Your Worst "Nightmare on Hawthorne Boulevard" - The 2013 Hawthorne Hotel Halloween Party

I know, I know! Yes it's been four months since Halloween but in spite of that it's never too late to take a look back at the good time that was had by all at the best Halloween party in all of New England. Nor is it too early to plan ahead for the 2014 Hawthorne Hotel Halloween gala - especially if you'd like to take a shot at some of the great prizes up for grabs because trust me, the competition is tough!  Really tough! Don't believe me?  Read on then - rather like this gentleman below!

The 2013 Hawthorne Hotel Halloween Party was held on Saturday, October 26th and I had the ultimate privilege of being asked to judge once again.  It's definitely an honor but let me say that it's also a lot of work as there are some truly phenomenal costumes that walk through the doors of Salem, Massachusetts' awesome historic hotel - and if you think I'm kidding wait until you look at some of the folks that presented themselves before the bench in the new "Judges' Room" on the second floor!

Along with myself, last year's panel of judges included Bruce and Heidi Whear to my left and Mary Woodcock to my right.  No idea what costume we were debating in the photo above taken by the party's official photographer Patrick Cornelissen (who does a truly a-mazing job as you'll see from more photos later in this post!) but it appears to have been a pretty intense discussion!

The theme for "Nightmare on Hawthorne Boulevard" (featured on the cool swag above which was given to guests who stayed at the Hawthorne during the party weekend as well as four very lucky judges!) was to come as your worst nightmare and I have to say that some of the costumes that we saw that night were probably more than enough to give even Stephen King nightmares had he been lucky enough to be there!

Not all of the costumes were scary though as evidenced by the wicked awesome Iron Man costume above that caught my eye as soon it came through the front door of the hotel!  It wasn't Robert Downey, Jr. who appeared when the face mask came off but Tom Lemieux, a 28-year old hospital worker from Oakland, Maine, who spent more than 400 hours and $2,000 creating the costume in his basement.  Iron Man of Maine - with Jarvis on board, an impressive arc reactor, and pretty-darned realistic bionic repulsers in both hands - certainly had my attention and my vote for Best Individual or Couple before he even presented himself in front of the Judges' Table! What can I say?  I'm a sucker for a man in a red suit!

In all honesty, I wish that we had been able to give an award to everyone as the caliber of costume just gets better and better with every party that I've been able to attend.  This ain't your grandfather's Halloween party with store-bought costumes - oh hecks no!  This is some serious stuff so if you're going to go to the party hoping to bring home one of the fantastic cash prizes then you had best bring your A++ game or the only thing you'll be going home with is memories of a really good time - which isn't a bad thing at all when you get right down to it!

Used with his permission, here are some more of Patrick Cornelissen's fantastic photos so you can see that I'm not kidding about how tough it is to pick out who is going to walk across the stage in the hotel's Grand Ballroom for the final costume competition where crowd reaction definitely counts when it comes to picking the winners.

Another new addition to the judging this year was to give the nominees medals to wear signifying that they had made the first cut - previous parties we gave out sashes but as those were sometimes tricky to wear with the costumes the new medals could be either worn or carried if need be.  In the photo below, Juli Lederhaus, General Manager of the Hawthorne Hotel, hands out ribbons to nominees in the category of "Best Group".

With the initial judging out of the way, while the rest of the party-goers were enjoying the delicious food, music, and adult beverages we judges put our heads together to come up with the final nominees to present in the contest.

At 10:00 the band gathered everyone around the stage in the Grand Ballroom, our nominees strutted their stuff and did their best to wow the crowd as they made their way across, and finally when all was said and done we had our winners for 2013: 

"Best Theme of the Party" went to Tom and Stacy Waters of Taunton, Massachusetts with their version of "Your Soul to Take" - they make you want to say your prayers twice before drifting off to sleep, don't they? 

Third Place in Best Individual or Couple went to Rasputin - Michael Hayes of St. Petersburg, Florida who used a motorcycle battery to power that awesome staff.

Second Place would have made Alfred Hitchcock very happy as Tippi Hendron from "The Birds" - aka Aileen Benson of Boston - took the prize. 

First prize was no surprise to me at all was the hands-down favorite of the crowd - Iron Man of Maine!  Tom's five months of hard work certainly paid off!  

In the category of Best Group, Third Place went to the Justice League Retirement Community portrayed by James Carter, Krystal Souther, and Holly and Chad Schwinn of Florence, South Carolina.  These guys totally cracked me up! 

Equally hilarious and every native New Yorker's worse nightmare - Second Place were the New York Tourists who are actually native New Yorkers themselves!  Which just goes to show that imagination counts just as much as being able to construct a great costume! 

First Place in Group was awarded to a family from nearby Beverly, Massachusetts who started putting their make-up on at 11:00 a.m. in order to be ready for the start of the party at 7:30 p.m. - now that's dedication!  The Doctor Suess Group consisted of Martha May Whovier and The Grinch along with Thing One and Thing Two who were another crowd favorite.

In all $1,700 in cash was awarded to the winners of the Costume Contest who also won the adoration of the other attendees or else they wouldn't have been the winners no matter how much the other judges and I liked their costumes.  Winning at the Hawthorne Hotel Halloween Party isn't easy but it's sure worth it!

The theme for the 2014 Party will be announced on February 14th so that gives you a good eight months to come up with the best costume you can should you decide that you're tired of just looking at all of the photos of what a good time the party is and want to attend yourself.  Even if you don't want to enter the Costume Competition come for the good food and good time! 

In closing I would just like to say a big THANK YOU to theband, "Hush" who won't be performing again next year as they have unfortunately disbanded. I'm sure that the hotel will find someone to fill their shoes but I don't think it's going to be easy as these guys could play just about anything and had a grand time doing it!

And of course another big THANK YOU goes to Juli Lederhaus and her fantastic staff who make the Hawthorne Halloween Party the great success and good time that it is.  These folks work long and hard to make sure all of the guests have a great time and from the looks of it, they have a pretty good time themselves!  Thank you also to Patrick for use of your photos, I was too busy judging to really take many myself this year but that's okay as yours are much better!

So what do you say?  Will I see you at next year's party?  Keep an eye out on Facebook, Twitter, and the Hawthorne's official website for the announcement of the 2014 theme along with all the information you'll need to make sure you don't miss out on the most fun on the North Shore in October! 


  1. It was just so nice to revisit the Halloween Ball during this time of year. We've been staying at the hotel and attending the ball for the past three years and have a confirmed reservation for 2014. We look forward to a new theme for this coming event. Thanks, dedicated patrons, Rick Niejadlik and Linda Vacchione


Post a Comment

Thank you for wandering by and leaving a comment today!

Popular posts from this blog

Triple-Sheeting Defined

The Tale of Indian Leap at Yantic Falls in Norwich

A Virtual Visit to Salem's House of the Seven Gables - Part Two, The Turner-Ingersoll Mansion

The Hawthorne Hotel's "Haunted" Room #325 - The Set-Up

The Omni Mount Washington Resort: Historically Comfortable Elegance in New Hampshire's White Mountains