Activity: Halloween on Bourbon street
Difficulty Rating: 1 for dodging drunks, 9 for dodging raindrops
Halloween is a fraught issue for Australians. On one hand there’s the innate human desire to dress up, get drunk and puke pure sugar, on the other is our national resistance to the cultural imperialism of a country that thinks we are kangaroo-owning convicts who’d be caught dead drinking a Fosters. Call it a pagan festival or a celebration of the dead till you’re blue in the face; Halloween in its current form is a mechanism for injecting corn syrup into citizens dressed as cowboys, and for this reason it’s best kept and enjoyed in its country of origin. As much as Aussies pine for a slice of the Spooktober action, we have neither the culture of wild abandon nor the tolerance for sweeteners to do it properly.
I enjoyed my first Halloween firmly as an outsider. Literally. I sat outside the Roosevelt Hotel Bar listening to American Husband’s jazz band. It was raining pitlessly on all the princesses, popes and “ironic” Minions(c) scurrying to their parties and bars. This image was perfected by an agitated Disney Cinderella pacing up and down the street in full ballgown, before hopping into a car with the prince who showed up to rescue her. The foul weather gave the partygoers a grim determination. “They may take our hair volume but they’ll never take our spew!”
Eventually, I braved the storm and wandered down to Bourbon street to see Halloween in the very heart of decadence. I saw some incredible feats of costume conception and engineering and, obviously, stacks of tits. I was pleasantly surprised that for every playboy bunny or sexy stripper (“you know? Like a stripper but sexy!”) there was a peppy Left Shark or glistering Furiosa to balance it out. The beauty, creativity and hilarity of the costumes made the odd person who’d played it safe as “dude in tshirt” or “chick in fave party dress with cat ears” look like the timid fool they were.
I think my bar for GP adult dress-ups was set to Tired Mums at Book Week so the commitment was far above what I’d expected. It felt like wandering through a fairytale or a monster hall of fame. As with any great revelry, though, it would’ve been vastly improved with some good friends or tons of cashier to waste. As a single atom bouncing down Bourbon with $5 and no history of this holiday, I didn’t really catch the fever so much as enjoy the infected.
Here’s a photo of American Husband dressed as something inexplicable to an Australian.