History of the New York City’s the Annual Witches Halloween Masquerade Ball By Charmed By Starr
In 1973, Laurie started up what was to become one of Salem’s main annual events, the ‘Witches Ball’ (a celebration of ‘Samhain’, more commonly known as ‘All Hollows Eve’ or ‘Halloween’). This was a real Witch hosting a real Pagan festival in front of eyes of the general public. It attracted major media attention and over time has drawn national and international crowds. In 1975 Herman Slater owner of the Magickal Childe held the first Samhain street fair in New York City. In 1982 Lady Rhea and Lady Miw (Carol Bulzone) held their first party at the backyard of their shop Enchantments. Sponsoring many Witches Balls, which I enjoyed immensely until they ended in 2004. My love for the Balls and the manner in which they were ran is the reason I initially started mine in 2005. None was to be found anywhere in Manhattan that year. I was very disappointed since I looked forward to going to the Witches Ball every year. All I wanted was a Witches Ball, so with that in mind I said to my friend, why don’t we put on a Witches Ball of our own. After all isn’t that what the others before us did? So the idea of our Witches Balls in NYC was born.
We were later joined by Zan of Choxevani the lovely lady belly dancer and choreographer. We were then approached by Joe and Jezibell that they would love to join us in doing this, with the permission to continue the Witches Balls which began 22 years earlier. With that in mind we combined our efforts and instead became the 23rd Annual Witches Masquerade Ball. For this I was very honored as we do homage to all those who came before us and paved they way. What I know of them is little but a lot at the same time. To Lady Miw whenever I walked into her shop as busy as she was she always took the time to help me in whatever way she could, so did her partner Paula who helped me more than she will ever know. To Lady Rhea her candle books are like my bible of candle books. It is where I learned by crafting of the doing spell candles, which then gave me the impetus to hold the Candle Classes I now teach.
In 2005 after a long search of many venues I found this amazing club to house the Witches Ball. They were welcoming and what a great space. So began the Witches Balls sponsored by Charmed By Starr at the Club Delancey Lounge 168 Delancey at Clinton St. in 2005 and 2006. With all of this in mind I would say 2005 was a successful year at The Witches Masquerade Ball, the compliments we got was that this was the way the original Witches Balls were. Which made us proud to have done it. In 2006 we went off on our own to continue what we began in 2005 to present.
As for the name 4th Annual NYC Witches Masquerade Ball, well it is our 4th year doing it, we live in NYC, we are Witches, we love Masquerading or dressing up, ask anyone, and heck it is a Ball, so there it is.
In 2007, being new at this we are allowed to do things by trial and error, after all, we are relatively new at doing this. Wanting the Witches Ball to be celebrated on the actual day became my mission. Only to find out why they always held it on the Sunday was the enormous cost the clubs charged for their major nights. We obviously could not afford it. So we thought why not try a different venue. The idea was formed on many things peoples’ complaint that they wish it wasn’t on the Sunday and the back to work the next day schedule of most of us. Leaving the Balls early or right after the midnight ritual, when they would rather stay and enjoy it all to the end. All the fun and entertainment were left for the brave few to enjoy. Many of your bosses do not want to hear that you were celebrating your Sabbat the night before till the wee hours of the morning.
At the 4h Annual Witches Halloween Masquerade Ball, continuing our own tradition. Again, mind you we do not or will not call ourselves the official Witches Ball, just a Witches Masquerade Ball. Something different, something new, but with all ‘props’ to the people who began all the other Witches Balls, because without them doing it and me enjoying what they did in the past, I would not be doing this today.
So on with it, we are back at the Club Delancey doing our 4th year and they were most happy to see us again, saying how much they missed us last year. We were able to work it out with them to do it on its’ actual eve, Friday October 31, 2008, YEAHHHHH to enjoy till the wee hours of the morning, without the pain of the next day. This year we are joined by Luna Rojas HP, and many members of the Wiccan Family Temple to make this an amazing year at The 4th Annual NYC Witches Masquerade Ball. I do not know about you, but that is certainly a good thing to me. We certainly cannot please everyone, but we do try. So that is our story in a nutshell of our humble beginnings. I cannot help who I am in trying to change, adapt and keep working toward the future with many endeavors nor do I wish to change that part of me. Do hope to see many of you at all the Witches Balls in New York City, find one (a witches ball that is), support it all and enjoy.
We took a hiatus after the 11th Annual Witches Halloween Masquerade Ball back in 2013.
Well we are now back for the 12th Annual Witches Halloween Masquerade Ball in 2017 and moving into the future hopefully with many more to come, until one day one of the younger ones in the future will pick up the mantel and forge ahead with their own. As for right now, we are here.
This year the lovely Lady Rhea has decided to join us in our efforts to continue this amazing tradition that we have formed, and an honor it truly is as far as I’m concerned, this has come full circle since both she and Lady Miw were the last ones to run a Witches Ball in 2004.
I’m all smiles right now, life has come full circle. Blessed Samhain Everyone Dedicated to the memory of Artie Haber To honor all who came before us living or passed on. For all of you in the many traditions, paving the way for many of us and speaking in the name of the craft, yesterday, today and in the future. So that we may have the freedom of choice to practice our craft today. Starr RavenHawk HPs www.charmedbystarr.com http://www.wiccanfamilytemple.org/ http://www.wftacademyofpaganstudies.org/