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What I Learned From My First Vegas Halloween Party

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Halloween is an awesome time of year no matter where you are, mainly because of things like candy and costumes you had no idea could be made scandalous (you'll never look at a Stormtrooper the same way again). But Halloween in Vegas? It's like the one house handing out the full-sized candy bars -- the next level. That’s why when my editors told me that Oculto (a new lager aged in tequila barrels) was throwing a three-day Hallo-weekend in America’s playground, I knew I was in for the most mischievous and unexpectedly ridiculous Halloween of my life. Before you get mad at me for gloating about a party you didn't get to go to, you can make your own secrets at the Oculto Lair, open at Marquee every weekend for the rest of the year. Or, you can head to their super-mysterious Garden of Hedon, going down in Miami on November 19th. But first, here’s what I learned at the Vegas party (Warning: clinical strength FOMO ahead).

Party split screen
Natasha Lee/Thrillist


Lesson 1: Four parties are better than one

Marquee, the Cosmopolitan’s Dayclub and Nightclub, is home to quite possibly the country’s most over-the-top Hallow’s Eve celebration every single year. Why's it so scandalous? Because it’s a quartet of mystifying fun with Friday and Saturday nightclub throwdowns, and Saturday and Sunday afternoon pool parties. This year, Oculto upped the usually high ante with their brew, mysterious sugar skull dancers, air brush face-tattoo artists, and way more. Here are just a few looks into the exclusive party:

Pool party
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
Carnage party
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
Minotaur?
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
Girls on shoulders
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Sword on head
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
Mask and boa
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Natasha Lee/Thrillist
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
Natasha Lee/Thrillist


Lesson 2: The costumes are completely jaw-dropping

Sure, there was the usual spread of ghouls, bloody faces, and devil horns, but because this is Vegas, baby… things got real in-your-face (and skimpy), real fast. But don’t take my word, see the costumes for yourself:

Tape stormtrooper
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
Suggestive Stormtrooper
Transformer
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
Transformer #1
Showgirl
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
A stage-quality showgirl
Barbie
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Malibu in a box
R2D2
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
Keg R2-D2
Mr. Robot
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
Mr. Transformer...
Mrs. Robot
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... and Mrs. Transformer
Chewbacca
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Beer can bandolier Chewbacca (totally movie quality)
Inflatable cows
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The inflatable cows
Working robot
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
And the costume winner is... Johnny-5 (that robot legit works)
Swinging lights at the club
Natasha Lee/Thrillist


Lesson 3: Everyone is going to get into all sorts of unexpected stuff

From crazy stilted costumes and R2D2s made out of kegs at the pool party to glowing fairy dancers and a #MakeSecrets Oculto Lair at the nightclub, there were some seriously head-spinning haps. And while normally you can leave all your secrets in Vegas, I took some of them with me in photo form, just for your amusement. See for yourself all the outlandishness everyone got into:

Dancing on cabana
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
Dancing on a cabana
Stilted costume
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
Stilted Beetlejuice?
High up dancers
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Ledgetop dancers
Sword at the pool
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
Sword-dancing at the pool...
Sword at the club
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
... and in the #MakeSecrets Oculto Lair.
VIP table
Natasha Lee/Thrillist
I'm a VIP, right?
Carnage crowd shot
Natasha Lee/Thrillist


Lesson 4: The secret to being a DJ is stamina… and fog

DJs are already a pretty mysterious bunch. Do they perform? Or do they just push play? There were a ton of big-name spinners including DJ Carnage and Alesso at the parties. I was lucky enough to catch up with Carnage to get his take on the secrets to playing a kickass club set. Here’s what he had to say:

Thrillist: What’s the biggest misconception people have about being a DJ?
 
DJ Carnage: That it’s not like insanely exhausting. Because it totally is. Not only are you up there giving your energy, but you’re also traveling a ton to get to every show. Sometimes you do multiple shows a day. Like right now, I’m walking to a plane to play Seattle… a huge festival, me and Tiesto. I’m tired, I haven’t eaten. It can be a lot.
 
Thrillist: So what about the difference between playing a huge set, like a festival, and playing a smaller set, like a Vegas party?
 

Carnage: A festival set, people want to hear the bangers. You can kind of just bounce around and play new, random stuff. In Vegas you kind of have to play a little bit more of the mainstream songs. The key is making it cool, and still original, and swaggy at the same time. Not just playing mainstream after mainstream track.
 

DJ Carnage
Natasha Lee/Thrillist


Thrillist: So what’s the song you know is going to get people moving if vibes are down
 
Carnage: “I Like Tuh.” Everyone loves it, in any setting.
 
Thrillist: So what if someone wanted to throw their own party, what’re the basics they’d need?
 
Carnage: I just did a warehouse party that was literally like just speakers, CDJs [Pioneer's industry standard turntables], and smoke. Smoke is a great thing to have for any small set. A good sound system, too. Volume and smoke, man. That’s really it.

Club photo
Courtesy of Oculto/Plush


Lesson 5: The bouncers can (and should) be your best friends

Between partying, I spent quality time with the hulking gentlemen who prevent sexy nurses from brawling with sexy fire fighters or sexy other municipal workers. Two important takeaways:

1) There’s almost always a secret bathroom that guests don’t know about because they’re lemming-ing their way to the main one.

2) Making friends with the VIP tables is the way to go because one night, one of my new security friends told me that he saw a guy drop $2 million on drinks alone.

Speaking of numbers (segue: nailed), check out some from the weekend:

Oculto by the numbers
Derek Springsteen


Lesson 6: And people love throwing down on the sexiest... er, spookiest night of the year

Don't just take it from me, your beautiful ginger Virgil for this manic weekend, check out what everyone else had to say: