Simon Doonan Does Halloween
With Halloween, perhaps the gayest holiday of the year, just around the corner, we wanted to share some creative inspiration from Simon Doonan. The gadfly and former window dresser for Barney’s New York (also Jonathan Adler’s longtime squeeze) teamed up with Ravenswood Winery to channel the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe this season. And as many of us may know, Poe spent many years in Philadelphia penning his masterpieces, so these how-to tips for the ultimate Poe party could never be lost on our gay denizens, right?
Here are Doonan’s Do’s and Don’ts for the ultimate Edgar Allen Poe-themed party:
Do enjoy it. Halloween is definitely my favorite holiday beacuse it is all about self-expression and fun … and some quality hooch. Nobody dreads Halloween. People always feel good about Halloween. It’s a great time to express your personal style and your sense of fun.
Do impersonate. What better time to pay homage to your heroes and anti-heroes? I’m talking Ziggy Stardust, Winston Churchill, Kermit or Kim Kardashian, and yes, Mr. Gothic himself, the late great Edgar Allan Poe.
Do let it rip. Halloween is a great time for a little hedonism, by which I mean knock back the Ravenswood (how Poe-tastic is that Raven-embellished label?) and have a good time! A really, really good time.
Do look stylish. Halloween is also the perfect opportunity to step up your fashion quotient: higher heels, daring chapeaux, tighter frocks … and that’s just the men.
Do decorate. Make the effort to change the decor of your pad in some way. Start by dimming the lights and string up a few fake cobwebs, and then go for it and start channeling your inner Edgar Allen: stuffed ravens, cardboard coffins, paperskull lanterns, dangling skeletons, leaping spiders. Then see how long you can leave it up. (I’ll wager you won’t last until Thanksgiving.)
Don’t not carve pumpkins. A little crafty creativity is an important element in every party. Pumpkin carving always produces strange trippy results, especially after a few vats of Ravenswood.
Don’t forget to flaunt yourself. Halloween is a great time to show off your hidden assets. If you have a great pair of legs, then flaunt them in a mini-length ghost costume. Maybe your day-job does not allow much cleavage. If so, then Halloween is the time to give the girls an outing.
Don’t play dorky music. Halloween is not the time for Burt Bacharach. It’s all about a goth-punk-disco mix: The Cramps, Joy Division, Bauhaus and, yes, a little Metallica for good measure.
Don’t scare the crap our of your kids with too much gruesome horror. As much as you might like vampires and corpses, your kids need a kinder and more caring approach. How about dressing your brat as The Papparazzo from Hell or The DJ from the Crypt? Or a Toddler with a Tiara?
Don’t get scared – of the kitchen. You’d be surprised how some seasonal fruit, nuts and a well-named Halloween hors d’oeuvre – a chicken breast can so easily morph into “medallions of blanched raven” – can get people into the spooky spirit of the holiday.
Simon Doonan is the creative ambassador-at-large for Barney’s in New York. He’s also the author of Gay Men Don’t Get Fat.