Spooky party planner

By The Columbia Chronicle

by Eli Kakberon and Kaitlyn McAvoy, Staff Writers

Take a quick look around. It seems that on every other block, a new costume shop has opened up. Halloween is approaching, and people of all ages are starting to wonder what scary, sexy or just plain goofy costume to wear this year. What about finding somewhere to show off that costume and possibly get some cash for it instead of candy? Here are some Chicago bars hosting holiday celebrations, some of which are offering big bucks for the best costumes.

Mad River, 2909 N. Sheffield Ave.

The popular Lincoln Park bar, where patrons can dance to ’80s, Top 40 and hip-hop music, will be having a costume contest with cash prizes.

Prizes of $500 will be awarded for the best female and male costumes, said Tom McEnore, the manager of the bar. However, if a group dresses up together and wins, they get $1,000 to split it among themselves, McEnore said.

McEnore said costumes are judged by the crowd, so whoever has the costume that creates the loudest uproar will be awarded the prizes.

There are no rules to the contest and no cover charge to participate.

“It’s always a good crowd, and the music is always good,” McEnore said.

Sonotheque, 1444 W. Chicago Ave.

Located in West Town, Sonotheque is an electro-rock and techno club that will be having a 21-and-over Halloween party.

Mark Gertz, the founder and DJ of Dark Wave Disco, an electro-rock group that regularly plays at Sonotheque, is organizing the event. He said the bash will be more than just a regular costume party.

“Dressing up isn’t required, but I’m sure a lot of people will,” Gertz said. “Plus, we always have drink specials and an open bar [from 9 p.m.-10 p.m.], and college kids will love that.”

The Villains, a Los Angeles-based techno/DJ duo, will deejay the party.

Known for remixing and speeding up songs, the Villains should have the club, which has a capacity of 300 people, going crazy way into early November. Gertz said Sonotheque usually doesn’t reach capacity until midnight, but because Halloween is on a Friday night this year, he expects that people will be going out earlier.

The Apartment and Lion Head Pub, 2251 N. Lincoln Ave.

The two-floor bar with a pub feel downstairs and a lounge atmosphere upstairs is hosting a weekend-long celebration.

On Oct. 31, the bar is having a party called “Jokers Wild,” inspired by this summer’s Batman movie, The Dark Knight, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m, said Megan Osterhout, public relations coordinator for the bar’s owner, Ala Carte Entertainment.

The costume contest starts at 12:30 a.m. First prize is $500, second prize is $200 and the third prize is $100. Second and third prize winners also receive a gift certificate that can be used at any bars the group owns, such as Finn McCool’s and The Loft on Division Street.

Then, on Nov. 1, The Apartment is hosting “Rock of Halloween” with Brandi C. from VH1’s “Rock of Love” from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. and a costume contest again at 12:30 a.m.

A $1,000 cash prize and a private meet- and-greet with Brandi C. will be awarded to the best costume.

Costume contest finalists will compete in a “dance round,” and the winner will be chosen by the audience’s noise reaction, Osterhout said.

South Loop Club, 1 E. Balbo Ave.

One of the top hangouts for Columbia students will be hosting a party on Halloween night for all the residents of the South Loop. The club will be holding a costume contest with prizes and giveaways and, according to bar manager Nick Vranas, offering holiday-themed drinks and “spooky specials.”

“The place will be very festive, but very spooky,” Vranas said. “It’s an ongoing process getting prepared, and we’ll be ready for college kids but also open to the general public.”

Known primarily as a place to watch all kinds of sports, the South Loop Club’s full food and bar menu will still be available on Oct. 31, but with some special twists.

Vranas wouldn’t reveal what these new items would be but said he and the rest of the Club were looking forward to hosting hundreds of dressed-up people of all ages.

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