At what one fan called the “hottest Halloween party on the block,” British singer Harry Styles conquered the stage of Madison Square Garden (MSG) in New York City this past Halloweekend for his first ever Harryween — a two night only live concert event labeled as a fancy costume party.
Harryween was first announced by Styles in February 2020 and was set to be held on Oct. 30 and 31. Due to the pandemic, the concert series was pushed to 2021, and the show was luckily able to go on thanks to its mandatory Covid precautions. Attendees for the sold out shows were required to show proof of full vaccination or a recent negative Covid test, and masks had to be worn at all times.
The shows were set up almost identically to his current “Love On Tour” concerts, as he still opened with “Golden” and ended his encore with his infamous “Kiwi.” Most of the setlist was the same, but a few songs, like “Fine Line” and “Sunflower Vol. 6,” were removed.
However, Styles made up for those losses by performing other covers that matched his intricate costumes.
Night one, Styles donned a small, puffy blue and white dress, a large bow, red tights, ruby red slipper boots and tons of blush and mascara as Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz.” His look was paired with a basket holding a stuffed Toto the dog, and his entire band dressed up as the other main characters from the classic film.
“I love that he continues to wear dresses and whatever he wants to without caring what people think,” said Ramapo sophomore Emily Vassallo, who attended night one.
“His costume was fabulous. He wore it with such confidence and just overall killed it,” said Ramapo College junior Abby Vatasin, who was also at night one. “He looked so beautiful. And the songs were just the cherry on top for making the night amazing.”
Styles covered “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” during the encore, and it was nothing short of magical. He embodied Dorothy, and while doing so, he created an emotional, sentimental moment for attendees.
Not only is the song filled with childhood nostalgia, but it embraced the power of rainbows and wishful living.
Though Styles’ sexuality is not confirmed, he is a vocal advocate for the queer community and uses his platform to create a safe space. Styles runs around with at least one pride flag each concert, and during the performance of his sophomore album’s lead single “Lights Up,” fans typically create a rainbow in the arena with their phone lights and colored sheets of paper.
“At the beginning of every concert, he tells everyone that they are free to be their true selves for the night,” said Vassallo. “He creates a safe space where his fans feel that they can express themselves without fear of judgement.”
Because of how important individuality and authentic self-expression are to Styles and his fans, lighting all of MSG up with rainbow lights and emphasizing that there is a home over the rainbow was incredibly touching and tender.
On night two, Styles ditched the cutesy innocence of Dorothy and friends and strutted on stage in a white, harlequin clown costume, with his bandmates matching in similar style. His overall energy was still the same as night one; however, his additional song choices were less meaningful and more scream-and-dance-your-heart-out.
Ramapo senior Gill Calbi was at both shows, and she definitely did not miss out on Styles’ return to singing an unreleased classic of his on night two.
“I absolutely went nuts when he sang ‘Medicine,’” Calbi said. Styles hasn’t sang the fan favorite live since 2018. Fans always beg for a studio version, but never receive it. However, it was surely a trick and a treat for Styles and fans to sing and dance again to the upbeat song.
Directly after “Medicine,” Styles transitioned into a cover of Britney Spears’ iconic “Toxic,” which was something fans had never expected. The energy was unmatched in the glitzed-out arena, and it is a cover fans hope Styles will sing again.
While the songs and Halloween vibes were essential to the events’ success, it was the unofficial fashion show that made the nights come together.
“The costumes and fashion elevated the experience,” Vassallo said, who was dressed as Taylor Swift from the “You Belong With Me” music video. “If it’s any indication of the amount of people dressed up that night, the stairwells and floors were absolutely covered in feathers.”
With Harryween being marketed as a fancy costume party, it was well-expected that the entirety of MSG would be packed in glitz, glamour and intricate costumes.
Harry has inspired many fans to embrace fashion and conquer a style that is both unique and influenced by his own style. Though Styles is not the one to credit for funky, gender-fluid fashion, he has created a space for younger generations to try out his style and make it their own. His concerts become a safe-space for people to flaunt their outfits in confidence.
“I remember looking in the mirror and thinking ‘I feel so confident, I feel so great. I’m dressed as my idol!” Calbi shared. She dressed in Styles’ 2021 Grammy performance outfit, which consisted of a leather pantsuit and a green boa. Calbi expressed how she felt incredibly connected to the person she admires most.
Fans hope to experience more Harryweens in future years. Whether there will be a full concert series at MSG again is not yet determined, but we are all ready to embrace the presence of Harry Styles and his Halloween antics in years to come.