October 18, 2008

How to Prepare for Halloween 2008 in New York, and Why

Just look around you. Everyone is spooked in New York these days, especially in the Financial District (scared of falling stocks), in the hotel lobbies (scared of falling tourism), and in retail establishments (scared of falling sales). Also, spooks abound in the political arena. For example, some political robots are busy this weekend calling prospective voters and trying to frighten them about the leading candidate for the highest office in the land (see NYT article). It won't work with me.

I don't know about you, but the combination of the financial crisis and the election has been powerful enough to unsettle my normal routine and work habits. These days, instead of attending to the task at hand, I find myself looking up the meaning of "Libor rates" or checking the latest poll data from Wisconsin. It's totally distracting. On the other hand, it's nice to see people talking about politics and economics for a change, instead of vapid conversations about where to shop for designer handbags or the price-per-square-inch of their condo footage.

I've decided that instead of resisting the imposition of the political economy on my personal life, and it's unavoidable anyway, I'm letting my "work" go somewhat by the wayside and adopting Friedrich Nietzsche's line from Zarathustra, "what is falling, that one should also push!" as my new mantra.

This sentiment translates immediately into a sensible course of action for the weekend. Instead of catching up on work, I have decided to bake cookies, make a mask for my Halloween costume, and call undecided voters in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

New Yorkers know how to celebrate a proper Halloween. 6th Avenue in the Village is a great place to be on the night of October 31. The merry-making spills out all over the Village, and the streets and bars are filled with people in fantastic costumes.

The Village Parade (link)
October 31, 2008
7-10 p.m.
6th Avenue Spring Street to 21st Street

This spectacular annual event draws upon New York's creative class and local talents in visual, musical and performing arts. Gigantic jaw-dropping puppets and eerie, supernatural effects make this parade the best street theater imagineable. Each year has a theme. Last year it was "Wings of Desire;" this year's focus is GHOSTS. Participants are encouraged to fashion outfits that conform to the theme. Ghosts are easy to do, I think, but their transparent quality is often hard to pull off.

I plan to go to the parade as the ghost of Andy Warhol's imaginary and totally fictional Superstar dog, Sparko Violet. Andy, a cat person in his youth, later kept two dogs as pets, the dachshunds, Archie and Amos.

For the whole family:

Pumpkin Festival '08 (link)
October 25, 2008
Central Park
New York City Parks & Recreation and Camp Sunshine present the annual festival on Saturday, October 25 from 3-8 p.m. Central Park. Enter at 72nd Street. Scarecrow Design and Haunted House at the Bethesda Terrace, and live music and other entertainments nearby.

Images: The skeleton in the top image is sitting above the entrance to The Slaughtered Lamb Pub, 184 W. 4th Street in the Village. Small image below is from Halloween '07. Trick-or-Treaters at the Washington Square Arch.

Coming up next: How to make a Venetian mask of the ghost of Andy Warhol's imaginary and totally fictional Superstar dog, Sparko Violet

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