Spotlights burned high above the edge of downtown Columbus last Saturday night on Oct. 19. Monsters, childhood creations and hopeless souls from beyond the grave gathered inside The Princess Theater. It was the annual Halloween Dance Party. This year the theme was comic books. And as promised, Team Halloweenz, produced a 24-feet-by-24 feet comic book that towered behind the DJ booth which depicted Captain Halloween’s fight with the Full Moon Fang.
Since the dance party’s origins more than five years ago, costumes and community have become a staple. The Hooded Deer, the party’s originator, with the help of Will Howard, set a theme every year. Once before they introduced a comic book inspired show, but as the parties grew in scale, this year’s comic book theme became even more impacting. The turnout of costumes appears to have increased in number also.
“I’m Robb Stark, or the Red Wedding,” says Chris Hammerbacher, a Cadence bank employee and regular Halloween party goer.
The Red Wedding, for those not initiated into the teetering world of George R.R. Martin’s series, is the devastating conclusion to the third installment, where Robb Stark, the King of the North, is killed.
His costume is perfect. A long cape with a fur collar, a pleather vest struck with arrows, a tightly curled wig, and to top it off, the decapitated head of Stark’s dire wolf as a mask.
“I just thought it would be shocking to be one of the most infamous scenes at Halloween,” he said.
Hammerbacher made his costume from bits and pieces of other costumes.
“This costume cost me way too much money. Then again, it’s worth it,” he said.
Like Hammerbacher, others were dressed as pop culture icons. A Mugato and Derek Zoolander crowded near the fence outside. Mugato was more easily spotted, being that his costume is a pompous stark white wig and a corset. Derek Zoolander dressed in the crimson, snake skin jumper from the runway scene.
Further inside The Princess, a Jason Voorhees stalks the theatre. He’s not feeding his blood lust but appears to be helping drunken people from the floor to safety. He then makes his way to a stranger, slowly bringing his hands to strangle someone from behind. Instead, he opts for a pat on the back and a handshake.
This kind of annual fellowship makes these events special.
Cody Taylor, a 22 year old Mississippi State University communication major, is dressed as a Greek god.
“Yeah, I’m a Greek god. We were gonna be Wisemen,” Taylor says. “I didn’t really want to dress up, but my friends made me.”
Taylor did not come for the costumes but for the carefree liveliness and community.
By 1 a.m. the lights come on. The last and sixth DJ, Glotron, has finished his set. The giant-sized comic book is shown starkly, minus the light show that continued throughout the night and is seen in its full glory. The crowd slowly dissipates, moving like the grumbling belly of a moaning monster. The crowd exits the theater and fills the sidewalks and parking lots to create an atmosphere of life throughout downtown. A Columbus within a Columbus emerges.
So let it be known, ghouls wander these streets, but once a year, those ghouls will give you a smile instead of a scare.