We may be storming past Thanksgiving en route to Christmas and beyond, but for many party goers in New York, the Variety Haunted Halloween Tour is still fresh on their minds – a sign of a well-planned event if there ever was one. With two separate events and locations, those looking for a ghostly good time have plenty to choose from. Think of it, if you will, as the world’s largest disco, only instead of bellbottoms there are princesses and caped superheroes.
This year, it was held at the Connecticut Street Armory and the Chautauqua County fairgrounds on October 20th and 27th, respectively. Attendees at the Armory felt that while it was not quite as effective at conveying a spooky atmosphere as the Central Terminal, the new location still seemed to function well enough. The lighting was boosted a bit higher than normal, so it was a little harder to really settle into a scary state of mind, but that didn’t hinder most from having a great time nonetheless.
Attendance may have been down slightly from previous years, but that only means a bit more room to move around. Previous years have often involved the impression of standing or moving through a packed club, so it was kind of nice to be able to walk and turn more freely. At the Terminal, for example, mobs of people could descend and really pack the place up.
Several contests are held, including a $2,000 grand prize for best costume at each event. With this kind of monetary incentive, you would imagine that creativity runs rampant, and you would be more than correct. The shear eye candy alone is worth the price of admission, as there is literally something funky and amazing everywhere you look.
One resounding sentiment was that a DJ should really be employed for maximum fun. While three bands – this year being That 80’s Hair Band, Johnny Smoke, and Stealin’ Food – performed live, and did a competent job, many attendees just wanted to dance. Sometimes that is tough to do with live music, and a rotating mix of groovy tunes simply punched in by the guy in the corner is usually the best way to accomplish that.
Perhaps in the future, as this is in fact a fundraiser, money could be saved by hiring one band for the live sets and a DJ to spin in between, filling up the gaps. With this type of ambiance, attendance might even increase for future events, rather than the younger crowd seeking out alternative forms of entertainment rather than just standing around.
Speaking of the younger crowd, one last comment heard rather frequently was an uneasiness at how many kids under the age of 21 were present. Normally youthful energy is welcome at parties, but with a full bar present, one can’t help but wonder how many of those drinking were not of age. Perhaps future event planners might consider raising the minimum age, although that may have a detrimental effect on overall attendance.
In the end, however, Variety puts on a great show, and with proceeds going to the Kids Telethon, you can rest assured your spending is ultimately for a good cause. Halloween Bash Tickets are $20.00 if purchased in advance, or you pay $25.00 at the door. Those are actually quite reasonable entrance fees for such a spectacular occasion.
We are counting down the days until next year’s Halloween Bash . . . boo!