In those days--Less than a decade ago--it was outrageous.

It was my first Halloween party in Manhattan, and I let the word out that almost everyone would get a prize. There would be a Grand Prize, of course, but there would also be rewards for Creative, Prettiest, Most Successful at Concealing Identity, Skimpiest, Most Deeply Regressed, Most Offensive and Least Effort Made.

And so Halloween arrived. The first costumes were nothing to get excited about: a gypsy, hobo, clown, Girl Scout, a Richard Nixon, a couple of hookers.

Then a couple arrived as Sacred and Profane Love. She (now a fiction editor at Playboy magazine) had the body and bearing for Profane Love. Her costume was dynamite: the barest wisp of a black flim-flam clung to her curves, with glitter, flashing jewelry and fishnet stockings all adding to a look of total decadence.

Her partner, Sacred Love, had adorned himself with artificial flowers, repeated on a bow and arrow fashioned from two wire coat hangers. They had sprayed his body and face and hair with gilt paint in a nearby apartment. (He wanted to display his golden body as long as possible without dying from having his pores painted shut, or of exposure.)

At 10:30, the door opened and in walked an Arab sheik with a fish net slung over his shoulder. He walked into the living room, tossed the fish net on the floor and out rolled a mermaid, naked to the waist and flipping her tailfin toward a suddenly silent group of slack-jawed men and women.

The outrageous costume the next year (when we all went to a costume party out in Tuxedo Park) was Nancy Haberman's. Nine months' pregnant, she arrived in a snug-fitting wedding dress and announced that she was having labor pains.

She wasn't kidding. Mount Sinai had something to talk about that Halloween.