Photo by Randall Scheiber

Eye on the ‘Ball

Last year, in the midst of my first Highball Halloween, I couldn’t help but think that, as a teenager in a small Missouri town, I wouldn’t have been prepared for the bacchanalia before me.

Dressed as a teacher (a decidedly innocent get-up, yes) I spent the night shivering in five-inch heels, ripped panty hose, and an unbuttoned button-up, surrounded by men dressed as Hooters girls, looking up at a stage cluttered with roaming circus creatures singing back up for a busty drag queen.

I wasn’t in Missouri anymore.

My glam-deprived upbringing left me in a state of tipsy shock last year but I’ve pledged to soak up the full Highball experience this year. Here’s how it’ll go down (feel free to join me):

Get in the Spirit Early Perhaps to help assist a small-town girl like me, Highball is now offering month-long logistical support with its Highball Headquarters. Open the whole month of October, HBHQ will host movie trivia, an Out of the Closet seminar on splicing together a thrifty costume, as well as a lesson from local designers on hair and makeup. These tips will come in handy for another new feature, as guests surely want to tease up their hair for the debut of Highball on the Rocks: THE BIG ’80, with several bands paying tribute to ’80s tunes, followed by a concert from Taylor Dane.

Enter a Costume Contest This year, the teacher gets retired, so I plan to find something worthy of strutting the runway along with the city’s most creative. The 2014 event has multiple categories for HighBallers:  Fierce and Fabulous is for costumes that fully embrace the spirit of all things Highball. So the getup should show off the inner fashionista while embracing Highball’s transformative essence. Front Page Fashion is for the culturally inclined, with costumes that portray aspects and characters of society, like a zombie Sarah Palin. Drop Dead Gorgeous is where the gore comes out – no guts, no glory, and Group Action is for you and your bros to imitate Sex in the City the way you always wanted…

Hit the Streets Highball is known for its tastefully over-the-top, main stage events. These are great, but Highball’s excitement expands beyond center stage and spills onto the street. Right off the bat, Highball’s Saturday night entrance will double as a runway. Guests will show off their killer costumes and pose for Highball’s photography crew. Within the festival, Out of the Closet will be selling festive getups, while oversized puppets, escorted by stilt walkers, meander the Short North. Saturday will also host programming, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, dedicated to an incredible Latino tradition—the Day of the Dead celebration. It will highlight Catrina Face Painting and Sugar Skull Painting where guests will be a part of creating an altar, a key element in the Dia de los Muertos tradition. They will even be able to leave a gift for a lost soul.

Highball takes place on October 24-25. For more, visit