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Halloween hookups

  • Gina and Marc Bangser on Halloween 2009, the night they met. They've now been married for more than two years.
Gina and Marc Bangser on Halloween 2009, the night they met. They've…
October 28, 2013|By Courtney Jacquin @courtneyjacquin | RedEye

Halloween parties are arguably some of the best in Chicago. There are plenty of elements that make them great, but the air of mystery in not having to completely reveal your identity is pretty exciting. Much debauchery ensues.

It might seem crazy, but some couples found love in the most hopeless of places, a Halloween party.

When Gina Bangser, 32, walked into a mutual friend’s Halloween party in 2009 in full Harley-Davidson gear, she likes to say her now-husband Marc “picked her right off the door.”

“We just hit it off immediately,” Gina said. “He didn’t hear this, but I said to my girlfriends, ‘oh, this is my next boyfriend.’ ”

Marc, 32, had a goal that year of spending less than $5 on his costume, so he slapped on a suit and covered the inside with “Hello My Name Is” tags with bad pick-up lines, going as what Gina called “that stupid MTV show ‘The Pick-Up Artist.’ ”

“It was one of the lamest costumes,” Mark said. But it worked.

“I ended up meeting my wife the same night,” he said.

The couple got together quickly and were engaged by the following October, marrying that June.

“We’ve been inseparable ever since,” Mark said. “It’s random to meet at a Halloween party, but it was great.”

The couple now lives in Buffalo Grove and continues to celebrate Halloween each year, but Mark usually has a better costume. They haven’t returned to the party where they met since 2009.

Failed costumes seem to be the key for finding a match, or at least it worked for Bob Aiken, 46, in 2008.

“I was trying to go as one of the characters from 'Juno,' but ended up modifying and just going as a gym coach,” Aiken said.

Aiken was hosting the Halloween party, and his friend brought his now-wife Trisha that night, but they didn’t get together right away.

“One of my friends told me how he met this good-looking, tall flight attendant,” Aiken said. “They showed up at my Halloween party, and I thought they were dating, but it turned out they weren’t.”

The two connected on Facebook after the party and started their relationship, getting engaged in June of 2010 and marrying in May 2011.

“[Trisha] almost didn’t come to the party,” Aiken said. “She was a flight attendant at the time, and her flight came in late, so she was tired. Her roommate pushed her to go, and luckily, she came.”

The following year the couple dressed as Sonny and Cher. They eventually used a photo from that night on their save-the-date invites for their wedding. This year, the couple plans to dress as Donald and Ivana Trump.

“I gotta go wig shopping,” Aiken said.

Parties aren’t the only place for Halloween hookups. Lauryn Burkhalter met her now-boyfriend Nathan Shaw at a Flosstradamus show at The Abbey in 2008.

“I was Wonder Woman, but I called it Wonder Lauryn because my birthday’s on Halloween,” said Burkhalter, 26. “There was this guy dressed as a skeleton; he had done an amazing paint job as the Misfits skeleton. I didn’t recognize him at all, but he recognized me but stood really weirdly close to me.”

Burkhalter and Shaw were both seniors at Loyola University Chicago at the time and members of the same bike club on campus.

The couple found each other the next day when they both arrived for Critical Mass dressed in the same costumes. Shaw returned a wig to Burkhalter she was wearing the night before but thought she lost.

“It took a couple of weeks to really get together, but it worked out really well,” Burkhalter said. “We celebrated four Halloweens since them.”

Burkhalter moved from Chicago to Milwaukee in August for grad school; Shaw joined her. With Burkhalter celebrating her birthday on Halloween, she and Shaw take the holiday very seriously. Burkhalter has no fewer than three costumes each year.

“He’s going to be Calvin, and I’m going to be Hobbes [this year]; were also thinking about doing Mary Poppins and Dick Van Dyke,” Burkhalter said.

“We’ve hung up the Wonder Lauryn and skeleton costumes.”

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