Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween 2010 guide: Free costume ideas, NYC haunted houses and a pagan history lesson (photos)

Are you ready for Halloween 2010? Don't be left out as New Yorkers take to the streets to celebrate our most festive holiday (if you don't count the Gay Pride Parade).

That's me on the left!  I dressed as Michael Jackson for the 2009 Village Halloween Parade.
This weekend New York City will be packed with vampires, zombies and Lady Gaga lookalikes. Lecherous celebs Mel Gibson and Brett Favre may even make appearances, as ripped-from-the-headlines costumes are all the rage.

I'm ready for Halloween, my favorite holiday. I've visited New York City's biggest haunted houses and have studied the elaborate costumes-- and homemade swords-- at NY Comic Con. [If the comic convention is any indication, Super Mario Brothers, Alice in Wonderland and Ghostbusters will be top costumes this year].

I've already started to put together my Halloween costume: I'll be dressed as Jillian, the fiendish trainer from NBC's The Biggest Loser. I'm still contemplating whether to be a zombie or devil version of the muscular brunette, but I'm not worried. It's easy to pull together last-minute costumes if you use a little creativity!

Get in the Halloween spirit by checking out these stories from my NY Destinations column.

These New Yorkers made convincing Frenchmen-- and all they needed were t-shirts, berets and wine. 

Free Halloween costumes

I'm a purist--I believe Halloween costumes should be made or created from items you find in your closet, not purchased from the store. Do you really want to buy a costume kit from the drug store and look like every other sexy nurse, vampire or cop?

Last year I asked my Facebook followers to share their DIY costume ideas. Their creativity was astounding; they created head-turning looks without spending a dime! Click on the link below for free Halloween costume ideas and a slideshow of homemade outfits.

I met actor Brice C. Foster at the 'Blood Manor' haunted house press preview.  He was dressed as "Brutus" and stayed in character throughout the night!

Behind the scenes of the 'Blood Manor' haunted house

What really goes on behind the scenes of Blood Manor, New York City’s premier haunted house? According to insiders, actors refuse to break character, even when attacked by crazed patrons. Women have thrown themselves at a performer in serial killer costume. Occasionally, visitors pee their pants. Every show is an adventure at this popular Halloween attraction, located in the heart of Chelsea’s nightclub district.

I bumped into rapper/actor Ice T at the 'Blood Manor' press preview. 

Review: 'Blood Manor' haunted house

Thanks to the level of detail-- from the sound and light effects to sets and costumes-- Blood Manor lives up to its claim of being "New York City's premier haunted attraction." The dedicated cast and crew have transformed a generic urban space into an ornate mansion with nineteen distinct rooms.

The “Never Give Away a Rabbit's Foot” room at Manhattan's 'Nightmare: Superstitions' haunted house.

Review: 'Nightmare Superstitions’ haunted house

Warning: The Nightmare: Superstitions haunted house is not for the squeamish. Psychiatric patients hurl body fluids. A grown man in soiled diapers lunges at visitors. And if you are especially (un)lucky, you’ll get to spend one-on-one time with a crazed killer in a pitch black room. This popular Halloween attraction lives up to its tagline—“New York’s Most Horrifying Haunted House.”

Adorable costumes aside, Halloween has a rich and spooky history.

The pagan origins of Halloween

Did you ever wonder how Halloween got its start? Its origins are Celtic, which explains why the holiday is traditionally celebrated in Britain, Ireland, Canada and the United States. Halloween was originally a festival in the pagan Celtic calendar that celebrated the end of the year.

The wardrobe of this all-male dance revue may be the closest Australians come to wearing Halloween costumes.

Halloween in Australia and New Zealand

The US has a great deal in common with Australia and New Zealand; we are English speaking nations, former British colonies, and we love a good party. So what separates us from our Southern Hemisphere brethren? They do not share our love of Halloween.

Costumed women at the Tokyo Disney Halloween parade.

Halloween in Japan

Halloween has spread beyond its Celtic roots and is no longer celebrated exclusively in Ireland, Britain, Canada and the United States.Now it is popular around the world, thanks in part to the global reach of American movies. Read on for first-hand accounts of Halloween customs in Japan.

The Yankees may be out of the World Series, but they are still a rich source of costume ideas!

Last minute Halloween costumes for Yankees fans

Show your loyalty to New York's most successful sports team by donning a Yankees-inspired costume this Halloween.Your look will be timely-- and surprisingly cheap. Chances are you already own at least one baseball cap, t-shirt or jersey emblazoned with the team logo.

>> Continue Reading: Last minute Halloween costumes for Yankees fans


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