Miss Foozie at the 2011 Pride Parade. (Tribune file photo )
Unless you've spent the year immersed in nothing but "Real Housewives"—and if you have, thanks for tearing yourself away long enough to read this—you've probably heard the news that 2012 is the Mayans' predicted Year of the Apocalypse.
And really, what better place to begin the countdown than Wednesday's 16th annual Northalsted Halloween Parade, which always features to-die-for costumes for both dead and undead humans and pets? Better yet, this year's parade also features a new theme of Apocalypse 2012, a new start time and a new route.
MaCray Huff and Katrell Mendenhall from Style Network's "Chicagolicious" are judging the annual costume contest post-parade stage performances by Chicago Spirit Brigade, Environmental Encroachment and Chicago Fire Tribe.
Leading it all from the back of a convertible—as she has since 2007—is the parade's grand marshal, effervescent local entertainer Miss Foozie, who's also the parade's pet costume contest judge and onstage entertainment host. We caught up with her to get the scoop on this year's festivities.
So, who is Miss Foozie?
I'm not a drag queen—Miss Foozie is a character. Like Minnie Mouse. Miss Foozie has her own hair, her outfits, the letter F for Miss Foozie. I got my little Miss Foozie pearls—it's all about fun!
I'm not there to swear, I'm not there to put people down. It's about having a good time. It's about love—love is out there too—and life and just enjoying the surroundings and making it fun. I think a lot of people connect with my character and that makes a big plus ‘cause it's bringing more energy and excitement out there to the crowd.
How many people are expected?
Every year it just gets bigger and bigger. I think last year, they had close to 20,000 people. I don't know who adds up all these people [laughs]. Do they go around counting?
What are your favorite costumes from parades past?
There were these two girls dressed like a roller coaster ride and it was so cute. They put their heads in there and then they had little fake legs in front of them and they looked like they were sitting on a roller coaster ride. And that will always stick in my head because that was so funny.
One lady did this huge dress made out of all these plastic bags—she was like, a princess—and I'm telling you, what an original idea!
And the Little Miss Foozies! That is the biggest compliment anyone could ever give me. One year, I saw six of me. There was a black Miss Foozie, an Asian Miss Foozie, an All-American Miss Foozie.
What other celebrity impersonations do you expect this year?
Psy, because he's doing that new Condom[sic] Style dance. The "Real Housewives"—I think there will be a few of them. A lot of villains and presidents and the presidential candidates. And a lot of Batman and Robins—that always happens [laughs].
Any tips for people entering the costume contest?
Be fun, creative, colorful and make sure you dress for the weather—don't wear a pair of your best underwear and expect to be warm. Also, wear something you're able to go to the rest room in [laughs], 'cause some people do not. And they're like, "Oh my god, I forgot that I'd have to go pee—I don't how I'm going to do this!"
Don't wear something that's degrading to somebody or that will put somebody else down. There's enough of that in this world. And don't be nasty—be fun, but we really don't need to see somebody's butt. And yes, that happens!
Northalsted Halloween Parade, where and when to arrive:
To march and/or enter the costume contest: 4-6 p.m. at Circuit Nightclub, 3641 N. Halsted St.
To register your pet: 6 p.m. outside Circuit Nightclub
Parade viewing: 7 p.m. Wednesday, on Halsted Street between Waveland and Belmont Avenues (steps off at Waveland; travels south to Belmont)
Stage show and costume contest awards: 7:30 p.m. at the CTA turnaround, Halsted Street and Belmont Avenue
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