When the first question thrown at you when you enter a party is “Are you allergic to spiders or snakes?”, it’s clear that the night ahead is going to be an interesting one. Entering London’s Brooklyn Bowl – deep in the heart of The O2 – for tonight’s Cubanisto House of Mask, that’s exactly what gets asked when guests are ushered through the door, before being forced to thrust their hand into the eyesocket of a giant calavera that’s stood proudly next to the entrance. After all, if any night’s perfect for throwing yourself into the unknown, it’s Halloween.
Having evaded any venom on the way in, each guest is offered a wristband – which will come in handy later in the evening when it flashes to unlock two complimentary bottles of their rum-flavoured beer – and a Venetian-style mask, preparing tonight’s attendees for an evening of indulgence and mystery. Throughout the main room of the venue, there are sugar skulls being scrawled upon by street artists, while giant fluorescent skulls sit creepily in amongst the shadows of the bowling lanes. The music is loud and people are already having a good time.
Tonight may be the finale of Cubanisto’s party tour of the UK, but it’s the best possible occasion for it. Whether guests are covered in fake blood or simply dressed up in their best costumes, there’s a sense of abandon about the evening from the moment everyone enters the room. Immersive, mysterious and, at times, completely bizarre, it’s no real wonder that the Venetians were so fond of disguises when it came to having a good time: tonight’s House of Mask proves to be a brilliant modern day equivalent.