A Spooky Night at 'Webster Hell'

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Last night was Halloween, and we spent our night - and a good amount of the morning - at ‘Webster Hell.’ Webster Hell is the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade’s official after party - the spooky, trippy event has taken over every floor of Webster Hall on Halloween night since 1886. It boasts the best costumes (and a $5k prize for the costume contest winner) and incredible performances. Because of how iconic it is, the tickets get expensive, so Daniel and I bought ours almost an entire year in advance and scored the lowest price - $45 per person.

We’d been preparing for this night for months. We had painstakingly decided on this year’s couples costume, and we began getting into those costumes at 8pm on Halloween night. Just a magician and his bunny looking for a good time!

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The party started at 8pm but, because Daniel and I aren’t typically out partying on a Saturday night and we know we have our limits - we decided to arrive around 10pm. The shows and events generally start at 12am, so we thought two hours would be enough time to spend dancing and frequenting the bars before the clock struck midnight.

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The venue was awesome - there were four floors, countless bars, three DJs and a live band to explore. Each dance floor had its own ‘feel’ (think spotlights, verses strobe lights, verses black lights) and the rest of the venue was decorated with cobwebs, zombie heads and other spooky sights.  

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An aside: Drinks are ridiculously expensive because - why not? They know people will pay for them! Daniel and I both got two drinks each, and we spent around $80. Then, when the night went on, we asked for a bottle of water and they charged us $6! It’s a rip off, yes, but holidays and special events are never cheap in New York City, so we’ve made our peace with it.

Midnight was coming closer, so Daniel and I made our way to the theater where the show was going to be. There were so many people in costumes - scary demons and zombies, cute deer and mice, and strange things like the tooth fairy or sexy pizza rat. All of them dancing under the strobe lights and thundering music; that alone was an experience, and that alone is one of the reasons why I love Halloween.

Past midnight, however, the show still had not started. Around 12:30am, an acrobat rose from the middle of the crowd on a ring. Above the crowd, she danced and contorted herself while we clapped and cheered. But when she was lowered back into the crowd, the DJ just continued playing and nothing else happened. There was no explanation as to why the show wasn’t starting, so the crowd just kept on dancing.

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An hour past midnight - it was 1:00am, and still nothing had happened. Daniel and I had standing spots directly beside the stage that we didn’t want to give up but an hour (and a few drinks) later, and we really had to go to the bathroom! Another aside: the bathrooms were unisex.And they kinda’ actually worked. Unfortunately we did give up our spots so, when 1:30am rolled around and the show still hadn’t started, we were kind of irritated.

It was close to 2am when the music finally stopped and a spotlight fell on the stage. The red curtain lifted to reveal an Egyptian temple and fire-swallowers. They had flaming hats, spears and hula hoops, and they danced methodically to electronic Ancient Egyptian-esque music. After they swallowed enough fire, a horde of mummies entered the stage, followed by a woman in a robe and crown that Egyptian Pharaohs would wear. She was carrying a giant sword, and turned around to summon a pair of mummies that brought in a struggling girl - the virgin who would be sacrificed in the (very theatrical) and iconic main event. Dancers, fire, mummies - all of it took over the stage while the virgin hung above the crowd before her sacrifice. The show ended with her death, then the queen in a thundering voice, who wished ‘the dead, a good night.’

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Things to keep in mind:

  • The virgin sacrifice is all fake and not in any way connected with the occult. It's a performance. You can find the virgin and the dancers on instagram, if you’d like. They seem to be very normal people.

  • Don’t forget to buy your tickets in advance!

  • They do a thorough bag-check and pat-down before entering the venue, so don’t try anything stupid.

  • If pre-gaming is your thing, then you might want to do it. This isn’t a place to go and drink casually because of the prices.

  • Get there late. 10pm, 11pm, etc. You’ll see more of the events if you do. The costume contest happens on the stage after the show, but we left before we saw that. We did get to meet a few people who were entered in the contest, though! I got my picture taken with this man dressed as a peacock. He was also featured on HONY.

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