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Jim Winsor’s Out & About: Jim’s guide to Halloween parties

I'm back! The Atlantis Mexican Cruise returned to San Diego last Saturday, and wow, what a party it was. Favorable reviews are already coming in, most of which I heartily concur with.

I want to thank Rich Campbell and the rest of Team Atlantis for putting together another great cruise experience, and my traveling companions known as the "Hillcrest Hot Messes" (John Sloane, Kristin Doving, Derek Soderholm, Josh Stanley, Josh Baker, Ben Plummer, Sam Vo, Shaun Hasan, Jeremy Rankin, Brad Houseworth, and many others) for providing memories we'll be talking about for weeks to come.

Many of us, in fact, are already booked for next year ...

2012 Halloween in Mexico Cruise

And yes, there will be a next year! Atlantis has once again managed to pull a rabbit out of a hat, and has chartered one of the dwindling supply of cruise ships plying the Mexican Riviera route for October 2012. The exact dates being Oct. 28 through Nov. 4, 2012 ... making it the first-ever Atlantis Halloween cruise. Given how elaborately we already dress for these on board theme parties, a Halloween party at sea is going to be interesting indeed!

The ship they chartered is the Carnival Splendor, which will sail out of Long Beach. And yes, this is the same infamous ship that lost all power after an engine fire at sea last year, was rescued by the U.S. Navy and towed back to San Diego for repairs. So, we're getting a relatively new (built in 2008) ship with an even newer engine!

And it's a bigger ship, too: 3,000 passenger capacity as opposed to 2,000 for this year's cruise. And perhaps best of all, it's going to be cheaper ... a LOT cheaper. Atlantis managed to score quite a deal on the ship apparently, and staterooms start at only $499 a person (as opposed to $899 as it usually is). Right now, I'm pre-booked on a balcony stateroom that costs less than what I paid for my window stateroom this year.

I'm guessing that this lower price point will encourage a lot of boys who have never been on an Atlantis cruise to finally give it a try, making for a fun-filled mix of veterans with a healthy influx of first-timers.

So if you're in that catagory ... this cruise should go on sale to the general public (thus far only those on board this year have been allowed to book) in the early part of next year, most likely in January. Once the info goes up on the Atlantis web site, I'll let you all know about it here.

Jim's guide to partying on Halloween

Speaking of cruising during Halloween, here's my annual guide to all the haunted happenings in the gayborhood this coming Halloween weekend. I'm sure I'll see you all out there, trickin' and treatin'!

Thursday, Oct. 27:
* 2011 Harvest Howl for Youth at Top of the Park 6-9 pm
* Halloween Kick-Off Costume Contest and Pumpkin Smashing Blackout at Numbers 10 pm to 1 am
* SDPIX presents Trick or Treat Wet Contest at Bourbon Street 10 pm to 1 am
* Thriller at Tagged Thursdays at The Flame 10 pm to 2 am

Friday, Oct. 28:
* Viva La Fiesta at Numbers 8 pm to 2 am
* Thrills and Chills at Redwing in North Park 8 pm to 2 am
* Grimm Halloween at Eden 9 pm to midnight
* Wired Halloween DJ Bash at Brass Rail 9 pm to 2 am
* Fuel Fridays Freaky Friday Halloween Bash at Numbers 10 pm to 2 am
* Pimp & Ho Ball at Rich's 10 pm to 2 am

Saturday, Oct. 29:
* Halloween Parking Lot Party at Gossip Grill 7pm to midnight
* Before Nightmare on Normal Street at Baja Betty's 7pm
* Nightmare on Normal Street 7-10 pm
* Church presents Midnight Mass at Babycakes 8 pm to 1 am
* Halloween House Party 2011 by Urban Pride 8 pm to 2 am
* Costume Contest plus Scaryoke at Redwing 8 pm to 2 am
* Halloween Dreamgirls Show plus Costume Contest at Bourbon Street 8:30 pm to 2 am
* Jeffrey Sanker presents Grimm Fairytale Party at Eden 9 pm to 2 am
* Sabado en Fuego Halloween Party at Brass Rail 9 pm to 2 am
* Halloween Massive Afterhours at Rich's 10 pm to 4 am
* Costume Contest at #1 Fifth Avenue 10:30 pm

Sunday, Oct. 30:
*Scaryoke at Redwing 9 pm to 2 am
* The Nightmare Before Halloween at Rich's 10 pm to 2 am

Monday, Oct 31:
* Ghoulish Bingo at Urban Mo's 7 pm
* Halloween Party at Gossip Grill 7 pm to midnight
* SDPIX presents Grimm Halloween at Eden 9 pm to 2 am
* Fright Night at Rich's 10 pm to 2 am

Last week's events

I'd like to give a big shout out to Cali Griebel and Josh Rice for filling in for me on the photography front while I was away on the Atlantis cruise last week. You can see their photos (plus a few of mine I took as soon as I got back) from last week here, including shots from the Hillcrest Hoedown, Rocky Horror Dinner Theater at The Range, the Glitter Party at Rich's, The Atlantis Welcome Party at Spin, and the debut of Babette Schwartz' new night at Lips, Showtunes Sundays. Happy viewing!