Photos: Over-the-top Halloween celebrations at Sidetrack

Fri. November 10, 2023 8:21 AM by Ross Forman

photo credit // sidetrack
Halloween was, once again, an over-the-top, multi-day costume-craze event in Chicago’s LGBTQ+ community. At Sidetrack, for instance, there were an abundance of skeletons, monsters, bats and, of course, photo-ops.

“Halloween season at Sidetrack was great,” said Sidetrack general manager Brad Balof.

“The Dog Day Halloweenie Costume Contest on October 21 was a hit like always, with so many adorable puppies in costumes. Boo-sical Monday was also a great hit with live performances by Coco Sho-Nell and America Powers. Our Hallow-glow party was wonderful, too.

Photos: Men's Room Chicago HallowGlow at Sidetrack

“The highlights are always the Saturday night before Halloween and Halloween night proper. The creativity that comes out of the costumes on these two nights is nothing short of movie-studio quality.”

Ironically, there was not one Britney Spears, Balof said. But there were a lot of perennial favorites such as Jack Skellingtong and Sally, and Mario Bros.

“There are a few ways to win a costume contest on Halloween, (including) a fabulous, grand, over-the-top construction. This is the style that won the crowd over on Saturday night: a full hooped skirt, headdress to the sky Dias De Los Muertos ‘goddess.’ The other way to win is being very topical and clever, which included someone dressed as Beyonce’s Horse from the Renaissance Tour, a fully mirrored silver creation.”

Photos: Saturday Night Costume Contest at Sidetrack

Balof said one of his favorites was the pair who came as two characters from the movie Troop Beverly Hills, with “so many specific details in the costume exactly right,” he noted.

Balof added, “As always, it’s great to see people out having fun, living their best lives.”

Photos: Sidetrack Halloween Costume Contest after the Parade

Balof also serves as the chair of the Halloween Committee for the Northalsted Business Alliance.

Sidetrack aired the annual Lakeview Halloween Parade on its TVs.

“While the Haunted Halsted Halloween Parade is the highlight of the Halloween season on North Halsted, there are a lot of events that the North Halsted Business Alliance Halloween Committee produces leading up the big night,” Balof said. “These events include a Halloween Drag Competition—this year Splash hosted the contest and Veronica Pop served as hostess as seven contestants vied for cash prizes to become the winner of ‘Final Cut.’”

Thalia Watt walked away with the prize and was featured during the Haunted Halsted Parade.

The grand marshal for the Halloween Parade was 44th Ward Alderperson Bennet Lawson.

The hosts of the contest were Batty Davis and Matthew Rodrigues from NBC 5's Chicago Today

Photos: Northalsted Haunted Halsted Halloween Parade

The NBA provided rebates to member businesses that decorated the front of their businesses. “NBA continues to work to make Haunted Halsted the city-wide destination for all things Halloween,” Balof said.

The costume contest had $4,000 in prizes over five categories: youth, group, scary, character/cosplay/creative.

“Despite the snow and cold, the entire parade route was full of people, and the lot holding the awards ceremony remained full throughout the entire awards ceremony,” Balof said.

“I always love working (the Halloween season) with my husband and my brother for the parade and awards ceremony,” said Balof, who was one of three Coneheads for the festivities.