Henri David

Henri David continues to celebrate Halloween’s Mischief Night


The Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown is the venue for this year’s annual Henri David Halloween: The Ball.

Last weekend, Philadelphia jewelry designer and bon vivant Henri David and I had a great time, dining at Tequilas on Locust Street and hanging with Randy Rainbow at the Miller Theatre. That’s not strange. I consider David an old friend. What is odd, however, is that David had two seconds to spare on an October weekend so very close to the other, even bigger reason that Philadelphia knows and holds him in esteem. His annual “Halloween: The Ball” events.

Without Philadelphia’s Black, Brown or White drag queens having a real ballroom scene in the Philadelphia of 1968, it was Henri David who summoned up the necessary courage, rented one of two ballrooms at the decadent, now-gone Philadelphia Hotel at Broad and Vine for 300 of his friends, and partied. And that was the start. “And yes, I lost my shirt for that party, and the next party and the next,” he laughs.

Henri David

But David was the one who got the last laugh. For 53 years up until 2022 (and yes, he found a way to celebrate the holiday during 2020’s pandemic by renting a horse-fronted carriage and giving out treats and hold-the-date cards for 2021), Henri David has made Halloween the dressiest affair beyond spoofy outfits. Instead, David has always encouraged all-out decadence, madness and sexiness – or no clothes at all, your call – when it comes to parading around the many hotel ballrooms he has booked for the affair, especially considering that each Henri David Halloween Ball comes with a costume contest at its close. And yes, the only person more dressed-up than his Balls’ attendees and habitues is David, who always has at least 4 grand scale, un-categorizable costumes on display at the Ball, none of which he will ever reveal beforehand. Not even to those who help him build out the designs.

“I only give the people helping me build my designs just a little piece of the puzzle,” says David, after having spent a day at Home Depot pulling long slabs of lumber for one of his costumes (yes, I’ve witnessed some outfits of his that have been 12 feet and over in height).

For Henri David’s Halloween 2022 party at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown, 201 North 17th Street, instead of holding his Ball on the Monday, this year, Halloween: The Ball will take place on Mischief Night, Sunday October 30 – a more deliciously manic, panic filled evening with Halloween becoming official once the clock strikes midnight and his annual costume contest commences for its 54th Anniversary.

Henri David

Tickets are $25 for those in costume and $75 for voyeurs, as always. And yes, while you are celebrating fantasy, horror, originality and complete decadence with costumes judged in categories such as Most Hysterical, Best Comic Book Character (a recent addition what with the advent of the MCU and DC everything), Most Horrifying, Most Sensual Fantasy, Most Original Couple, Best Celebrity Lookalike, Most Beautiful Female Impersonator, Most Believable Female Impersonator and Most Unbelievably Spectacular, in reality, you’re doing one thing and one thing only.

You’re celebrating Henri David, the one man responsible for making Philadelphia’s Halloween, and now Mischief Night, sparkle.

Henri David


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