Oh, Jesus, I just realized that Halloween is on a Monday this year. This is both glorious and terrifying.
Have you ever lived through a Monday Halloween in San Francisco? Tell me, have you? Have you seen the harrowed look in someone’s eyes when they’ve been dressed as a “Sexy Banana” every single night since the previous Wednesday? Their costume in shambles, stained with booze, blood and bad decisions, like they just emerged from some godforsaken Fruit of the Loom orgy. Calling this lunacy is an understatement; it’s a way of life taken to the extreme. It’s a belief system held against the fires of hell, just to see if it can stand the heat. And it is magnificent!
If there’s one thing San Franciscans love, it’s putting on costumes and partying: Bay to Breakers, Burning Man, Decompression, How Weird Street Faire and, hell, even Pride at this point. All of them are excuses to don some weird amalgamation of sparkles, glitter, fabric and pheromones and dance to the universal vibrations that scream “get it while you can, for tomorrow you go back to being you.”
The thing is, when Halloween is on a Monday, and the festivities start on Wednesday or Thursday, “tomorrow” is a long ways away.
Anyone who’s been here for a few years has a costume box, and some people who’ve been in their rent-controlled apartments long enough even have costume closets. These transformative garments hide away in storage because their owners think, “Who knows when I’ll need Mickey Mouse ears and a tutu?” It’s true, emergencies happen, and we all must be prepared. It’s a horrifying and somewhat spellbinding prospect to think that there are probably more San Franciscans with costume boxes than earthquake preparedness kits. Tough choices have to be made when storage space is scarce, and costume parties happen way more often than earthquakes.
The smart Monday Halloweeners plan ahead and have a couple costumes to wear for the half-week of festivities. Others even have their shit together enough to have a different outfit for each night. Then there’s the rest of us: The ones who pick one costume and wear it for the entirety of the occasion. After a few days of it — once Halloween finally shows up like a late-for-dinner guest — you’re no longer sure if you look becoming in your costume or if you’re just becoming it. You never really figure it out.
In days of yore, The City would’ve already been a flutter by now with people ransacking thrift stores and fabric outlets, gluing and sewing late into the night in preparation for the bacchanalia that was The Castro on Halloween. But its been a decade since that was shut down. Sure, the festivities have scattered throughout The City like candy from a piñata stuck by Brandon Belt, but without that central hub of freakiness, some think this has become less of a Halloween town.
Those people have forgotten what it’s like to have Halloween on a Monday.
There is madness on the horizon, and I’m ready for it. Well, at least I’d like to think I am. I’ve weathered this storm before, but have you? Are you ready for days of pub crawls, house parties, warehouse parties and raves? Are you poised to endure a half-week of zombie Donald Trumps, otherworldly David Bowies, beatific Princes and far too many Ken Bones? Are you prepared to have a long, deep look at yourself in the mirror after waking up next to someone dressed like Cookie Monster? Are you? Tell me, dammit, are you?
Well, I guess we’ll find out.
Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com. Broke-Ass City runs Thursdays in the San Francisco Examiner.