Hip tips for budget-conscious guys, gals, ghouls
Photos by Scott Stiffler
BY REVEREND JEN MILLER, FACEBOY & SCOTT STIFFLER | Be it sugary candy or gift-wrapped trea- sures, both holidays compel us to give — but unlike its vastly inferior counterpart Christmas, Halloween affords us the opportunity to exact sweet revenge (“trick”) upon those who dare to forego October 31’s traditional gesture (“treat”).
Photos by Scott Stiffler
At Economy Candy, which Rev. Jen likens to a trip back in time (when she was bliss- fully unaware of diabetes).
In the spirit of giving — and protecting our sixth floor tenement walk-up from egging — we recently met on an appropriately raw and overcast morning to scour some of the Lower East Side’s most iconic establishments for party favors and candy to appease the rowdy locals who will come calling on All Hallows’ Eve. But could we do it all for a modest sawbuck?
Oh, snap! Our toilet paper and Party Snaps prepped us for Oct. 31 tricks.
MEET YOUR THRIFTY, SPOOKTACULAR HOSTS
SAINT REVEREND JEN MILLER Originally from Middle Earth, Maryland, Rev. Jen is an “elf that lives in a Troll Museum above a shoe store, with a Chihuahua named Reverend Jen Junior.” She is “an Art Star, Troll Museum curator, writer, painter, Voice of the Downtrodden & Tired and Patron Saint of the Uncool.” Rev. Jen is the host of the former open mic, Rev. Jen’s Anti-Slam (currently sans a venue), author of the books “Elf Girl” and “Live Nude Elf” (available everywhere) and co-founder of ASS Studios — the most under- funded motion picture studio picture in history. Grab a copy of their latest DVD, “ASS Studios Presents 4 Short Films” (featuring Faceboy as ASS’s “Fairy Grant”), at Kim’s Video and Music (124 First Ave.) or at a merchandiser near you. For more info, visit revjen.com.
FACEBOY Born and raised in Greenwich Village, Faceboy began a long friendship and col- laboration with Rev. Jen when the two met in the mid-1990s — as he began what would become a 13-year run of “Faceboyz Open Mike” (which happened mostly at Surf Reality). Based on Rev. Jen’s dubbing her Anti-Slam performers as “Art Stars,” Faceboy declared Downtown’s emerging comedy per- formance circuit as the “Art Star Scene” (A.S.S.). Faceboy is currently producer and host of “Faceboyz Folliez.” The next show will be either Nov. 10 or 17. For updates, pics and more, visit facebook.com/FaceboyzFolliez.
YOUR $10 L.E.S. HALLOWEEN
ECONOMY CANDY (108 Rivington St.) “There were many wonderful items out of our price range,” recalls Faceboy. “They even had a great selection of ’70s-era records, on vinyl.” Wandering amidst the narrow aisles of sugary treats, Rev. Jen observed: “It’s like time traveling to a period when I didn’t know about diabetes” — then advised us to splurge. “If you don’t give kids recognizable candy,” she reasoned, “they will think you are a cheap shit.” Mindful of the risk of egging should we greet our trick-or-treaters with Necco Wafers instead of Kit Kats (but equally aware of our budget), we settled on the following:
· Candy House Buttons ($1.79) · Lucky Lights Candy Cigarettes; .75)
TOTAL COST: $2.77
Exiting the store with our classic candies, Faceboy said, “The Buttons [aka those sugar dots gently affixed to a strip of paper] are great, because they can be cut into individual pieces, yielding a plentiful bounty.”
ESSEX STREET MARKET (120 Essex St.) Be it party centerpiece or doorstep mascot, every Halloween celebrant needs a pumpkin. At this market, notes Faceboy, “We didn’t see pumpkins (though they might be there), but I spotted some fetching oranges. At three for a dollar, we could easily get a 33-cent orange and pretend it’s a pumpkin. Scott noted that the Vitamin C would help ward of rickets — a ‘tragic consequence of the Lower East Side art- ist’s notoriously poor diet,’ he asserted. I was visibly peeved when they charged us 50 cents. Rev. insisted I let it go: “Faceboy, you know that orange didn’t belong there. Our orange is clearly different from the others in that basket.”
We stopped by a local deli, to gently cradle a pumpkin and share a moment of sad- ness at our inability to afford one this year.
So we bit the bullet and produced two quarters for our “poor man’s pumpkin.”
· One Small Orange (.50)
TOTAL COST: .50
JADE FOUNTAIN LIQUOR CORP. (123 Delancey St.) Faceboy suggested vodka, “because it goes with everything” — to which Rev. noted, “Vodka is the new black.” We settled on rum, because of its seasonal multitasking properties. “Rum,” Faceboy noted, is a vital part of “Egg Nogg, Hot Buttered Rum, Hot Apple Cider, Hot Felched Rum and Hot Rum Toddies just to name a few. We purchased a nice little bottle for $3.50. They also had small cups for 10 cents and smaller (urine sample-sized) for 5 cents. We purchased two of the smaller ones. This stop filled our depressive asses with temporary joy!”
TOTAL COST: $3.60
B & B VARIETY STORE (110 Ludlow St.) With just over three dollars left, we head- ed to the always reliable B&B — and it did not disappoint. Faceboy chose a foreboding plastic mask of indeterminate identity (just plain scary), and Rev. Jen went for a pirate mask — whose eye patch was admirably authentic, yet dangerous (no hole for the wearer’s eye). A roll of toilet paper would, we rationalized, later do triple duty as party decorations, mischievous “TP-ing” material and, of course, a helpful agent of personal hygiene. Faceboy advocated for a box of Party Snaps (those white twisty things that explode when tossed to the ground), noting they could be used “to frighten those deserv- ing of a quick and harmless noise scare. We wanted to test our Snaps, but waited for an elderly person to pass out of range so as not to frighten her. Elders are the one population of potentially vulnerable adults that we’re all guaranteed to be join, unless we die!”
· Party Snaps (.50)
· Mabel Clean & Soft 2-Ply Toilet Paper
(.50) · Scary mask (.99) · Pirate mask (.99)
NOTE: A failure to take taxes into account caused us to go 11 cents over budget. “Rev. covered it,” says Faceboy, “and will be calcu- lating how many sheets of toilet paper she can keep for her contribution.”
TOTAL COST: $3.24
THE TROLL MUSEUM (aka Rev. Jen’s apartment) Faceboy recalls: “After hauling our tired, broken frames up the six flights of stairs, we were quickly cheered up when we saw just how far our $10 budget went. We had costumes, candy dots, decorations and candy cigarettes (they weren’t very good; we were hoping for the ones that allow you to blow out powdered sugar for that real kid smokin’ a cig effect. But alas, ours were not said variety). So we went about decorating, cutting dots and turning our lovely (overpriced) orange into our Halloween pumpkin. Oh, and drinking Rum!”
REV. JEN’S TIPS FOR TRICK OR TREATING:
· Halloween really is the most existential of all holidays as it begs the question, “Who am I? Am I just a ghost or am I a Queen?” If you are extremely existential, do as Faceboy did as a child. Wear a sign that says “I didn’t know what I wanted to be.”
· Don’t have money for a costume? Do you happen to have any of the plastic 1970s-style ones leftover from childhood? If you are a malnourished art star, you can probably still squeeze into them! If they don’t fit, just safety pin it to your normal clothes!
· If you have long brown hair and wear elf ears daily as I do, just get an Arwen gown and be the regal Lord of the Rings babe. If you have a Chihuahua, it’s very easy to dress them as another elf such as Legolas, given their pointed ears.
REV. JEN’S PARTY IDEAS:
· Download the sound of graveyard winds. Play it at high volume all night long to annoy your neighbors. Even if no one comes to your party, this is fun, fun, fun!
· Ask a creepy child to jump rope in front of your building while singing an even creepier song. Speaking of children, no child really wants candy. Give them pennies so they can save for college.
· A no-frills/no-fuss snack idea: Count Chocula!