By Jenny Berg Posted October 31, 2011, 1:41 PM EDT
CHICAGO A man suited up as a gingerbread cookie and a posse of blondes dressed as female Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were among the 550 guests at Galaween on Saturday night. The event, which targets young professionals, raises funds for the Cultural Center Foundation. Reps from the institution turned planning duties over to the three co-chairpersons: Lally Daley, Dan Gibbons, and Sean Cannon, owner of Event Creative.
The benefit had taken place at the Cultural Center for the past couple of years, but moved this year to Venue One, which Event Creative manages. Having the owner of a design firm as one of the fund-raiser's event planners meant that decking out the event for Halloween was one of the easiest parts of the planning process. “We had no logistical challenges,” said Cannon. “No lie.”
Days before the cocktail bash, the firm's designers took to giving the raw space an appropriately gruesome look. Outside, a temporary graveyard held prop tomb stones, cobwebs, and illuminated pumpkins. Video mapping cast spiders and spider webs on the walls above the staircase, which led to an enchanted-forest-inspired foyer filled with hanging mosses, vines, green lanterns, and fake black crows.
Bartenders poured drinks at a bar decked with witch cauldrons and plastic skulls on spikes, and DJ Diverse spun from a booth that was designed to look like a torture chamber, with hanging chains and rotating fixtures that looked like circular saw blades. More chains hung over the fog-filled dance floor.
At around midnight, guests voted on the winner of a costume contest. A man in a bald eagle costume—inspired by a notoriously hokey insurance commercial—took home the $1,000 prize.