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Annual Halloween Ball is Back

That bewitching evening of non-stop theatre, jugglers, fire eaters, cabaret, vaudeville, burlesque, and much more is back for its 30th year this Halloween in the East Village.

Theatre for the New Citysponsors the annual Halloween ball, in which all afternoon and evening outdoor activity is free and open to the public and the indoor performances continue late into the night.

On the schedule this year, per usual, are stilt dancers, psychic readings, astrology and numerology booths, belly dancers, jazz and bluegrass bands, and an 18-piece orchestra.

More than 1,400 wildly-clad celebrants usually attend the one-night-only event, which takes over all four of the theatre's spaces, plus its lobby and an entire city block in the East Village.

One of the highlights of years past has been the outdoor Witches' Cauldron buffet, which includes delicacies from America and around the world. Don't miss the couscous on a coffin lid.

Since the extravagant event began in 1977, the Halloween ball has become a launching pad for such artists as Paul Zaloom, Penny Arcade, and Basil Twist.

The event will be held at 155 First Ave. and on the surrounding block of East 10th Street between First and Second avenues. Costume or formal wear is required.

The outdoor activities, free to all as a gift from the theatre to the neighborhood, start at 4 p.m. with music, stilt walking, puppets, jugglers, and fire breathers. The al fresco schedule is highlighted by a medieval show, called "The Red and Black Masque," that is performed by torchlight.

The buffet starts at 7:30 p.m., and the first indoor performance begins at 8 p.m. There will be two continuously-running cabarets. Tickets cost $20; to purchase, call (212) 254-1109. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

The annual costume judging begins at 11:30 p.m., in which all revelers are invited to march past a panel of celebrity judges. Winners in twelve individual categories will receive one-year passes to the theatre and a bottle of Moet and Chandon champagne.

-- Anna Bengel

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