The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Photos: Freaky Deaky's New Home Was Full Of Crazy Costumes And Big Beats

By Justin Freeman in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 2, 2015 5:16PM

We remember going to the first Freaky Deaky at the Congress Theater back in 2009. Freaky Deaky then became an annual Halloween party at the Congress, booking acts like Bloody Beetroots and MSTRKRFT until an assortment of building code violations and the termination of their liquor license shut down the club in 2013. Freaky Deaky shook it off and moved to the Aragon, where they've been booking artists like Danny Brown for the past few years. This year, everything changed as they moved to the suburbs to become a full three-day music festival at Toyota Park in Bridgeview. We were there to capture it all.

When we walked in, we we greeted by a fire breathing gargoyle perched atop a pike. The grounds had three stages, each with its own spooky name and design. The Crypt stage was fitted out with smoke machines and spider webs. Another was called The Big Top and looked like a bizarre carnival, and so on. In the space between the three stages, they had a pair of carnival rides—a ferris wheel and a pirate ship pendulum ride.

Overall it was a smaller festival; the place was full but wasn't too crowded. People had plenty of room to dance and could walk from stage to stage with no major problems. The minor problem that emerged was that it rained throughout the day on Saturday, so puddles formed where people had to walk. Groundskeepers were on task all night to try to regulate and minimize it though.

This was a Halloween festival, so people were dressed up as all sorts of things from zombie to sexy [insert noun here.] Some of the highlights include the man dressed as the (assumed) villain from Star Wars: The Force Awakens who was sleek in all black with a bright red broadsword-style lightsaber that he waved manically in the air as Riff Raff played “Instagram”. Another was a couple wearing banana suits who were drunkenly convinced that I was in costume as Lenny Kravitz and kept yelling “WE'VE GOT TO FIND OUR BANANA BUNCH!” at me while Benny Benassi played “Cinema.”

Unfortunately, there was also a notable amount of racism. Native American headdresses worn by white men as fashion accessories were a fairly common sight. Racist costumes seem to slowly be on the decline, but the problem still exists.

Riff Raff has improved tremendously since I saw him at North Coast a few years ago, focusing more on stage presence and less on antics. I walked into Benny Benassi's set as he played the iconic “Satisfaction” and he proved himself to be as solid as ever. Hannah Wants and Shiba San were both quite fun. Personally, I'm indifferent towards Armin Van Buuren. However, the crowd was totally into his bright lights, cathedral stained window visuals and prolonged Jesus-on-the-crucifix poses as he promised to take us all to a state of trance while he played his new single, “Another You.” Ultimately, isn't that what matters?

We like the concept of Freaky Deaky as an outdoor weekend Halloween-themed festival. We just wish that it was somewhere in the city instead of almost 15 miles away in the suburbs. Freaky Deaky has come a long way from it's humble start at the Congress Theater six years ago and we're excited to see where it goes next.