Halloween is my favourite holiday, and Vancouver my favourite city. I may explode...
[Updated: 30 Oct 2010]
Judging by the lineup I had to stand in last Saturday just to get into downtown Vancouver's fabric shop-cum-costume emporium Dressew (it was out the door and down the block!), it's likely you haven't forgotten: Halloween is this weekend. Here's my roundup...
Where to party on Halloween weekend: The Waldorf
In case you still don't know where to show off your Hello Kitty costume, Jess McMahon has compiled a list of five Halloween events you might be into, ranging from free to $25.
One party she doesn't mention is the Waldorf's pre-Halloween-party party, the first of its newly minted weekly XO Friday night dance parties—and the first time the general public will get to check out the newly reno'd space. The XO Halloween party will likely see a smaller, less sloppy crowd of revellers than the Saturday event, and may be a better bet considering the next night is going to be retarded (3,000 people have already RSVP'd on Facebook, and judging from the general word out on the street, at least as many are likely to show up for the much-anticipated free event).
Come early to catch local bands Black Wizard, Heavy Chains and War Baby (originally slated to perform at Scratch Records before the venue was changed to the Waldorf) starting at 9 p.m. The first of nine deejays (yeah, nine) starts at midnight. Cover is $5 before 11 p.m., $10 after.
Where to party on Halloween weekend: Not the Waldorf
Other Halloween dance party options on Friday and Saturday:
> Friday: After Critical Mass, head down to the Legion (yeah, love the Legion!) on Commercial for VeloWeen: Witches and Warlocks Ball, with local music by Blackberry Wood, Creaking Planks and DJ Timothy Wisdom. Expect to dance.
>> That reminds me, some friends and I will be handing out free grilled cheez (and vegan sandwiches) to cyclists on their way to Critical Mass (and anyone else who wants one) along the Union Street bike route Friday afternoon. Stop by, in costume or not, and say hi!
> Friday: If those blue-hued creatures from Avatar got you horny, wait'll you see the real-life version at Canvas Lounge's Pandora’s Halloween Horror House. Costumes are mandatory and the best Avatar-inspired costume wins cash.
> Saturday: The W2 Storyeum hosts **HI-5** Halloween Edition, a monthly party with an emphasis on collaboration. Two rooms, with DJs spinning hip-hop, reggae, funk and soul in one and house and techno in the other, promise to be packed. The $15 advanced cover goes to support W2's DTES media centre.
> Saturday: Our friends over at Sad Mag say The Cobalt is the place to be Saturday night. Queer Bashoween: RIP vs VIP exchanges "buckets of rainbows for buckets of blood" for what is promised to be the biggest queer bash ever. $20 cover.
> Saturday: The Beaumont Studio's famous Halloween party ($15 advance; $20 at the door)
> Saturday: The People's Co-op Bookstore celebrates its 65th birthday with a Halloween dance party at Strathcona's Russian Hall, with local folk cabaret band Maria In the Shower and prizes for the best costume. The theme: dress up as a favourite literary character. ($10 advance; $15 at the door) (Thanks for the tip, Alex!)
> Saturday: The Wise Hall dance party DJ'd by locals Titz Macgee, No Gold and WOEVAN ($7).
> Saturday: In addition to Guilt & Company's usual Saturday lineup of improvised "music-roulette"—generally consisting of three musicians from different genres (e.g., jazz, hard core and avant garde), who've never/hardly ever played together, jamming out—a haunted obstacle course will be set up in the back "rum tunnel" room. (Free, includes Jenga)
> Saturday: Go to Hell! The In The House crew of performers take you on a creepy haunted tour in To Hell and Back: The Phantasmagoric Adventures of Hellen Beck. ($30 students + members; $35 adults)
> Sunday: Ladytron and Huoratron DJ at a Halloween-festooned Fortune Sound Club.
Commercial Drive: Unparade of Lost Souls
A lot of people were bummed last year that the Parade of Lost Souls was cancelled (damn those provincial arts funding cuts...). But, this year, thanks to the enthusiasm of Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret (a local collective of artists, performers, storytellers and community organizers), those frowns can turn upside down as they team up with the Public Dreams Society to put on Parade of Lost Souls: Secret Souls Walk, taking trick-o-treaters down the craggy alleys of East Vancouver along a secret route to be revealed on Saturday.
Hit the cemetary
For the purist, the sixth annual Night for All Souls at Mountain View Cemetery might be more your speed. But leave the glow sticks at home. Unless that's how you honour the dead (that's cool). Beginning with a prayer on Friday evening at sunset, the community is invited to celebrate their dead and create personal memorials to be added to public shrines throughout the cemetery until November 2.
Vancouver Halloween for kiddies
Besides the Secret Souls Walk, families with kids might also hit up the Vancouver Aquarium's Spooky Seas exhibit, complete with skulls, pirates and 4D (which is waaay better than 3D). On through Sunday, October 31, 2010.
Halloween makeup without the brain damage
In case you have an aversion to putting lead, arsenic and mercury on your face (I hear they're bad), and you have a little extra time, Diane Selkirk has three recipes for DIY Halloween makeup, including white clown makeup (for that He-ro Kitty costume), fake blood and all-purpose face paint, which you can do up in any colour you have the food-colouring skillz to make.
For technical know-how, Vancouver-based StudioFX manager and professional makeup artist Sheryl-Lynn Discusso recommends adding special effects touches, such as skin embellishments (bruise me!), creepy contact lenses and even snaggle-mouth homeless man teeth colouring kits.
Justin Bieber-shaped Turkish delight, little girl?
In case you really have some time on your hands, Michael Robertson has two recipes for making your own candy. For real. Too bad your efforts are likely to be wasted on the little Neytiris knocking on your door, since their news-addled parents are just going to make them toss your homemade marshmallows and Turkish delight in the trash.
Don't google "Vancouver Halloween"
Otherwise you'll have to wade through all the garbage. Vancity Buzz has a nice, tidy little guide to Halloween in Vancouver, including a haunted houses, pumpkin patches, haunted tours, fireworks (!!!) and parties. You can also check out ClubVibe's non-curated borage of Halloween events around Vancouver.
Halloween at home
Staying in for Halloween? Make your house the "good" house for trick o' treaters: BC Living has 8 tips for making your home hellishly Halloween-y.
DIY Halloween costumes
Last year, Carmen Spagnola put together a great little post on DIY costume ideas for the children of decidedly uncrafty parents. Whether it's for a kid or for yourself, here are 9 dead-easy costume ideas and another 12 DIY costume ideas for the lazy among us who don't have the time, nor the inclination, to put thread to needle.
I'll add more stuff here as I come across it throughout the week, so feel free to add your own two-cents below in the comment form. Happy Holla-ween!
Last-minute Lower Mainland costume shop guide
Jenn Laidlaw to the rescue! She's compiled an ultra-handy guide on where to find great costumes in a pinch in Vancouver, on the North Shore and throughout the suburbs, complete with phone numbers, addresses and web links. Genius.