Well, I don’t know about you, but I really struggled with Halloween this year … and maybe this entire back-to-school season of “put on a slinky dress and try to seem interesting” socializing. Last fall, everything felt fresh again, coming off that gloriously horny post-pandemic summer. Instead, this summer was petrified by monkeypox and the antebellum Supreme Court, and now even Governor Hochul is on the ropes to some MAGA zombie. All everyone seems to be able to talk about is Ye, Oz, Elon, and Taylor Swift. I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m having a hard time feeling that fun myself these days, got it? All I could bring myself to do this Halloweekend was hit one of the same clubs I always go to, arriving before 10 p.m. and not leaving until well after 8 a.m.
Then, on Monday night, I got all dressed up as Jackie Kennedy — which at the very least was a nice excuse to smoke a pack of Newports and stumble around muttering in a breathy mid-Atlantic accent, “There will never be another Camelot” — to attend Heidi Klum’s 21st annual Halloween party on the Lower East Side. As I’m sure you’ve seen by now, the German supermodel and queen of Halloween showed up dressed as a worm, and I still don’t know what to make of it, because, gross. Before the party, Heidi kept teasing that her costume was “claustrophobic,” so maybe she also feels burdened by late 2022 heading into the winter. Maybe, as Naomi Fry has suggested in The New Yorker, it represented the “endless heavy lifting that a certain kind of femininity requires.” That seems like overthinking it. After all, The Worm did make me giggle. By the end of the night, after a brief haunting by the Chief Twit, all I could think was, Please, God, make me a worm so I can squirm far, far away from here.
9 p.m. | Heidi’s party is at the new Moxy Hotel on the Lower East Side — specifically, in the basement, which will soon open as a Japanese restaurant called Sake No Hana (you kinda want to insert emoji claps between each word when you write that) from the owners of that once-trendy nightclub Tao. It’s cheesily decorated tonight with fake skeletons, chains, flames, blood, and one (also fake) stone bust of Heidi all over what is still clearly a hotel lobby and a Japanese restaurant, lit solely by red paper lanterns. The bartenders are all wearing little white dresses with bandages wrapped around their heads, and when I ask one of them what they’re supposed to be, she says, “I don’t know. Plastic-surgery girl?” How appropriate!
9:30 p.m. | This is probably TMI, but to be honest with you, I think I ate something bad for dinner (not sushi!), and my Jackie dress is awfully tight, so I spend some time in the restroom with my head in the toilet. It doesn’t settle my stomach that this party is sponsored by Baileys Irish Cream (and Amazon Prime Video, soon to be streaming Harry Styles as a closeted cop … chilling). My first two drinks of the evening were a flute of Champagne followed by the house cocktail: a “Baileys Shakeado,” which is just Baileys and ice. I wonder if someone will show up as Old Gregg.
10:02 p.m. | When I emerge queasily back into the party, a Roman warrior asks me if I’m Queen Elizabeth II, presumably during one of the early seasons of The Crown, which, though I can sort of understand why he might think that (the pearls, the pillbox hat), is frankly, given the Pepto-pink outfit as a reference, a slap in the face to history, elegance, tragedy, and glamour. His date is one of at least four Cruella de Vils I’ve encountered thus far.
10:07 p.m. | Thankfully, soon after, a Minnie Mouse asks me, “Are you Jackie O.?” even though, sure, if you’re going to get technical about it, I’m dressed more like Dallas-motorcade Jackie, pre–Daley Plaza (I decided fake blood/brains would be gauche; I’m still offended by the party girl I saw this year dressed as car-wrecked Princess Di). There’s certainly some other more convincing and elaborate costumes here — namely an electronic-cigarette-puffing Patsy from AbFab, a Superman with an impressive bulge, and one gay dressed as Roy, as in Siegfried & Roy, complete with a stuffed white tiger wrapped around his back. He tells me the getup took three months to put together, which is impressive considering I bought mine at Beacon’s Closet for $16 two days ago. Otherwise, the costumes are basic: princes and princesses, Princes and Bowies, Morticias and Gomezes, Daeneryses and dragons, slutty Mia Wallaces and even sluttier Playboy bunnies (“That’s the hottest video I’ve ever seen. I got you, bitch,” one bunny says to another after snapping a shot for her Instagram.). Curiously, there seems to be a trend in blue people this year, like the genie from Aladdin, the singing alien from The Fifth Element, and quite a few Avatars. I suppose you can’t get accused of cultural appropriation that way. Something else I’ve noticed this year? Not to be a killjoy, but there are far too many people wearing massive, public-safety-jeopardizing costumes in the club. At this party, the culprit is an older gay with a mirrored and very pointy headpiece who’s describing himself as a “three-headed deity.” “I’ve pierced a few faces, but I’ve helped more people with their makeup,” he tells me, not self-conscious of his size in the least. I struggle to pinpoint whether several people in the crowd are drag queens or just normies with good wig game.
10:10 p.m. | I meet a disheveled superhero carrying a bag of empty water bottles and Red Bull cans who tells me his costume is called “Captain Recycling.” He explains that he’s a journalist trying to get a documentary made about New York “canners.” Which is precisely why you should never invite the media to your parties.
10:21 p.m. | My Halloween date from last year, Kim Petras, arrives in a Krampus costume and spends a few minutes close-chatting with her stylist before heading right back out the door. Horns must also be in for Halloween this year, because Julia Fox swings through next as a monster from Where the Wild Things Are. “She’s a feminist artist … and she also dated Kanye,” I overhear one woman femsplaining to her boyfriend. Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness and Antoni Porowski are presented with bottle service, though JVN is so unrecognizable without their beard, dressed tonight as the Edina to that Patsy I admired, that I don’t recognize them. Which is probably a good thing, because I’d hate to have to ask the two of them about their new line of dog food. Talk about frightening.
10:36 p.m. | This being Heidi Klum’s party, there are plenty of overexcited Europeans, and one of them, a 16-year-old named Angelina Jordan, who apparently got famous off of Norway’s Got Talent, asks me to photograph her and her mom, who’s wearing leopard print and a feather boa. What’s Mommy’s costume, I ask? “I don’t know. A rich bitch?” Is she just reveling in Halloween make-believe, or does she have the money to back that up? “I think I do.”
10:53 p.m. | Speaking of Eurotrash … most of them are smoking Capris on the sidewalk outside, where a definitely not-Euro Dallas Cowboys cheerleader is trying to pay her way into the party (“It’s invite-only”). One German, dressed as Marilyn Monroe — they just love American culture; don’t get me started on the Statue of Liberty carrying around a sign that says “Women, Life, Freedom” — tells me she traveled all the way from Berlin for tonight (she’s a “friend of a friend of Heidi”), which she describes as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Her only gripe is not being able to drink and smoke at the same time. “They said I couldn’t bring my cocktail outside without a paper bag. So American.” Maybe to assure me that this Marilyn is not interested in my hypothetical Kennedy husband, she introduces me to her fiancée, another Cruella, and yells, “I’M A LESBIAN! YAY!”
10:58 p.m. | I run into a handsome Pinocchio (You know what they say about nose size? Sorry, I’ll stop.), who tells me, “I haven’t done any drugs today.” At that very moment, his prosthetic nose falls off.
11:26 p.m. | At the bar, I get to talking to the fashion designer Christian Cowan, in a Mean Girls costume — “I’m a mouse, duh” — who is here with someone dressed as Balenciaga designer Demna, complete with a bag of Lay’s potato chips. It’s one of the riskier costumes at this party, considering Demna’s also been in a relationship of sorts with Ye. “My friend is feeling his oats,” Christian tells me before promiscuously mouthing a tree branch emerging from a costume in front of us. Christian’s clearly “feeling his oats” too. Over the weekend, he tells me he accidentally took ten times the suggested dose of an edible and ended up “astroplaning.” “I met Jesus. I met Gaia.” Maybe he’s still high, or he got knocked in the head by that three-headed deity.
11:53 p.m. | For me, personally, one of the special joys of Halloween is choosing a costume and then figuring out a way to make it as sexy as possible. If I were Heidi Klum, with her model figure (and her money), who knows what I would be? (Probably still Jackie, but in real Chanel). So you can imagine the shock on everyone’s face when the queen of Halloween arrives dressed as a mountainous, grotesque, shawarma-ish worm and begins hopping around the room, seemingly barely able to move on the opposite end of a fishing pole held by her husband. A Mia Wallace whispers to me, “Interesting choice.” Another guest tries to rationalize the choice by pointing out that she was a butterfly in 2014 (of course, worms don’t turn into butterflies, and a worm’s mouth is also its anus). Drag Race’s Gigi Goode, dressed as Heidi, and the designer Jeremy Scott, dressed as Tim Gunn, have been sitting on a banquet all night, looking rather fed up and impatient, and at the sight of Heidi, they pop up, cut through the crowd, snap a photo with her in front of a Baileys logo, and disappear.
Midnight | And then the party gets wormier. I hear a rumor that Elon Musk (whose model-mother Maye is here also dressed as Cruella) has taken a break from personally embodying everything we hate about Twitter to hang out downstairs. But by the time I get there, he’s gone (maybe into one of his personal wormholes?). Supposedly, he only stayed for ten minutes, wearing what E! News reported was an outfit “from local costume shop Abracadabra NYC called the ‘Devil’s Champion — Leather Armor Set,’ which according to its website costs $1,000 to rent or $7,500 to buy.” Outside, a street photographer tells me, “I’ve met him once. Before, he was nice and approachable. He was just making, like, electric cars.” I feel like vomiting again.
12:36 a.m. | Something about Elon, Irish cream, and memories of learning how to hook a worm on a fishing hook as a kid gets me thinking that maybe New York really is over, or I am, so I sit down next to two happy-go-lucky models who share with me that Halloween is their favorite holiday. When I ask why, they say, “I like to go out” and “I like creativity.” The fact that the richest man in the world just joined their party doesn’t faze them. “Do you have social media?” they ask. There’s no service, but they figured out how to connect to the Wi-Fi.
12:51 a.m. | A woman named Lieba — a writer and lawyer whom “Page Six” once described as someone who “runs with the elite Hamptons and New York City social crowd” — starts griping to me about the party. Apparently, she’s a regular at Heidi’s Halloween, but this year, she’s not so pleased. “The space is nice, but the crowd is a zoo. AND A WORM? WHAT IS THAT?” As for Elon, she also doesn’t care. Like him, she’s prone to conspiracy theories: “I’m convinced Heidi’s a clone. I don’t actually think she’s in the worm.” I’m not convinced myself, but then again, Heidi did clone herself for this party a few years ago.
1:35 a.m. | The party starts to thin out, leaving behind a crowd that actually wants to dance to the music Questlove is playing in his astronaut suit. I start talking to a friendly blue-haired singer-songwriter from Iceland who tells me she received a personal invitation from Heidi herself after she wrote a song for Tokio Hotel, the name of the rock band Heidi’s husband, Tom, plays in. “It’s so American. Everyone’s beautiful and everyone’s an influencer,” she says, as if that’s a good thing.
1:47 a.m. | The Icelander tells me we should really be dancing in the VIP section with Heidi, who has returned to the party in a completely see-through bodysuit. A bodyguard hesitates to let us inside, but then his superior, for whatever reason, bodychecks him out of the way. I maintain my polite distance from Heidi, swaying next to her husband with a beer and a joint, but, and maybe this is the Baileys talking, think to myself that she seems down-to-earth, fun, and flirty — gorgeous in her signature bangs even though she’s still sporting that terrifying worm makeup. “They’re so in love,” observes my new friend as Heidi’s hubby grabs her ass. I keep dancing with them until nearly 3 a.m., when a Ziggy Stardust tells me, “Wow. You’re so in character. You’re even dancing like Jackie.”
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