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Village Halloween Costume Ball Puts New Spin On Halloween

Village Halloween Costume Ball Puts New Spin On Halloween

More than 40 years ago, before the Village Halloween Parade was even a glimmer in the eye of Greenwich Village, Theater for the New City launched its own Village Halloween Costume Ball. That started with a parade and party that gradually led to today's huge Village Halloween parade.

Theater for the New City, meanwhile, has continued and expanded its own Halloween costume party and performance festival with new features and a music, theater, dance and a house of horrors looking at global warming.

"TNC originated the Village Halloween Parade as part of its annual Halloween Ball," according to the theater. "The procession wound its way through the Village from TNC's second home at the corner of Jane and West Streets to Washington Square."

The parade itself has long since become an entirely separate event, but TNC still holds the Village Halloween Costume Ball, putting a new spin on its tradition every year.

The theater, at 155 First Ave., between 9th and 10th Sts., this year is holding its 42nd annual Halloween costume ball and competition as one of Downtown's traditions continues to adapt and stay true to the times.

"You can gobble couscous from a coffin lid beginning at 7:30 p.m., while enjoying spine-tingling performances by performance artists, songwriters, poets, and variety artists," as the theater puts it.

The one-night festival and fiesta takes over all four of TNC's theater spaces, plus its lobby and the block of East Tenth Street between First and Second Avenues. The theater itself is dressed up from painted walls to performances including a big band in the theater's biggest space as well as soloists, snippets of shows and much more.

Theater for the New City this year is creating its own House of Horrors, with the help of David Zen Mansley, that looks at the "horrors and terror of global warming. "Revelers will be put through a maze and duly horrified," according to the theater, which continues what may be downtown's longest running Halloween celebration.

TNC, which has presented original productions of performers ranging from Sam Shepard to Charles Busch, also has been the launching pad for performers such as Paul Zaloom, Penny Arcade and Alien Comic Tom Murrin.

At the costume ball's champagne bar, vampires will wake periodically to serve libations in keeping with the holiday as the party goes on.

Typically, more than 1,500 wildly-clad celebrants gather for dancing, dining, a costume contest and dozens of performances going late into the night.

Admission to the Village Halloween Costume Ball is $20; costume or formal wear is required. Once inside, everything is free except for food and drink, which are, as the theater says, "graveyard dirt-cheap." Outdoor entertainment 4-7 pm; doors open 7:30 pm $20; costume or formal wear required, (212) 254-1109. Info/ticketing

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