We’ve all heard of Christmas in July. But Halloween on New Year’s Eve?

Apres had gone all out on space odyssey décor for its third annual Halloween costume party, which was scrapped in the days after the mass shootings in Lewiston.

“We were talking about what we could do to help, and we had all these decorations and thought New Year’s would be a great time to do something positive in the community,” said Mike Cardente, who co-owns the Bayside seltzer bar with Ryan Houghton. “This is our first New Year’s party, and the response has been so incredible that we’ll do it again.”

About 250 tickets were sold at $40 each ($60 for couples) with half going to Maine Community Foundation’s Lewiston-Auburn Area Response Fund. For many guests, that was a factor in their decision on where to spend New Year’s. “Anything we can do to help the people actually going through that,” said Kristen Thibodeau of Brunswick.

Apres regulars were impressed by the cozy hangout’s transformation into a dance club with DJs Jamsfrrever and Nik Luis, neon alien lights, spaceship balloons and planetary stars hanging from the rafters. Drink specials included the HAL 9000, a guava-and-lime slushie named after the “Space Odyssey” character; a frozen espresso martini called Rocket Fuel; and a fruity-and-sparkly mocktail called Cosmonaut. Even the Meet on the Street food truck outside got in on the space theme, with a menu featuring the likes of Firestorm Fries, Cosmic Green Curry Rice Bowls and Neptune Blackened Shrimp Tacos.

“I love tonight’s atmosphere, the music and the vibe,” said Mac Swanson of Portland.


In terms of fashion, guests interpreted the space theme in a variety of ways – many turning to metallic, neon and sparkles, glow stick accessories and antenna headbands. Nate Moody of Gorham wore a metallic astronaut suit and NASA ballcap. Sarah Desormiers of Falmouth and Lindsay Germaine of Portland combined the sparkling-and-metallic look with blue and turquoise wigs, respectively. And Adam and Jen Stein of Union made an impression with coordinating metallic face paint and glowing multi-colored crowns.

“We’re King and Queen of another planet, ready to show how to boogey and get down,” he said.

The party raised $4,000 for the Lewiston-Auburn response fund, adding to the more than $3.5 million from thousands of donations from Maine and around the world.

“Every dollar raised will go to victims, families, survivors and the broader recovery effort,” said Matt Grondin of Maine Community Foundation. “Donations will be directed by a locally based steering committee to those eligible for distributions. The deadline for donations to the fund is Feb. 20, and we anticipate that distributions to those impacted by the shooting will begin in the second half of March.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at amyparadysz@gmail.com.

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