion festival” and not going down the normal midwestern “drunken frat show”. 

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