The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Superheroes battle to save Halloween: Columbus’s Princess Theater hosts comic book-themed Halloween party Saturday

Kaitlin Mullins
The Princess Theater

Ghouls, heroes and villains, the alive and the undead will dance the night away in Columbus, Miss., at this year’s Princess Theater Halloween extravaganza. This year’s eclectic party is comic book themed, and Mississippi artists, whose hometowns include Starkville, Columbus and Hattiesburg, create the sets, artwork and design for the event.

This year’s party not only contains impressive artwork to enhance its superhero theme, but its creators also include a storyline to accompany the event. Because this year’s party falls on the weekend of a full moon, the villain of the party is a beast called Full Moon Fang, a two-headed werewolf. Those at the party must help Captain Halloween, the event’s hero, defeat Full Moon Fang and save Halloween. 

However, the heroes will not have much of an advantage against Full Moon Fang. Fang’s fellow villains, mutants and masterminds received invitations to the fantastical comic book showdown as well. This year’s party is a tribute to comic book heroes and villains alike. 

Princess Theater Halloween events are the brainchild of Team Halloweenz, which is composed of artists Philip Vanderleest, Jonathan Nixon, Trevor Pruitt, Blaine Garrard, Josh Parrot, Anthony Ray, Shelby White, TJ Ladner and Will Howard.  

Howard said the Halloween party draws from the public’s infatuation with paint parties, like the popular Color Run race, at which attendees are splattered with paint throughout the duration of the event. 

“This is our paint party. We kind of put a twist on it,” he said. “We don’t throw paint on it; we make art.” 

Team Halloweenz planned and left no stone unturned for the past six weeks. Howard said the artists involved in the event spent five to eight hours each weekend priming, sketching, painting and detailing the animated, exuberant, Roy Lichtenstein-esque sets. 

“The art will be right out of the pages of a comic book,” he said. 

There will even be a search light over Columbus to guide these heroes and nasty villains to the Princess Theater, which is reminiscent of Batman’s call sign in Gotham City.  

The party features electronic music and a stunning laser light show alongside the handcrafted artwork. 

Kara Chapman, senior history and Spanish major, attended the party last year and said the constant music from DJs is her favorite part of the event because it gives the party an uninhibited, club-like atmosphere. 

“It’s just a chance to go somewhere and dance,” she said. “You don’t really get a lot of chances like that in Starkville.”  

The Halloween party is not the only art party at the Princess Theater this 2013—14 season.

Howard said because of the great success of the Halloween party over the past six years, the same group of artists have come together to present a spring party as well for the past two years. 

Last year’s spring party, March Radness, was basketball themed. Howard said while the Halloween party is more haunting, the spring parties have more lighthearted themes.

“The Halloween show is dark and gritty. The spring show is kind of sexy and fun,” he said. “It’s colorful and feverish.”

The combination of extensive themes, huge, homemade sets and pulsating dance music draws attendees from all over Mississippi to the Princess each Halloween. The artists themselves are from around the state — the members of Team Halloweenz are either students or graduates of Mississippi State University, University of Southern Mississippi or Mississippi University for Women. 

Faith Spann, junior communication major, said the diverse crowd is the party’s biggest draw for her. 

“My favorite part is how many people it brings in from areas surrounding Columbus,” she said. “All of my friends from out of town come in for such a big event every year, different friends that you might not see often.”

This year’s Halloween extravaganza is not an average costume party. Whether dancing for Full Moon Fang or Captain Halloween, Halloween at the Princess promises attendees will experience an explosion of light, music and art centered around one holiday where everyone has the opportunity to dress up and become someone else.  

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Superheroes battle to save Halloween: Columbus’s Princess Theater hosts comic book-themed Halloween party Saturday