Throw Me a Trick or TreatIn its very first year of operation, Blaine Kern’s Haunted Fun House at Mardi Gras World in Algiers was ranked as the No. 2 Halloween attraction in the nation by the Travel Channel. It was a headline-grabbing accolade for the brand-new attraction but Blaine Kern, president of the carnival float-building studio that bears his name, says it’s just the beginning for what he has planned.

“I want to make New Orleans the Halloween capital of the U.S.,” Kern declares.
That’s why even as floats roll out of his warehouse studios this month for Mardi Gras, Kern and his staff are busy planning a whole new parade called the Krewe of Boo, a procession and rolling fundraiser they intend to host for the first time this coming Halloween.

The mystique around New Orleans’ history and its portals in films and novels has already made the city a potent draw for people looking to celebrate the Halloween holiday in style. With the added lure of a large parade, complete with marching bands, street performers and up to 20 Halloween-themed floats filled with riders hurling specially designed beads, Kern believes New Orleans can become the biggest thing going.

In addition to a good time and a healthy injection of tourism dollars, the parade will serve as the prime revenue stream for the First Responders Fund, a charitable organization Kern formed in 2007 to help New Orleans police, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel buy new homes or rebuild from the destruction of Katrina.
 
Throw Me a Trick or Treat“An awful lot of these first responders are not back in their homes yet and that’s really upsetting,” says Kern. “The only way I know how to raise money is with parties and parades and sculptures, so that’s what we’re doing.”
Kern hopes to land a national sponsor for the Krewe of Boo parade and attract national television exposure. These proceeds, together with a portion of dues from krewe members and other revenue, would fuel the First Responders Fund.
Fund director Lindsay Brigham says the plan is to provide loans to eligible personnel in New Orleans, which would be forgivable provided the individuals stay with their respective local departments for five years.

Planning is ongoing, but Kern expects to host the event on the traditional Uptown parade route on the weekend before Halloween. For more information on Krewe of Boo and membership guidelines, visitwww.kreweofboo.org.