Halloween is without question my favorite holiday, but it becomes a little harder every year to psyche myself up for it. My job gets a whole lot more demanding in October, so by the time we get late into the month, I’m pretty worn down and often under the weather. Besides, there’s bills to pay, dogs to walk, you know the drill.
All that was washed away on Saturday night when I walked into a formerly dilapidated ballroom, which had been transformed into a veritable Halloween theme park. *****
My wife and I originally met through a mutual friend, Michele, one of the chief masterminds behind the annual New Jersey Zombie Walk in Asbury Park. For some time, we’ve considered hosting a massive Halloween party. The rationale was that between the ingenuity and event management experience of Michele and her friend Jes, my wife’s culinary wizardry and general creativity, and my extensive collection of horrifying props, we could really blow it out.
They ascertained that the Sayreville Democratic Headquarters — nestled in the corner of a strip mall between a Retro Fitness and a sketchy-looking Chinese food restaurant — was available for rent. (Somehow, it wasn’t needed for its original purpose mere weeks before election day.)
When I walked in there last Wednesday, however, I was daunted to learn the place was both massive and in ill repair. It wasn’t particularly clean, there were random tables and chairs strewn around the room, and a bunch of half-empty water bottles were left behind by the previous tenants, some cheerleading team.
We worked on it for five or six hours, and it was only marginally less ugly. I was then buried at work for the entirety of the next three days, limited to increasingly more optimistic text-message dispatches from the front lines.
When I showed up on Saturday night, I was simply blown away. Considering where it came from, the place looked absolutely incredible. (All pictures courtesy of BlueDahlia1946.)
An awkward, permanent bar in the front of the place was transformed into an attractive and fully functional Bloody Mary bar. I can only assume the idea for this came from my wife, who loves Bloody Mary’s.
Jigsaw was capably manning the dessert table.
Even the bathroom was transformed from a dingy, terrible place to an homage to Alfred Hitchcock.
Our hosts were resplendent. Montana’s sugar skull outfit was outstanding. She taught herself the makeup from Pinterest, while the bones are stapled onto her catsuit, and in one case, directly into her arm. (That wasn’t intentional.)
I won the award for scariest costume, extending my three-party winning streak. I think that happens because, to be honest, most people at parties at least attempt to do something creative that other people will like. I literally couldn’t care less about that; I just want to be as horrible and evil as possible. That knife is very real. God bless my wife for putting up with me.
We had some really good costumes at the party. My father-in-law was one of the finest pirates I’ve seen, and he was the only person at the party with actual weapons to rival mine. (Not to mention, he was the only guy at the party who legitimately scares me, even when not in costume.)
My mother-in-law was also a pirate. They did a lot better job of syncing up their costumes than I did with my wife, which, of course, is purely my fault.
I hadn’t seen an intergender Wayne’s World probably since, well, ever. They looked awesome.
I guessed correctly this was Medusa. I really need to brush up on my mythology, because I guessed Caesar for her husband. (It was Perseus, of course.)
Montana’s sister and her boyfriend were a dog and cat that were connected at the tail until it was time to drive home. That, my friends, is devotion to a theme.
We had the majority of Gilligan’s Island. The professor and Mary Ann bailed at the last minute.
Perhaps the only couple more mismatched than me and my wife: a keg of beer and an M&M.
I have no idea what the hell they were, but he was definitely pretty adept with a tentacle.
To be honest, if my wife and I weren’t involved with the planning of the party, I wouldn’t have gone. I had to work earlier in the day, and I was fighting off a pretty rough chest cold, so I was kind of worn down and in no mood for revelry.
Not to mention, as I get farther away from college, when I’m not working, I primarily crave quiet nights at home with my wife and puppy. I’m starting to enjoy cooking, I like watching a movie and drinking a glass of wine, and I don’t really prefer going out in the cold.
But every once in a while, something catches me just the right way and brings me back to how it was when I was a kid, when I couldn’t wait to get out of school so I could spend hours roaming the neighborhood, scouting for candy with Wesley, my neighbor and good friend.
Once I got to the party and saw the fruits of Montana’s and her friends’ labor, it didn’t take long for me to get caught up with it. Halloween’s always been a time when I could leave everything behind and embrace the wonderful spookiness of this time of year. For the first time in a couple of years, this party allowed me to completely do that, even in my mid-thirties. To me at least, that qualifies the party as an unquestioned success.
That, and giving me an excuse to wear latex, sport fangs and brandish a three-pronged knife.
My best to all for a safe and wonderful Halloween. If you haven’t done so yet, feel free to download the 2013 SportsAngle Halloween Mixtape here.
If that’s not your speed — it’s slightly NSFW in spots — I whipped up an all-classical version for a few friends. Download that here.