Halloween with Elvira

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

If your Halloween sucked, that’s too bad ’cause I had the best time ever spending Halloween with Elvira, “Mistress of the Dark”.

I was invited by my friend Bruce Yelk (PR guy for the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation) to ride on one of the two trolleys that would accompany Elvira as she appeared at several historical sites in Philly on HALLOWEEN! The event was dubbed as the “Elvira Historic Haunted Trolley”. (I should mention they were police-escorted trolley rides and that made for its own brand of excitement).

We all met at XIX at the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue. Elvira was the featured guest for the Haunted Halloween Bash to be held at the Grand Ballroom later that night. When I arrived at XIX Elvira was already there and posing for pics with the vip’s and invited guests. She looked amazing and everyone there was dressed to impress in their Halloween fineness.

We boarded the trolleys for our first stop, the Edgar Allen Poe National Historical Site. Our trolleys were packed with drinks and bags of candy and everyone was in great spirits. My trolley mates included Edward Scissorhands, Dracula, Amy Winehouse, Jack the Ripper, Philly Phans, Firemen, Marilyn Monroe, and Snow Miser and Heat Miser. (I told you they were dressed to impress!)

We arrived at the Poe house where we joined a gathering of Halloween goers in the back yard. There was hot cider and wine and cookies and cupcakes and more costumers. Soon Edgar Allen Poe joined us for a reading of the bells, the bells, the bells, the bells, the bells, the bells…. And then the main event, Elvira joined Edgar for a reading of the Raven. How cool is that!

After the reading it was time to board the trolleys for our next stop. Elvira rode in my trolley for the next leg of the trip. She joked and laughed and posed for pics and she was just amazing. Did I mention she was amazing? I had the privilege of photographing her all night which was a real treat for me. I loved the facial expressions she would make for each pose. She was just so much fun to be around. Our next stop was the Philadelphia Art Museum.

When we arrived at the Art Museum we all posed for a group picture with Elvira and then we made our way into the museum to crash the museum’s “Art After Five” Halloween party. The party-goers had no idea Elvira would be making a surprise visit. Again there was food and drink and awesome costumes and 80’s goth music spinning. Elvira posed with party-goers who were just absolutely thrilled to see her. Of course no trip to the art museum would be complete without visiting the Rocky statue, so we made a quick stop there so Elivra could take some pics. Next stop was he Eastern State Penitentiary. Now this is where the trip really got interesting.

There were tons of people lined up to visit the Eastern State Penitentiary. The prison is known as America’s most historic prison and its popular “Terror Behind the Walls” haunted house attraction was a popular place to be on HALLOWEEN! As we left the trolley, we were escorted to the area just outside the cell of mobster Al Capone, for a private party and VIP champagne toast and reception. This was a chance for us all to mingle as a group and it was really the best part of the trip for me. I quickly forgot we were in a prison, except for the prison workers and inhabitants that managed to get more then one scream out of me. And I just looked around at the people, many who I have come to know as I’ve been lucky enough to take pictures of our community for almost two years. Their costumes were amazing. We were standing outside Al Capone’s cell. It was HALLOWEEN and the setting couldn’t have been any more perfect and oh yeah, there was Elvira! After a small break she posed for pics with guests in front of the prison bars. It was a perfect night and Beth and I were so happy to be a part of this. But alas, the night wasn’t over yet. Bruce surprised us with two tickets for the Haunted Halloween Bash at the Grand Ballroom at the Bellevue.

When we arrived back at the Bellevue, we again were escorted to the VIP area just above the Grand Ballroom. There was an open bar and desserts shaped like eyes and spiders. Shortly after, Elvira made her appearance and mingled with the guests.

I’d like to thank Bruce Yelk and Jeff Guaracino of the GPTMC for the invite and the very VIP treatment. The event was well organized and very fun. I would encourage everyone to visit their website: www.gophila.com where they can get more information on the Edgar Allen Poe house and the Eastern State Penitentiary as well as other wonderful sites Philly has to offer.

PLUS: Check out Photos from the event HERE.

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