Halloween has been called the "high holy holiday " of Rocky Horror, as it should be, as dressing in costume is at the essence of Rocky experience and Halloween is the one day of the year everyone can be a creature of the night.
On Halloween night, 1974, the 20th Century Fox distributed and marketed rock musical Phantom of the Paradise opened in Westwood Village at the cavernous National Theater, a couple blocks away from the UA Theater, where The Rocky Horror Picture Show would have its debut in 11 months. The gala premiere included an invitation to "come as your favorite phantom," with cash prizes for the most outrageous costumes. It's been rumored that amongst the guests that night were various members of the upcoming filmed version of Rocky Horror though it may be just a rumor as no hard evidence has been uncovered.
Meanwhile, on that same night, across town, The Rocky Horror Show was in its 8th smash month as a live show at the Roxy Theater on Sunset Boulevard. The play was still wildly successful in its flagship US run, event though Tim Curry had recently vacated his signature role to film the movie version in England. Frank N Furter lived on with Tim's replacement, Paul Jabara (the same man who would later pen "Last Dance" for Donna Summer and "It's Raining Men" with Paul Shaffer) in the role.
In what may have been the birth of a tradition, Halloween night, 1974, the Roxy hosted the first ever Rocky Horror Costume Contest as part of the night's festivities. Thought the film adaptation was nearly a year away and there were no working crystal balls around, the Sunset Strip saw its first seeds of the cult to come with an audience peppered with the first primitive costumed tributes.
Today, 39 years later , the tradition remains. Rocky Horror has become ubiquitous and indelibly attached with Halloween. "The Time Warp" is included on Halloween soundtracks everywhere and mass marketed Frank N Furter costumes are available at retail chains. Rocky horror is synonymous with Halloween, and figuratively remains remains the longest lasting costume contest in history. Happy Halloween, everyone. Are you having a party? It is , after all, a rather special night.