Halloween in Madison: Freakfest 2011 Photos

It was a bit nippy this year, but another Freakfest has come and gone without a lot of pepper spray and mounted police. The crowd seemed a bit smaller than usual. Naysayers will say it is because of the ticket charges for what was years ago a free event. (It still is free if you get into State Street before 7 p.m. by the way.) But surely a big factor this year was the cold. Maybe even the Badger game. Who knows for sure? The camera battery kept dying from the cold, but here are a few photos from the evening, a few of the better costumes, etc.

This was Peung’s first Freakfest and of course the cold temperatures are not something she has ever experienced in Thailand. But enthusiasm trumped reservations and she drew a number of photo requests for her spooky look from The Ring.

(She showed up at work for a moment to check the schedule and her workmates thought she was a customer. Funny.)

Quite the impressive costume and all the little kids (and a few bigger ones) wanted to pet the doggie. Walking upright or using short stilts in the forearms to walk on all fours, this was great to see heading down State Street, and a magnet for photo ops.

I may have seen this guy before at Freakfest. Nevertheless, pretty amusing, plus a portable windbreak.

Cross dressing guys on roller blades. Not just fun to watch them roll, but also to see the crowd react in various stages of amusement and discomfort.

OK, maybe this isn’t one of the best costumes and it was likely bought off the shelf, but something about the Gingerbread Man from Shrek immediately shifts me into falsetto “Do you know… the Muffin Man???”

There were several costumes that incorporated stilt-walking and this one of a guy dressed as a tree, um, stood out.

Local street musician and zany legend of such classics as “Purple Bananas on the Moon” and “I Wanna Be Madonna” went with a chicken theme at this year’s Freakfest and had composed a few chicken songs.

My excuse is that I waited until too late and everyone else poopooed my Harry Potter as a drunk old has-been idea. Well, nuts if those glasses don’t also work for Waldo. I went as Waldo anyway, predicting there would be 7 of us there. In fact, I counted exactly 6 plus myself. Email me for lottery numbers. The annoying part about being Waldo, predictably, is that everyone, I mean EVERYONE, will “find” you. “Hey, I found you! Look! There’s Waldo!” The first couple people to grab my arm caused me to turn in anticipation. Wait, I don’t know you. Oh. Right. Even driving out of the parking garage at the end of the night I heard someone shout down the street. “Waldoooooo!” I have only myself to blame. Also pictured here is my cousin Renee who had a pretty darn neat bug costume complete with blinking firefly light in back and both a fly buzzer in the nose and crickety clickers in the hands.

And of course the obligatory penis costume. Only one this year. “Daddy, we learned about the hydra in school last week. Look, that guy has a hydra costume!” Er, yes.

Kicking it Old School. Live long and prosper.

Along with the two live music stages there was also a DJ making lower State Street thump and getting the crowd hopping. Kept us warm a bit too.

A bunch of grapes? Or one of the Fruit of the Loom guys?? Am I dating myself here? (Judging from their website, the Fruit of the Loom guys are keeping up with the times. Maybe too much. WTF.)

Fair Trade Coffeehouse offered perfect warm seats to costume watch and be watched under glass.

I always admire the homemade stuff. Here is the Hubble Telescope (NOT the space station – my bad!). 100% recyclable as well.

Locksley, a Madison band gone big-time in New York came back to headline Freakfest 2011.

This might have been my favorite. Yep… Yep.. Yep, yep, yep, yepyepyepyepyepyepyep!

And of course what is State Street’s Freakfest without a preponderance of college coeds in slutty nurse costumes (or similar). How all these women do this for hours in such cold weather is beyond me. I will say there were fewer this year, but the tradition of northern exposure here in Wisconsin still stands.

More Madison:
My Five Favorite Hikes Around Madison
What Else to Do in Madison During Badger Game Weekends

For a rather different sort of Halloween, check out my Day of the Dead trip photos.

Kevin Revolinski

Author, travel writer/photographer, world traveler. Writes about travel, hiking, camping, paddling, and craft beer.

12 thoughts on “Halloween in Madison: Freakfest 2011 Photos

  • Emily Weichbrod

    Hey! that’s me in the “doggie” costume and I would love to have a copy of that photo (or others if you have them) just for my own info. This was the first “outing” of the costume 🙂

    • That was very cool. Photo is on the way… 🙂

  • This looks like a lot of fun. Love it. I’ve missed Halloween parties. I seriously need to find a party like this -or maybe even go to this one next year. haha BTW Peung’s costume looks FABULOUS!!

    • We greased up her hair to look like she came out of the well. Clown white, bits of mascara, and rye flour for rotting flesh. She looked in the mirror and went into a giggly shiver of fear, “So scary!” Most Thais are so freaked out by ghosts I typically am chastised for joking about bumps in the night. This was fun. 🙂

  • Monique

    Great bunch of photos, and Peung’s costume was very convincing. I didn’t make State Street this year as had a private party to go to. It was a bit warmer there because there was a fire pit in the back yard – and if one got a bit too cold outside, there was also the house to retreat to. Guess I’m getting a bit old for the outdoor’s stuff. :o)

    • Yeah, I guess in past years it would have been warmer on State Street, what with all the bonfires and all.

  • Sorry to inform you, you got the astronomy costume wrong, that’s the Hubble Space Telescope, not the International Space Station. The photos are great, thanks.

    • Oops, better fix that. In the back of my mind I thought, That is international not the US, but as usual didn’t bother to listen to the voices. Safer that way. 😉 Well, doesn’t take a rocket scientist, but it sure helps.

  • Brandon

    Hey thanks for the kind words with the Yip Yip Martians! They were so incredibly fun to be this year!

    • Seriously, I drove my wife batty for the next ten minutes with the telephone bbrrrrrrrrrrring! brrrrrrring! and the yipping. Thanks for that. Classic Sesame Street.

  • Linda Hansen

    Cold weather has never fazed anyone from enjoying Halloween night on State St!! 🙂


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