Every year, Halloween gives us an excuse to dress as outrageously as we want, whether that means wearing an entire IT clown costume or hardly anything at all. So it should be no surprise that a gym who’s literal motto is “anything goes” put on an event to celebrate the occasion.
It was time for Gymbox’s ‘Night of the Living Dead.’
With a venue like the Vaults at 26 Leake Street, the night was already off to a good start. Leake Street is Waterloo’s famous graffiti tunnel and when we arrived, a bunch of Halloween artwork had popped up to really drive home the theme. Dressed as a gothic vampire and with my trusty angel at my side, we made our way inside the venue.
Skeleton wall projections greeted us as we beelined for the bar, the sound of iconic early 00’s hip hop and R&B filling the space. As we waited for our drinks and assessed the pink-lit crowds, we did the important job of rating everyone’s costumes. Shout out to the beautiful Ariel, terrifying clown-man and Goku from Dragon Ball Z, but the woman dressed as the fairy Godmother from Shrek wins my personal award for the best dressed of the night.
After we’d grabbed some drinks, it was time to explore.
The Vaults is a bit like Hermione’s magic handbag in that it’s deceptively big. While you could be fooled into thinking it’s just one room, there are two other cavernous spaces connected to it in the tunnel.
In the second room, we were met with the sound of house music (courtesy of James Lee Dawkins) and blue UV lighting. Behind a row of luminous barrels, acrobats decorated in UV-paint threw each other around the room, doing lifts even Craig Revel Horwood would be impressed by. It was like having our own private Cirque du Soleil performance.
It was also in this room that giant Day of the Dead skulls were available to wear and run around in. This provided endless entertainment for me and my partner in crime and I’ve since decided that every party should have them.
A couple of drinks later and more performers began to pop up out of nowhere. At one point, we walked into the third room to see a contortionist dressed like a doll doing the backwards walk from the Exorcist. Behind her, a woman swung and did aerial gymnastics from a giant spider’s web.
As I stood amongst the crowd and looked on in drunken awe, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was going to inspire some kind of horror-themed gym class (please Gymbox Gods, do not make this a reality).
While the performers left me amazed and wondering if I’d been part of some mass hallucination, the music in the first room really stole the show for me. Something felt very, very right seeing a guy in a plague mask and a bunny rabbit get down to “Get Low” by Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz. Also, some of the mixes we heard were down-right naughty. DJ Marshall, I salute you!
After dancing so hard I apparently managed to hit my Apple Fitness goal, it was time for a breather in the blessedly cool smoking area. Here, we made friends with a man dressed as a pink butterfly (his arm in a matching pink cast) and compared all of our manicures. The Gymbox community never disappoints.
Once back in the venue, we headed back to the first room for one final dance as the DJ played some Halloween classics, including one memorable moment where he mixed the Halloween soundtrack into Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love.’ With sore feet and one vampire fang down, I made my way through Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ before officially calling it a night.
‘Night of the Living Dead’ was everything I expected from a Gymbox party: hot, sweaty and full of attractive people in bold outfits. Now, the only thing left to do is start planning ahead for the next one…
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