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Halloween New York 2009 – Last-minute plans; the Village Halloween Parade; 8 Halloween costume shops

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There are of course many things to do on Halloween in New York – you can hold your own Halloween party, dressing up as Bernie Madoff; you can visit a haunted house, attend a Halloween concert, or just stay at home armed with Halloween candy. But just like New Year’s, New York City owns Halloween in a unique way, thanks to the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, New York City’s answer to Mardi Gras, attended by TWO MILLION people. That October 31st falls on a Saturday this year means the parade might be doubly crowded, and twice as ghoulish.

Officially, the parade runs on 6th Avenue from Spring Street to 21st Street from 7 – 10 p.m. Afterwards a wide variety of ghosts and ghouls and drag queens descend on the original site of the parade, now in its 36th year, Christopher Street. This is not a parade for children, although I’ve spotted a few here and there over the years.
The official theme for 2009 for some reason (I bet you didn’t know there was an official theme) is Terra Incognita and Here be Dragons, but the best way to determine the zeitgeist is to look at the home-made costumes.

For those of you who are intimidated by such an event, here are some alternatives (not all of them literally on Halloween, October 31st) :

Ghost Star” Presents a Night of Murder Ballads
(including Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” and Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane”)
Friday, October 23, 2009, 8pm. $10
BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center

Halloween Extravaganza and Procession of Ghouls
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine; 10/30 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.; 1047 Amsterdam Ave., at 112th St.; 212-316-7540
This annual event begins with a movie screening—this year it’s Nosferatu—with live accompaniment by organist Timothy Brumfield, followed by a spectacular parade created by master puppeteer Ralph Lee, the Obie-winning founder of the Village’s annual Halloween parade.

Steampunk Haunted House
Abrons Arts Center; 10/28–10/29 from 6 p.m.–9:30 p.m. and 10/30–10/31 from 8 p.m.–11:30 p.m.; 466 Grand St., at Pitt St.; 212-598-0400.
The historic playhouse and catacombs will include all manner of creepy things, including mechanized monsters and spiders (hopefully not real).

The Blair Witch Project: Special Halloween Gossip Girl Tour
On Location Tours offers its normal tour of sites from “Gossip Girl” with a Halloween twist on October 31st: “Come dressed as your favorite Gossip Girl character and enter the contest to win a gift basket of Halloween Goodies from Dylan’s Candy Bar.” call 212-209-3370 to purchase the $40 tickets in advance.

The Vampire-Werewolf Summit of 2009
Comix; 10/27 at 7:30 p.m.; 353 W. 14th St., near Ninth Ave.; 212-524-2500
Christian Finnegan plays host at this comedy nightclub.

Halloween Readings
Housing Works Bookstore Café; 10/29 at 7 p.m.; 126 Crosby St., nr. Houston St.; 212-334-3324
Tom Cardamone, Jamison Currier, and Sean Meriwether read from their short stories, which parcel out haunted doings with gay life.

Halloween at Merchant’s House
Merchant’s House Museum; various times.; 29 E. 4th St., nr. Bowery St.; 212-777-1089
Exhibition on death and mourning in the 19th century, including a funeral reenactment; candlelight ghost tours.

Santos’ Party House; 96 Lafayette St., nr. Walker St.; 212-584-5492
On the heels of releasing his sophomore album, Power, German D.J. and producer Alexander Ridha—a.k.a. Boys Noize—will hit up Santos’ Party House Halloween night. The venue’s website promises the show will “summon the most unholy of spirits.”
Spottiswoode & His Enemies
Joe’s Pub; 425 Lafayette St., nr. Astor Pl.; 212-539-8777

Fright Nightlife

Here’s what New York Magazine says:
“If you’re strictly looking to party on Halloween, check out Club Purgatorio, a mysterious pop-up haunted house extravaganza in the former China Club space from the Box co-owners Simon Hammerstein and Randy Weiner. There are also festivities going down on the high seas: the Paddle Wheel Queen, a three-level, climate-controlled ship, is hosting a costume-mandatory party with a celebrity look-alike contest. And finally, Carnival, the new circus-themed bar above Bowlmor Lanes, is throwing down. Come thirsty— the $70, two-gallon, multi-booze concoction they call the Dunk Tank will be available.”

The Long Count
Brooklyn Academy of Music; 30 Lafayette Ave., Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 718-636-4198
For a more high-brow experience, catch the last night of the Long Count, a three-day performance that’s part of BAM’s annual Next Wave Festival. The lineup reads like a who’s who in indie rock with the National brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner, along with Matt Berninger, Kim and Kelley Deal of the Breeders, Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond, and a twelve-person orchestra. While they’re playing, a video by the artist Matthew Ritchie provides the visuals.

World/Inferno Friendship Society
Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom at Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 W. 34th St., nr. Eighth Ave.; 212-279-7740
The cultishly adored cabaret-punk act from Brooklyn — which has counted Franz Nicolay from the Hold Steady among its ranks — will once again put on their annual Halloween blowout, Hallowmas. Be aware: Past Hallowmas’s have included audience interaction and clowns juggling fire.

King Khan & BBQ Show
The Bell House, 149 7th St., Gowanus, Brooklyn; 718-643-6510
Veteran Canadian rockers Mark Sultan (a.k.a. BBQ) and Erick Khan join forces as this wild-man blues-rock duo. There’ll be prizes for best costume, but considering Khan likes dressing up even when he’s not supposed to, make sure to step up your game.

Here are eight costume shops where you can get a Halloween costume, if you don’t want to make one yourself:

Ricky’s NYC
Year-round costume shop: 375 Broadway between Franklin and White St., 212-925-5490

New York Costumes
104 Fourth Ave. at 11th St., 800-99JUMPY

Abracadabra Superstore
19 W 21st St. (btw. 5th Ave. & 6th Ave.), 212-627-7523
Store hours: Monday through Saturday, 11am-9pm. Sunday, 12pm-5pm

Spirit Halloween Superstore
East 4th Street location: 20 East Fourth Street at Lafayette Street, 212-253-5705
Queens location: 4719 Northern Boulevard, 718-204-7353


Masquerade Times Square

311 West 43rd Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues), 212-247-0104

Creative Costume
242 W. 36th St., 8th floor, 212-564-5552

Frankie Steinz
24 Harrison St. (btw. Hudson St. & Greenwich St.), 212-925-1373
By Appointment Only.

Party City Manhattan

38 West 14th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, 212-271-7310

One real-world intrusion into the fantasy of Halloween: Village Halloween Parade director Jeanne Fleming has explained that the recession has taken its toll on the proceedings. In past years, there have been as many as 20 floats. This year, because of the withdrawal of skittish sponsors, there will be only three. The costumes will just have to be that much more fabulous to make up for this.