For many, Halloween and Moonstruck are like drag queens and wigs – they go together because they are both super fun.
After hearing for years about the fantastically good time people have at Moonstruck restaurant with Luke Magliaro and Howard Roche, I had to speak with the guys about the history of Halloween Sunday.
TBP: Your Halloween evening is something of legend.
Luke: It started very simply at the Moonstruck in Ocean Grove years ago. One year, we decided to dress up in costume for Halloween and a good friend Max asked to lip synch a song in costume at the end of the evening. It all went from there.
That first year I dressed as “the lady of the house” with a frosted brunette wig and makeup done by semi-professional local drag queens. Regular customers did not recognize me.
Howard surprised all the guests by coming out at the end of the night with a performance of “Believe” as Cher, with the huge black curly wig and sequined dress. He brought down the house – everyone was standing on their chairs clapping and had such a great time.
The next year, 2002, we were in Asbury Park. We tried to model the evening like the employee show at the Odyssey, where he worked for years. All the staff dressed in costume and did their own performances.
TBP: And the evening grew into a special Asbury Park moment.
Luke: The Halloween party took over the second floor here initially. It grew into a full show. After the food was served, we pulled out a small stage and the staff did a complete, choreographed show.
Teams of our staff lip synched to the Village People, Peggy Lee, Gypsy Rose Lee, Diana Ross, Elvis, Dame Edna, Flo from Progressive Insurance. Each year we had a different theme, like the 60’s or 70’s or 80’s.
One year, our server Dawn MC’d the show as a fantastic Liza. Another year, John was the MC and he was hysterical. His costumes are always the best.
TBP: And today, Halloween Sunday at Moonstruck still has the flavor and energy but with a new twist. I just toured the official “costume room,” which is as big as the average dining room, and it’s filled with boxes and boxes of fab pieces to play with. I can’t wait to see what’s up for this year.
Luke: I have been seeing staff members searching through the costume room lately looking for inspiration.
The original party grew to something that took too much time. We don’t ever want to anything half-baked here, so we have scaled it back a bit.
It’s still one of our most popular evenings with a hokey and impromptu energy fueled by our customers but a little tamer now, hosted by Bob Egan with a cabaret-type atmosphere on the first floor.
Every year it’s a surprise how the evening will evolve. Customers still come in costume and that is what really makes the night for me. The more costumes the better.
And of course, Howard and I will also be in costume. Last year Howard was a fantastic Lady Gaga. I don’t know how he will figure out how to top that this year.
We also have our Fall Menu. For our Halloween Sunday, we will be serving one of our most popular items, rigatoni with roasted pumpkin, goat cheese and toasted walnuts.
Halloween Sunday at Moonstruck with Bob Egan’s Cabaret night, Oct. 30, 6 to 9 pm. 732.988.0123. MoonstruckNJ.com.
Moonstruck was named the “A Game Restaurant” in Asbury Park by TheBPlot in 2010.