Halloween is always one of those events that you want to go well but you never expect it will. What I mean is, you build it up in your head and hope it goes well, but rarely does it meet your expectations. This year, in preparation for potential disappointment, I found myself three things to do. That way, if one of them sucked, I’d have two others to fall back on.
The three things were: the Boston Bike Party Halloween Ride (pictured in poster form above), karaoke at Highland Kitchen, and the 2nd annual Halloween party at my friend’s apartment aka The Blood Coven. The initial plan I made for myself was to start the night off by doing the BBP, then biking over to Somerville to do some karaoke, and finally ending the night at the Coven. However, as Halloween approached and I got more realistic about things, I began to realize that this plan might not be possible.
So, I decided to go into the night without a specific plan. I figured I would definitely start with the BBP ride, as it’s still new to me and I wanted to meet up with people again. However, if I didn’t make it to HK, that’d be fine because it’s not like I’ve never done karaoke there before. And as to the Coven Party, if I made it there, great, if not, that too, it’s not like I hadn’t been to a party there before (and they’re all basically the same anyway).
After getting home from work I got changed into my street clothes and headed straight back into the city. I didn’t have a costume, partially because I didn’t have time for one and partially because it was too cold to wear one. I just went out in jeans, a hoodie, a beanie, and my denim vest. The first person I saw was the guy David I had met the last time who was once again wearing his home-made Daft Punk helmet. I chatted with him for a bit and then basically rode around in circles for a bit to keep warm and to admire people’s costumes as they came in.
Some of the costumes that stuck out to me were Steve Zissou from The Life Aquatic who had built a frame around his bike to make it look like a submarine, Mrs. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus, Elliot with ET in the basket, Paul Revere with cardboard on his bike to make it look like a horse, The “T”; both the red and the blue line, TRON and Thomas Bangalter from Daft Punk (both pictured above). I know I’m forgetting some because there were a lot of creative people there.
However, one of the smarter ones I saw was a group. The group was Mario, Luigi, and Peach. This is pretty standard and typically I would find it unoriginal. However, this groups was specifically these three characters from Mario Kart. The way they differentiated themselves was by having three balloons tied to their backs to represent that they were in “Battle Mode.” On top of that, Luigi even had a set of three banana peels on his bike rack. It’s this attention to detail that separates the good costumes from the great ones. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a pictures of any of these, or very many pictures at all for that matter, because I’m stupid.
In my ridings around, I ran into one of the organizers who gave me a spoke card. I had gotten one at the last BBP but it fell out of my spokes. I was going to leave this one in my pocket but when the organizer (I forget his name) saw I wasn’t putting it on my bike, he took it from me and stuck it in my rear spoke. “I don’t want it to fall out like last time,” I told him. “You just gotta stick it in there real good,” he said. “In other words, don’t be a pussy?,” I asked. “Basically,” he said. He stood back admiring his handy work. “This looks real good on your bike.” He was right, the orange spoke card paired nicely with my black frame and to my pleasant surprise it stayed in my spoke the whole ride.
Soon the ride was underway. Right away it had a distinctly different tone to the first ride. Not only was it colder, but there were noticeably more people there. The 700 or so of us made the group of 300 the last time seem intimate. Also, we encountered a lot more anger than we had before. What I mean is, I don’t really remember anyone beeping at us on the (my) first ride. This time however, there were a bunch of cars that were upset with us and a few who rolled down there windows to yell at us to get out of the way. I get that it’s probably frustrating to wait a few minutes for several hundred costumed cyclists to pass by before you can continue on your way, but it’s like, be patient, you know? Enjoy the parade.
I tried to move around in the crowd, not just stay towards the front or the back, but jumble around. I even stopped a couple times to take time-lapse videos of the group passing me by. There were definitely some rad moments of feeling like you’re part of something bigger than you. You kind of just tune out of everyday life and tune in to everyone around you; it’s a cool experience.
Along the way I met up with two guys with whom I felt instant kinship. Devon and Collin were both fellow (although I guess now I’m technically former) messengers. We just got along right away and had cool quick convo about messaging and biking in general. Devon told me that the next day (Saturday) there was set to be an AlleyCat Race* at 1pm and that I should join them. I told him it would depend on how much drinking I did. I said that I wanted to grab their numbers at the end but before you knew it we were separated and soon we were in Allston and it was over.
There were two options for the after-party, Wonderbar or The Brighton Music Hall. I saw the line for Wonderbar was super long so I made my over to BMH. There was a line there too and suddenly my brain was in a weird palce. I don’t know how to explain it, whether I was disappointed it was already over, or that I hadn’t gotten anyone’s number, but I just wasn’t in the mood to hang around and try and find people. After a few minutes of inner conflict, I decided -since the night was still young- to head over to HK.
Still have yet to “plug” Hi Wheel Scene. Still haven’t pitched the idea for a naked bike ride. Still didn’t take as much time to grab photos and to really enjoy the moment while I was in it. However, this was only my second one, there will be many more opportunities to do all of the aforementioned things.
It was a cold lonesome ride through the darkness, but eventually I made my way to the promised land. After saying hi to Sparkie and Brian, I spotted Tyler and Shannon and sat and chilled with them. They were eating but told me that once they were done, they were gonna head over to the Coven. I told them I’d biked and that I’d put a song in, so I wanted to at least sing before heading over and that if they wanted to leave without me to go for it. As timing would have it, I was called up to sing right as Tyler was finishing up at the bar. I pumped the crowd up with “It’s Tricky,” before doing a fashionable Irish exit.
I flew over to the Coven and to my surprise, got there before Tyler and Shannon despite leaving at the exact same time. I don’t know if it was the cold (as motivation) or that it was just significantly shorter than I remembered it being (and certainly much short than my other two previous rides that night) but it felt like it got there in no time. However, upon my arrival I was bummed to see that there was no one there. I mean of course there were people there, but it wasn’t the rage-er it was last year.
The funny thing is, I was sort of not surprised. It’s weird to say, but Halloween felt very unimportant this year. I was looking forward to what I wanted to do, but sort of knew it was gonna be lame. It was as if everyone felt the same way I did and was just going through the motions because they had to. I chilled and sat and talked and danced but it was all sort of half-hearted.
By around 1-1:30, Tyler suggested we go to another party at Brendan’s friends house. As I was mid-decision making, Christian asked me if I wanted a ride. (It wouldn’t be till the end of the night that I would realize I should have left with him, but more on that later). Not wanting to be the “blitz” I typically am, I decided to stick around and see where the night took me.
Me, Collin (a different one from the one I mentioned before) and Matt were down. But, because nothing happens fast with that crew, it wasn’t until about 45 minutes later that we actually left for the other place. Upon our arrival it was instantly apparent we had gone from lame to equally lame. Basically just a bunch of people none of us knew standing around in a tiny living room drunkenly grinding on each other. The few people I spoke to were super weird and after about a half hour of bullshit, we went back to the Coven.
We danced a bit more and soon after we arrived, Sparkie, Brian, Brian’s girlfriend, Brandon (door-man at HK), and Brice (manager or something at HK) randomly showed up. We chatted with them for a bit until they too realized the party was super dead. I got hungry and to my pleasant surprise was rewarded with Collin’s leftover burrito from Chipotle. Apparently him and Matt had gone earlier in the night right before they closed and were given super huge burritos. So big, that Collin couldn’t finish his and thus I reaped the benefits.
Soon however, Brendon came out of his room and told us to keep it down and that he wanted us to leave soon. I was all ready to go and so was Matt, but then Collin had to get into the huge roundabout conversation with Abby’s stupid friend about the Boston hardcore scene versus the Texas hardcore scene and their perceived differences. I’m not sure what time it started but all I know is that it didn’t end until about 5:40am. At one point I semi-conciously nodded off on Abby’s lap.
Finally we said our goodbyes and made our way out to leave, but not before me taking Brendon’s Blu-ray copy of Her. I thought I was out of the woods when suddenly Collin realized, right as we were about the pull away from the curb, that he’d left his boom-box in the house. He promptly retrieved it and finally we were on our way. Matt dropped off Collin at his casa before ending my night by dropping me off at my house. It was 6am and I had nothing to show for it. No hickey, no girl, just my bike and my sleep deprived sober brain. It had been a nearly twelve hour excursion from when I left my house to when I got back to it.
So now you know why I should have left with Christian… because nothing fucking happened. Even with three plans I didn’t have a fun Halloween; I just sat around for several hours. Hours I could have used on sleep. By the same token, it’s not like I had shit to do on Saturday, so I could -and did- sleep in… till 2:20pm. I was disappointed to miss the AlleyCat Race but the weather was shitty anyway, so I probably wouldn’t have gone even if I had gotten to bed at a reasonable hour. Besides it’s like my friend once said, “Time spent being unproductive with friends is better than time being spent unproductive alone,” …or something along those lines.
*For those who don’t know, an AlleyCat Race is part of the bike messenger culture. Messengers meet up at a designated location and are given a manifest with a certain number of “delivery” locations on it. These locations are checkpoints at which you have to get your manifest signed. The first biker to get his or her run completed first, having hit all the checkpoints, is the winner.