Halloween is not just for children who go trick or treating. In many major cities across the nation, including New York City, New Orleans and (My Favorite, of course) San Francisco, Halloween has been a major adult event for many years. In San Francisco (although, unfortunately not officially happening now due to bridge and tunnel, looky-loos sans costume, just wanting to make trouble) for many years, the Castro district was host to one of my favorite events of the year. Halloween in San Francisco is like the Gay High Holidays. The even was hosted my The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who would raise money for their charities through entrance gate donations. They would also volunteer to work the gates, working with the police and the neighborhood to put on such a great event.
My first memory of Halloween in the Castro (when I was just an innocent baby queen, just after taking my first steps (out of the closet), was with my best friend and roomy at the time, Kristina. We decided to gender swap alla Grease (I was a Pink Lady and she was a T-Bird) and as I strapped down my goods, so did she. We looked amazing (for 19 year olds just learning the art of drag). We ventured out from our Parkmerced apartment, on the M line, which was packed with SFSU students all heading to Church Street Station (They had closed the Castro stop since it was in the middle of the fair) and we began our slow walk through the crowds where EVERYONE was in a costume and having a great time. The creativity of the costumes were what really got me. I saw mummified men sporting ginormous mummified erections, Bears in vinyl Naught Nurse outfits, a group of 10 drag queens in matching Southern Bell attire singing songs of Dixie while they strolled and twirled their parasols and my absolute favorite at that time, a superhero named Cannabis Girl ( complete with utility belt containing lighters, pipes, rolling papers, a grinder, a bubbler and roach clips) who passed out joints and brownies to passers by.
All of this creativity and well made costumes inspired me to take my makeup artistry further. As my skills improved and I learned various makeup techniques, I took my knowledge and applied it to my own costume ideas (why should I make someone else the center of attention when it could be me, right?).
The following years were some of my favorites because I was able to get real time reactions to my work and I really enjoyed the attention. Most years I was unable to keep up with my group of friends because so many people were requesting photos of me. I would walk a few feet and another group would gather around, and flashes would start going off, so I would just stand there for pictures, posing with people and taking in the whole experience. Each year I would try to top myself with something grander and more fabulous, spending way too much money on supplies, but fulfilled for those few drunken hours (both drunk with popularity and alcohol).
These are some of the costumes I’ve sported over the years:
The Geico Caveman Lion
Zombie Devil from Legend
Ape Woman Golden Buddha
Hog on a Hog Pirate
Halloween this year is only 22 days away and I haven’t figured out what exactly I’m going to be wearing or doing yet. I’m getting pretty booked up with makeup clients (although there are still spots left for those in need of a pro…hint hint!) and haven’t had a moment to think of myself (for once lol!).
Unfortunately, Halloween in San Francisco is no longer the same. Due to violent shootings and stabbings at the Castro Halloween street party over the years, and the crowds getting too large to handle (including people from other cities, not in costume, most of whom are trouble makers), the official Castro Halloween had been canceled for the past few years. People will still head out there, but the streets are no longer closed off and the parties have gone, either inside peoples homes, or into the bars and clubs. Halloween is still a great time of year in San Francisco. It is what you make of it. Don’t take it all so seriously…save that for the Day of the Dead Celebration two days later.
If you are in need of advice about what you should do for your Halloween costume, or you have an idea but want tips on makeup, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will personally answer all of your questions. I may even include your questions and my solutions in my next blog.
For those of you who want to book a makeup session with me at my San Francisco Studio, please visit my Oui, Three Queens Productions website and email me to set something up! (remember, sooner is better so spots don’t fill up!)
So for now, this is your Beauty, Grooming and Halloween Guru signing off.
May your Halloween be SpookTacular!