Halloween In New York: Bette Remains Queen

Wall Street Journal
Oct 30, 2011

Since Halloween in New York is such a party holiday, it’s also a time to push alcohol brands. At Lavo on Saturday, Midori liquor hosted a Green Halloween bash where its spokeswoman, Kim Kardashian, dressed up as the Batman villain Poison Ivy and had her face engraved on a pumpkin by Hugh McMahon.

It took three hours to create the gourd, which weighed 125 pounds and stood three-and-a-half feet tall. “I did Heidi Klum a little quicker,” said Mr. McMahon, a Brooklyn Heights resident who this year alone has carved Anderson Cooper into a pumpkin and Susan Sarandon into a watermelon. “In [Kim’s] case, it’s getting the eyebrows right. They’re very pronounced. I hope it’s voluptuous. I think it is.”

At Good Units, late last week, Malibu Rum threw a cleverly titled “Skater Zombies and Surfer Chicks” party with “30 Rock” actress Katrina Bowden. She came dressed as a zombie fairy, if there is such a thing, but the evening’s surprise entertainment, Salt-N-Pepa, didn’t show up in costume. (They considered switching identities for the night, but thought it would “confuse everybody,” said the Pepa part of the equation.)

“I dress up every single day of the year,” explained Cheryl “Salt” James.

“She’s Halloween, 24/7, 365,” agreed Sandra “Pepa” Denton.

Charities have also gotten into the act. At the Unicef Masquerade Ball at the Angel Orensanz Foundation, Jenna Bush was dressed as artist Frida Kahlo, complete with unibrow. “Frida’s a powerful, strong woman,” Ms. Bush explained. “I’m from Texas, she’s from Mexico. I wanted to resurrect her for the night.”

When it comes to the city’s movers and shakers, Bette Midler pretty much owns the holiday. Her annual Hulaween gala at the Waldorf-Astoria benefits the New York Restoration Project. This year’s theme was the Mexican Day of the Dead. There were bedazzled skeletons, the food was by Chicago-based chef Rick Bayless, and the tables featured religious candles with images of Ms. Midler in place of the Virgin Mary.

Stevie Wonder played for nearly an hour and Michael Kors judged the costume contest. The big winner was a design firm dressed as “the 27 Club,” as the famous musicians (including Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain) who have died tragically at age 27 are unofficially known.

Costumes and cuisine aside, Ms. Midler’s goal was to raise dough. To the tune of “Comedy Tonight,” she and comedian Judy Gold (dressed as Chaz Bono) boiled it down: “You’re here for funny, we’re here for money.”

–With contributions from Mike Vilensky

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