When you throw an annual bash for more than 40 years, outdoing yourself gets harder and harder. But for Henri David, it’s second nature. Each year David and hundreds of guests get together for a night of wild, elaborate costumes and entertainment.
The famed gay-centric (but fun for anyone with a pulse) party is turning 45 and, according to David, people from up and down the East Coast are coming to celebrate.
For those who aren’t familiar, Henri David is not only well-known in Philadelphia’s LGBT community, but he’s also in the good graces of the artist community. David has an eye for jewelry, which he makes, collects and sells at Washington Square West shop, which is aptly named Halloween.
Clearly, the man takes the holiday very seriously. “I started it because there was nowhere to go on Halloween except someone’s rec room or a dark bar. And I knew I wasn’t the only one who spent forever making a costume. People want to go somewhere nice and show off their costumes,” he says.
You know a host is serious about Halloween when tickets are a fraction of the price for revelers who show up decked out in costume. And this isn’t a place for wallflowers. “I wear a minimum of three costumes each year,” explains David. “I want people in the back of the room to see me, not just the first two rows.”
People who know David know better than to ask for even a small hint of what his costume will be, but when asked what he thinks makes for a great one, the answer is simple. “Creativity,” he says. “It could be the simplest thing, but when someone gets creative with it, that’s terrific.”
Of course, dreaming up new ideas and clever costumes for a smash hit ball each year doesn’t come easy, but David says that’s just how his brain works. How soon after Halloween is over does he wait before he starts working on next year’s themes and creations? “About a few hours,” he says.
Think you have the best costume? Enter the ball's costume contest and find out for sure. Categories include:
Best Period Costume
Most Original Couple
Most Beautiful Female Impersonator
Most Believable Female Impersonator
Best Celebrity Look-a-like
Most Original Couple
Most Unbelievably Spectacular
Henri David Halloween Ball
Oct. 31, 9 p.m.
Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel
201 N. 17th St.
$25 with a costume, $60 without