30 years of Atomic Imaging’s Halloween parties to end

The first of Ari Golan’s legendary Halloween parties, in 1986, was actually a one-year anniversary party for his Golan Productions Inc. that he had started Nov. 19, 1985, in the basement of his mother’s house, with one employee, his best friend from the University of Michigan film school.

The night that 50-75 of his friends, clients and coworkers came in costume to his offices on North Avenue “was the night we invented the adult Halloween party,” Golan says. “Since then, we’ve had people attend from all over the country, and even from Buenos Aires and Budapest.”

Now, on the eve of his Atomic Imaging’s 30th anniversary, Golan is ending an era with what he calls “an epic Halloween event” on Saturday, Oct. 31, at his studio complex in Goose Island.

“This is the one day of the year, for anyone not an actor, to become someone else. It’s the sheer joy of role-playing that most adults forget about as they grow older and move on to dealing with the daily demands of life,” Golan says.

With the recent departure of Big Deahl Productions, Golan’s Atomic Imaging, at 30, remains as Chicago’s oldest full-service studio facility. Golan feels “bittersweet” about ending three decades of an entrenched event. 

The final party coincides with Golan’s focus on “a return to my long-held ambition of producing original films and episodic television, although we will continue to serve our corporate and commercial clients.” Several projects in the works are coming to fruition, he adds.

The last of the fantastical parties, with 2,500 attendees expected, will take place on Atomic Imaging’s one acre compound, consisting of five 100-year old former ice factory warehouses that surround a courtyard on the west side of the Chicago River at Magnolia and North Avenue that Golan has owned since 1995.

A sound stage in one of the buildings will become “Club Dead,” where DJs Spence:Chicago and Mr. Latin House will be in charge, starting at 9 p.m.

Three “undead” bands – Hey, Jimmy, 290 and Ralph Covert and the Monsters of Rock – will perform in the heated tent main tent. Joining in for a few numbers will be musically trained borhters, Ari Golan, on sax, and his brother Lawrence, a symphony conductor and concert master playing an electric violin.

Food and beverages will be available in all the buildings and RIP guests can gather in an exclusive lounge with a bar and buffet in the Blair Witch building.  

The always wildly imaginative costumes judged the scariest, sexiest, funniest and most relevant (to the party theme of “Mad Max”) will be judged by Atomic Imaging staffers. Audience applause will determine the three top prize winners of the night among the finalists.

Raffle tickets prizes include valuable industry-related items like Davinci Resolve Studio and Fusion Studio from Blackmagic Design from Blackmagic Design; VidiU from Teradek; 
Petrol DSLR Raincover and nine-inch Monitor Bag – and a three month free membership to FFC health clubs with personal training sessions.

Plans for the party that begin in September put about 100 people to work, “between our staff, sound and lighting, security, bartenders  and others.”  Golan estimates its costs the company $75,000 cost to stage Halloween night.

But after expenses are paid, 100 percent of the proceeds go to Adaptive Adventuresrehabilitative sports programs for children and military veterans that Atomic Imaging has supported for ten years.  

Tickets at the door are $95 general admission, $175 for VIP. Ordering online can save you $20 or more by entering the promotion code “Atomic GPI.” Click here to purchase.