September 1, 2014
Halloween is celebrated in grand style at Redmoon with “Skelebration,” a family-friendly event that is the first show in the company’s inaugural indoor season in its massive new home in east Pilsen.
“‘Skelebration’ is a big, weird museum inspired by the future and the past,” artistic director Frank Maugeri says. “And it’s all intended to be a hands-on experience for everyone.”
Maugeri talks with the wide-eyed enthusiasm of a child as he gives a tour of the 57,000-square foot facility and explains the various ways Redmoon plans to entertain children of all ages. “If you’re are bored with this, you’re from another planet,” Maugeri says laughing
“Skelebration” is a wacky children’s wonderland that only Redmoon could first, imagine, and second — bring to reality. It all began when Maugeri, the father of 7-year-old twins, began to wonder how Redmoon’s annual Halloween adult event, “Boneshaker” (more about this later), could be reimagined for kids. Immediately, he knew it “wouldn’t be hayrides or pumpkin carving.”
Instead, children can take part in skull races (remote controlled skulls on a racetrack) or try their hand at a slingshot device that lobs objects at a man outfitted in armor. At one of several creation stations, young artists can make mermaid or shark shadow puppets and perform behind three large screens is the “underwater” shadow sea where a Javanese-style puppet — a 12-foot-long sea monster — resides.
Puppet shows, a roller-skating rink, a motorcycle carousel, a swing park, mask-making stations, bicycles, music (bands and DJs) and much more fill out the event.
“There’s a little bit of danger and risk and a lot of adventure but realized in a safe and confident way,” Maugeri says. “It’s something kids (and adults) won’t forget.”
HALLOWEEN FOR ADULTS: At 9 p.m. on Nov. 1, Redmoon kicks off the indoor spectacle season with “Boneshaker,” a 21-and-over event. “We add fire and booze to this one,” Maugeri says, with a laugh. Many of the same kids’ events will be there plus the punk rock marching band Mucca Pazza, beat-box artist Jam One and outdoor performances by the Fire Organ, a dual forklift with 12 organ pipes, which shoot bursts of fire synchronized with music. Tickets are $75 and include food and drinks. Free shuttle service begins at 10 p.m. running between Redmoon and 77 W. Wacker.
Mary Houlihan is a local freelance writer.