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October 21, 2014

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Scenes from a Halloween weekend on the Strip

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Michael Mishak, special to the Sun

The Sun’s J. Patrick Coolican interviews a Halloween Jesus Saturday night at the Cosmopolitan’s Chandelier Bar on the Las Vegas Strip.

J. Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican

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A woman dressed as a tiger clutching a purse was among the costumed creatures cavorting Saturday night outside the Chandelier Bar on the Las Vegas Strip.

Saturday night, talking to Jesus. Or at least a guy who looks like Jesus as traditionally depicted: robe, beard, hair, sandals.

It's Halloween season and we're at the Cosmopolitan, at the edge of the Chandelier Bar. But who knows, maybe he's chosen this moment and this place to make his return.

Do you think people are living your message, I ask.

"I do not. People don't love one another," he says.

OK, I feel like that's what Jesus might say.

Then he adds: "There's no peace or prosperity."

True enough, but a dead giveaway that this isn't Jesus, because Jesus says in Luke, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God."

There's a priest with not-Jesus. He has a cigarette in one hand, a bottle of beer in the other.

Back to Jesus.

His favorite casino?

"The Vatican."

He's chewing gum. What is he drinking?

"Water."

Not wine?

"They're one in the same."

But that's near the end of the evening. The night begins a few hours earlier at New York-New York, which, based on the clientele, should be called New York-New Jersey, or just Staten Island.

At the bar, they're serving Red Bull and vodka for $6 — not what the world needs.

The best costume by far is a Santa Claus with no beard, sitting at the bar. He has a 5 o'clock shadow and his cap is perched just so, giving him a wonderfully creepy profile. Also, a guy in an orange jumpsuit that says "Illegal Alien" on the front; Hunter S. Thompson; 70s tennis pro; and inmate and sexy cop.

We walk the Strip north and there's former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty — not a costumed reveler with a flair for the obscure, but the actual politician who briefly ran for president this year but dropped out when it became clear there's only room for one non-crazy person in the Republican primary.

Pawlenty's with his wife and daughter. They are not in costume, and they are Minnesota sober. He says he's in town with the family to have a little fun and for some business. Business? A Minnesota-themed resort?

At the Mandarin Oriental, some rich drunkards are coming off the elevator. They're in their 50s and have great get-ups — Cleopatra, a cruise director, Capt. Stubing of "The Love Boat" and a shepherd. There's a long history of costume balls among the wealthy, and based on the accents, I'm thinking these are Houston oil-and-gas industry 1 percenters, living it up.

At the lounge on the 23rd floor, a well-made sidecar in a martini glass but no costumes.

We leave and walk north passing a costumed cop with a real prostitute, or costumed prostitute?

Then at the Cosmopolitan, at least half the crowd is in costume, and hundreds wait in line to get into Marquee so they can scream at each other over the bass: "You're from Idaho?!" "No, Iowa!" "Where in Idaho!?" Obi-Wan Kenobe, 1920s era flappers, Ghostbusters with "Stay Puff Marshmallow Man" (comfort is an important part of any costume, friend), Sailor Moon, the Japanese animation character.

Sexy Top Gun. Sexy nurse. Sexy pirate. Sexy this, sexy that.

Lots of Zombies.

Homemade creamsicle costume, her boyfriend an ice cream sandwich (well done!)

An indecipherable costume that involves just wearing a bathrobe with your nice pecs showing.

Roman soldier. The Hulk. Slash of Guns 'n' Roses, but why the Confederate flag hanky?

My favorite costume is a guy with tight white pants and a shimmery silver shirt that's far too tight. His stomach lazily hangs over his waist. He has long curly locks that may or may not be real. In fact, this may not be a costume, strictly speaking.

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