By Wicker Van Orsdel
Take tons-o-Halloween enthusiasts, put them in a great big multileveled cauldron of fun and stir. What do you get? A Spooktacular party! This year’s Hollywood Halloween was a SMASH-BASH befitting the fab Des Moines Community Playhouse. The venue, West End Architectural Salvage, being the treasure trove of all things interesting, beautiful, and sometimes strange, was a unique backdrop for Halloween fun. Different sponsors and committee members decorated tables with clever Hollywood themes. Nothing was creepy or eerie…just fun, fall and festive! Loved the South Pacific Table (it seems to resurface in some form or fashion every year).
Hollywood Halloween, a signature event for the Playhouse, has always been a fun party, but this year some changes in the format SO made it click: The band (Final Mix) was playing as the guests arrived and they got everybody’s “Bones to Boogie” from the get-go. The omission of the sit-down dinner was also a plus–now we’re talking walk-around-mingling-in-your-face-party fun. Mary Miller created some wonderful buffet-style eats and the wine was complimentary (my favorite kind), making it even more delicious.
The incomparable Steve Berry was the emcee for the parade of favorite Playhouse show costumes (too bad he never has a good time). Tina Dahl modeled a purple polyp (?) and Rick Mosley was Mr. Umpaloompa from the Willie Wonka show, Deb Hubbell was the flapper “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” Liz Proctor was the white witch from “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe,” and Gerry and Mary Lou Neugent were Hank and Audrey Williams from “Lost Highway.” I batted clean-up with the impressive battery-powered Cinderella dress. The West End staircase made for a dramatic runway entrance, and after the parade, dancing bodies of all shapes and fright fashion took over the dance floor, and the rest is Halloween history.
Don Short, owner of West End Architectural Salvage, was a most accommodating host, and co-chairs Emily Abbas and Nikki Syverson and committee did a boo-rrific job planning this signature event, making it a haunting success.
Fun was had by all, and I hope you will go to the photo links to get some innovative ideas for your costume next year. There were many creative costumes: zombies, celebrities, gypsies, witches, demons. What did I go as? I guess I was “The Crimson S&M Bunny,” my old costume from the 70s that can still pack a punch (although my ears could use a lift). This year there wasn’t a costume contest, so below are my top costume picks of the night (IMHO).
BOO to you if you don’t come next year! Check out the links below for my photos and for photographer Chris Maharry’s photos: