Who was that masked woman that so coyly greeted me on the steps of the Corinthian? Frankly, I had no idea who she was nor most of the 750 other costumed strangers packing the party venue for the United Cerebral Palsy Halloween Bash.
"I'm Linda Rogers, your neighbor," she said finally revealing her identity. The blonde that I know pretty well had gone dark brunette and her sassy Halloween outfit was not exactly what I normally see her wearing around our high-rise. Fooled me.
That was just the way things went this Halloween weekend. Practically everyone attending a party stepped out as someone whom he or she is not. Some he's dressed glamorously as she's. Historic figures lived again. The living dead stalked vampires.
And a good number of cute young things went, as CultureMap intern Jennifer Patterson calls it, the "Whore-a-ween" route. French maids and mountain maids were everywhere! Was there a pair of thigh-high stockings or fake braids left for rent in the city?
We visited three charities that took advantage of the holiday weekend to host costume bashes that encouraged guests to release their inner demons or whatever it was that needed releasing.
UCP's "The Bash" had to be the big winner with every single paying guest showing up in elaborate disguise. Creatures from Avatar danced to the sounds of Sky Rocket along with a gaggle of Chilean miners (a particularly popular costumes this year) and a host of Cleopatras, Napoleons and ghouls.
Imagine the mind-bending tableau of Jackson & Co. waiters in white jackets passing dainty hors d'oeuvres through the crowd that looked like a gathering from a Hollywood monster movie set.
A personal favorite was artist Kasi Kubiak, who created a Carnival-style, dazzling Kermit the Frog tribute that required more battery power than a Prius. (Look for her costume design shop to open soon.) Her date, James Bell, channeled something eerily mythical with his ram horn headdress, necklace made from bat teeth and vest adorned with rows and rows of buffalo teeth. Best costume honors, thanks to a panel of judges, went to Dina and Teddy Lavergne, who dressed as fearsome characters from the movie Predator.
Congrats to chairs Newie and Dr. Mark Brinker for a stunning party. Billed by organizers as the costume party of the year — "The Bash" has my vote.
Ronald McDonald Boo Ball
Costumed and black-tie attired guests arriving at the ballroom of the Hilton Americas-Houston for the Ronald McDonald House "Boo Ball" entered through a haunted house where they were offered mind-boggling apple and cherry martinis garnished with gummy worms. Eek!
But the Halloween revelry clearly took a backseat to the fundraising mission. The evening brought in $1.2 million gross for the charity. The more than 40 individuals who lent their names as co-chairs were definitely all smiles over this one. Diane Stout, one of those co-chairs, was raffle winner of the Lexus IS 250C, compliments of the Houston Area Lexus Dealers.
Equally gleeful at the event's success were honorees Marilyn and Louis Mogas, especially pleased that the Ronald McDonald House quilt brought in $95,000 in the auction.
Joining the throng were Trini Mendenhall Sosa and Frank Sosa, Emily and Holcombe Crosswell, Lesha and Tom Elsenbrook, Susie and Tommy Smith, Jana and Scotty Arnoldy and Kelley and Steve Lubanko.
Masquerading for MOCAH
"Cirque de Mocha Masquerade Ball" was the theme of the Museum of Cultural Arts Houston (MOCAH) fete that launched in Americas on Post Oak Boulevard and spread throughout the Post Oak Pavilion where guests were greeted by Cirque du Soleil-style characters including a dancer suspended from the ceiling by scarves. More than 300 turned out for the showcase of art, fashion and music.
Highlight of the night was a fashion show featuring Toni Whitaker's 2010 Fall/Winter collection and on-the-site painting by John Ross Palmer, MOCAH's Artist of the Year. The entertainment continued with dance tunes by DJ Sun and, late into the night, the sounds of the eight-piece band Soular Grooves, which formed just for this evening.
Contributing to the success were gala chairs Lucia and Michael Cordúa and their son David Cordúa, who surprised his parents with a romantic portrait that he had painted of them. MOCAH founders Reginald Adams and Rhonda Radford Adams shared their story of the founding of the organization that uses art to inspire social awareness and community building among underserved youth.
In a festive mood were partygoers Lori Betz, Bryce Kennard, Macy Bodenhamer, Yvonne Cormier, Cheryl Creuzot, Kevin Newton, Barbara Seymour and Anita Smith. A host of young trendsetters walked the catwalk including Divya Brown, Annie Criner, Isabel David, Alexandra Palacios, Heidi Smith and Christine Transier.