Mary Shelley probably rolled over in her grave in June 2001 when Nancy Longo leaned over to her husband and whispered, “You’re gonna get your wish.” One year earlier, Longo had objected to Steven Charles’ Halloween-themed wedding idea and they’d wed in a garden instead. But the Halloween idea seemed fitting for her 40th birthday.
“What’d you have in mind?” asked Charles, a lawyer for Charles and Woodford. “‘The Bride of Frankenstein’?”
“Absolutely,” replied Longo, chef and owner of Pierpoint Restaurant in Fells Point.
The next day, Charles brought home a vintage movie poster of the classic Boris Karloff film. The couple then proceeded to hit eBay, where they purchased 90 wedding gowns, 50 tuxedos and 30 ruffled shirts. The vintage get-ups were then offered to party invitees, who could wear them or choose to turn up in bridal finery of their own.
On Oct. 26, 2002, each of the 175 guests showed up at the “haunted barn” (actually a friend’s barn in Cockeysville) wearing a costume that honored Longo’s “faded youth.” At 7:15 p.m. the funeral wedding party (comprised of everyone in attendance who had an October birthday) proceeded down the “aisle.” After the “bride” was presented,” Charles promised to love her even after her skin “wrinkled and fell off.”
During a speech that recounted Longo’s childhood years, guests threw toys into- yep- a coffin, lined with pictures from Longo’s youth. As her friends urged her to actually climb into the box, Longo replied, “There’s no way in hell I’m sitting in a coffin!”
Plastic rats, spiders, pumpkins, funeral ribbons and sympathy cards adorned the tables, each of which featured a different horror movie theme. Fake cobwebs, skeletons and vintage horror movie posters hung from the walls, and smoking cauldrons stood in for trash cans. Fake eyeballs floated in drinks and there were three cakes, including one with a decapitated head.
Longo, a longtime fan of the Junkyard Saints, chose the band to play the party because “they agreed to play funeral music along with the rest of their stuff.” For those who wanted a break from dancing, projectors played horror movies all night in three tents set up outside the barn.
This year, Longo’s husband remarked that he wanted to have a huge birthday party with a “Hawaii 58” theme, in honor of the fact that he and four office mates were turning 58. But Longo told him the big bash would have to wait because her new catering and party planning business was keeping her way too busy.
However there’s no doubt in Longo’s mind that Charles will, someday, get his wish. “Something’s definitely in store for him,” she says. n
Allison Houseworth is an intern at Style.
Catering: Pierpoint Restaurant, Fells Point, 410-675-2080
Band: Junkyard Saints, Baltimore, http://www.junkyardsaints.com
Coffin: Galvanize, Hampden, 410-889-5237
Scars: International Spy Museum, Washington, D.C., 202-654-0950, http://www.spymuseum.org