House of Halloween
The House of Halloween is truly a trip without the acid. Meow Wolf has produced a whimsical exhibition within the permanent and nationally recognized installation, House of Eternal Return. It features fresh and innovative artwork, more than 80 surreal performances by intricately disguised actors with a special visit from the disappeared Selig family around whom the mystery of the house revolves.
For such a large event, there were only about 50 people in production, including costume making, purchasing, and choreographing. “Most of the people involved [in the production] are friends of performers and artists, so it’s really communal and collaborative,” Meow Wolf staff member Mariana Mosca says. “It’s very much inclusive.”
The experience begins as soon as you enter the lobby. Exclusive to the month of October, Meow Wolf offers free face painting and 1800’s tintype photography sessions for a fee of around $30 to $35. “You get the tintype back, you get to see it develop and see the whole process. It’s really cool,” Meow Wolf’s virtual human Brian Solomon says. “It’s pretty affordable for what it is.”
Inside, elaborately costumed performers sneak, crawl, twirl, and dance in the neon realm of the House of Eternal Return. The actors interact with the masses and each other in particular ways, communicating
through high-pitched gibberish, gesticulations or inflections of their character’s personality.
There is one performer who remains her celestial self: musical guest The Space Lady. She began her musical journey as a busker on the streets of Boston and San Francisco in the 1970s, to this day sporting her iconic winged and red-blinking hat while she plays. Mastering the ethereal sounds of synth pop, The Space Lady plays other-worldly covers of The Beatles as well as her own originals songs, the echoic techno aiding to the House of Halloween psychedelia.
In one room, a colorfully masked band initiates a dance party that is soon interrupted by the charter agents, black-suited men with tin guns whose job is to enforce order and regulation amid the chaotic universe. Their attempts to control the monsters are futile, guns magnetizing to the ceiling with the advance of the band. As the trumpet hums in the background, the conductor gives a passionate speech that encapsulates the spirit of the House of Halloween:
“It is now that we the monsters are filled with the power of the dimension known as Halloween! And now, we celebrate the power of being playful, of being creative, of being spontaneous, of being goofballs! And now, with the power of Halloween, I now charge you charter agents and command you to… shake your booty’s off!”
The conductor encompasses the larger theme at play. The opposing forces of the Charter and the Anomaly represent the classic juxtaposition of good and evil. The idea that chaos will never abide by order and the right to be individually eccentric will always win over the strict forces that try to suppress them is ever-present throughout the House of Halloween. Though the charter agents sweep each room, trying their best to restore mundanity and normality to the insanity, their efforts are forever fruitless.
House of Halloween hosts three hour shows every Thursday through Sunday throughout the month of October. You can arrive at anytime from 6 to 9 p.m. and delve right into the surreal world the moment you walk through the front door. Tickets are discounted from $35 to $25 on Thursdays and Sundays, all except for the last Sunday of the event. There are only two weekends left to attend this unforgettable and indescribable experience. Space is limited, so buy your tickets while you still can!
Feature photo by Caity Kennedy, courtesy of meowwolf.com