The delta variant is dissipating. The City is reopening. Halloween was largely canceled in 2020, but this year — thanks to vaccinations and San Franciscans’ willingness to get them — trick or treat is on, along with events like Terror Vault’s “Immortal Reckoning,” a scary-campy haunted house at the San Francisco Mint, created and curated by Peaches Christ and her costuming colleagues.
Joshua Grannell, aka Peaches Christ, has been busy this Halloween season. The drag performer and filmmaker presented on Thursday “Devilish Inspirations: Summoning Witches, Demons, and Black Magic at the Piano,” an online event co-hosted with Edwin Outwater, music director at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. (The celebration of piano repertoire’s most haunting moments is still available online, with after-event donations welcome.) Saturday also marked the end of Terror Vault’s month-long occupation of the Old Mint.
The Examiner emailed with Peaches Christ about why Halloween has long resonated with San Franciscans.
Why is Halloween a favored holiday in San Francisco, among young and old, straight and queer?
People call Halloween “Gay Christmas” and because S.F. is such a culturally queer city, I think it really has become an important holiday for everyone because queers throw the best parties and have kinda shown the bigger population how to make it the most fun time of year. Luckily, we live in a city where events “straight” people are open to are becoming queer adjacent.
Can you recount your favorite Halloween in The City? What happened and what did you wear?
I think my favorite Halloween season had to be in 2018 when I was able to realize my lifelong dream of opening our haunted attraction “Terror Vault” at the old San Francisco Mint building. I was in the show playing a satanic priestess and I would appear from above in my scene inside an elevator that descended dramatically with dry ice fog. It was very inspired by Frank-N-Furter’s iconic entrance.
A closet full of costumes is fairly common to residents in our city. Why? Is it the Burning Man effect or something else?
I would also give credit to this to the queers who came here, running away from the most boring places so that they could dress up and be free. Other people saw how much fun they were having and incorporated dressing up into their own stuff, like Bay to Breakers.
Does the pandemic up the ante for costuming or dampen it?
I think it ups the ante because we’re all hungry for fun and tradition and the things that were taken away from us in 2020.
What words of advice do you have for those still torn about what “to be”?
Get creative! Think outside of the box and put a costume together utilizing whatever is available. Do NOT let your indecision lead to inaction. Create a costume today.