With the myriad spooky soirees and cadaverous cocktail parties that pop up during the month of October, it's always a welcome change when one of our favorite local venues throws a bash that's just a little bit different from the rest.
For the past five Halloween seasons, The Crofoot hasn't put on your normal, run-of-the-mill masquerade, though they have been employing quite a few costumes. The Creepy Cheapy Halloween Treat has become as much a part of metro Detroit's holiday traditions as scaring small children and eating your weight in candy – and it's once again on the books, ready to bring you your favorite local band in the guise of some of the greatest groups of all time.
And while we're highly appreciative of this ingenuitive idea, we sometimes wonder why exactly the Crofoot chose a quirky rather than scary premise on which to throw their annual autumnal affair.
"This really comes into my philosophy on Halloween as a whole," says Phreddy Wischusen, the event's co-creator. "A lot of people want to celebrate the spooky and macabre aspects of the holiday, but what we're doing is celebrating the creativity that comes with Halloween.
"We spend all summer in the light and then during this time of year, it starts getting darker and we have to look for the light in ourselves. It's about finding our own creativity and being our own light. What we're doing is really celebrating that creativity."
Promising new aspects of that creativity as well as returning delights, this year's Treat will include more bands and mischievous mayhem than ever. With 15 locals bands including Bars of Gold headlining as Springsteen, Citizen Smile as Katy Perry, JSB Squad as Red Hot Chili Peppers plus many, many more, there will be more than enough live music to dance your costume off too, but it's looking like there will be some special surprises as well.
"We've been doing this for five years and it's really been a team effort. So we all bring something to the table," says Wischusen, effectively avoiding divulging any of those new wonderments.
Hoping to ensure as many people as possibly are able to partake in this, the most quirky and happily odd of all metro Detroit Halloween parties, Wischusen and his cohorts are trying something new in terms of ticket sales as well.
"This year we're trying to get people to buy enhanced tickets," says Wischusen, "which means they won't have to wait in line to get in. So, this way instead of making new friends while you're waiting outside in line, now you can just walk in with your old friends."
While the Crofoot can pack well over 1000 folks, Wischusen says last year about 200 people had to be turned away at the door. "We're really encouraging people to buy tickets ahead of time if they plan on coming late," he says.
But it's not just partygoers and fans of Creepy Cheapy that are outnumbering the capacity of the venue. Bands are clambering just as much to get in the door and on the bill as well.
"I'll get people calling me all year round. Some of the acts that are going to be performing this year didn't get to perform last year or the year before so a lot of these acts are two or three years in the making," he says.
Having a few years to perfect their best impressions of one of their all-time favorites means the acts that'll take the stage during Treat 5 are probably not only going to be fun in the silly sense, but also incredibly dynamic as well, which is an element that's often missing when seeing the real deal, according to Wischusen.
"What we all want is to see our favorite classic bands, like say, Led Zeppelin, but now you go see bands like that and they're just a bunch of old dudes sitting on stools and it's kind of boring," says Wischusen.
What you'll find at Creepy Cheapy will be anything but boring, however. And in fact, it may be more dynamic than seeing the real deal.
"It's like a time capsule, you know. And a lot of these bands, they're merging their experiences and memories with this music and their stories are merging. Hopefully people will see that spirit of imagination communion," he says.
Not sticking with a particular genre, there's also quite a breadth of taste to be sampled during this not-so-spooky show of subterfuge.
"We really have something for everybody. We've really tried to incorporate a lot of music that everybody knows," says Wischusen. "For instance, Bruce Springsteen will be closing out the evening, so everyone's bound to know at least a couple of those songs. But we also have a band performing as Modest Mouse, so for people that are really big fans of that band, it'll feel like there's something specifically there for them, but other people will enjoy their big hits like 'Float On' too."
While, sure, bands like Cold Men Young masquerading as Bad Boy Entertainments, Pink Lightning as Queen and Andrew Remdenok as Aphex Twins will be plenty entertaining, but there will be plenty more to beguile and enthrall attendees of this fifth annual event as well.
The Candy-Eating Contest of Doom is once again a spotlight feature at the Treat, and for those who've not yet witnessed this momentous event, it is certainly something to behold.
"It is amazing to watch all these people who've been drinking all night just devour all this candy. It's really kind of obscene," says Phreddy.
Obscene? Maybe. Ridiculous fun? Yeah. A metro Detroit must-attend tradition? Absolutely. | RDW
Creepy Cheapy Halloween V • 10/26, 7 p.m. • The Crofoot Ballroom • thecrofoot.com • 248.858.9333 • $5/$15