Receiving one of the ILM Halloween Party invitations must have been a highly anticipated affair – not only would one learn where and when the next can’t-miss Halloween event of the year would occur, but the recipient would often be smacked with a bold and whimsical invite illustration, ranging from EC Comics-inspired cover art to satirical riffs on famous horror movie posters.
These invitations would have directed employees and their guests to any number of venues around the San Francisco Bay Area over the years, but for the parties taking place between 1992-2006, one venue lives large in the memories of employees who experienced them – Kerner. ILM’s Kerner facility in San Rafael, California, so named because of the street – Kerner Blvd. – where it was located, hosted all of the parties for 15 years in one of its three large soundstages – “Cookie Bay,” Main Stage, or Windward Stage.
These soundstages, which by day were used by ILM’s artists and engineers to create movie magic, were transformed for one night a year into the Bay Area’s most sought-after Halloween celebration venue, populated by the most creative, innovative, and bizarre costumes one can imagine.
In an effort to illustrate just what those Halloween parties were like at Kerner, and to memorialize the facility’s role as ILM’s creative center for nearly three decades, we asked several employees to share their memories of the events, and specifically, the costumes they’ll never forget: