It promises be a Halloween party of epic proportions.
Friday night, hundreds of superheroes and villains of all stripes will descend on the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal for Enjoy the Arts' inaugural Halloween fundraiser, the Return to the Hall of Justice Halloween party.
And there's really no better place in town for a superhero-themed Halloween party. Union Terminal, an art deco masterpiece and a National Historic Landmark, served as the inspiration for the Hall of Justice building in ABC's "Super Friends" superhero cartoon series that aired from 1973-1986.
But the center never capitalized on its connection to DC Comics heroes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman - until now.
Enjoy the Arts came up with the fundraiser after the publication of a 2009 Enquirer article about the Union Terminal-Hall of Justice connection, the merger of Enjoy the Arts with the Cincinnati Museum Center and the demise of the Contemporary Arts Center's Bite Me Ball, said Laura Partridge, manager of digital engagement and Enjoy the Arts. Holy brilliant ideas, Batman!
Enjoy the Arts also has a not-so-secret plan behind the party. They're hoping to boost membership to the 31-year-old organization, which gives members free tickets and discounts to art, theater, dance and music events around Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
"We're trying to raise awareness about the program and membership enrollment so more people can experience arts that our city has to offer at free or discounted rates, so it's more accessible and more affordable for everybody," said Enjoy the Arts program coordinator Samantha Robinson.
Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice - er, the Cincinnati Museum Center - organizers are taking the superhero theme to the extreme. Caped crusaders can drink signature Superman cocktails, watch comic book-inspired films from the past two decades in the newsreel theater, enter a costume contest and get their pictures taken in a photo booth with conversation bubbles saying "Pow!" and "Kaboom!"
But it's the superhero-themed silent auction and raffle items that really save the day. Take your pick of the Superman package (a three-month membership to the gym at Carew Tower, trapeze lessons and four passes to the Tri-state Warbird Museum); the Wonder Woman package (a $100 Pure Romance online shopping spree, two one-hour Swedish massages at Inner Peace Holistic Center and a gift certificate to Parallel Pilates); the Aquaman package (Newport Aquarium tickets, a $50 McCormick & Schmick's gift card and Morgan's canoe rental); and more.
Enjoy the Arts plans to make its Hallo-ween fundraiser an annual event. As for whether it will be superhero-themed every year, organizers will say only: Stay tuned.