Living: Halloween as an Adult Treat

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¶ In Boston, the Metro, a dance club featuring recorded rock and new wave music and six video screens, anticipates five sellout nights of Halloweeniana. Nearby Salem, "Witch City," has planned some 40 events for 50,000 weekend visitors. Among them: a Bites and Kisses party at which Dracula will pass out kisses (actually Hershey's) to donors at a bloodmobile.

Apart from kooks and college kids, who attends these revels? Says Artist Robert Fischer, 34, a father of two who stages Chicago's most lavish celebration at the Germania Club (2,500 guests at $20): "The mothers and fathers of my friends come.

I get society people, corporation presidents, movie, TV and music people, secretaries, punks, drag queens, designers —hair, clothing and interiors— artists and more. They come from Chicago, Zion, Dubuque, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York City and Miami." For many celebrators, Halloween is an opportunity to shed their workaday personas, for the sophisticated to become Snow White, the introverted to play siren. Subconsciously, many may also feel, like their pagan ancestors, the need to celebrate life on this Night of the Wandering Souls, as the ancient Celts called it. Says Smithsonian Institution Folklorist Jack Santino: "Dressing up and switching personal identity is part of a need for communitas, an exultant, spontaneous celebration of role reversal in society."

They also have a thumping good time.

— By Michael Demarest.

Reported by Mary Shaughnessy/New York, with other bureaus

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