Sun October 20, 2013 2:27pm

Laurel McFarlane, how long have you lived in Eastlake and what drew you to the community?
I have lived in Eastlake for 11 years. Initially it was the affordability of the community that drew me to Eastlake, but once my husband and I started having children we realized that we had made the right choice as it is such a great place to raise your children with all of the bike trails, lakes and parks.
If you were going to speak at an eighth-grade career day, how would you describe what you do for a living? 
I create celebrations that bring people together where they can have fun, laugh and create great memories with their family and friends. 
When you were growing up, is this what you planned to do as an adult? 
No, I love animals so I had my heart set on becoming an Olympic Equestrian Rider and if that did not work out, I was going to be a veterinarian.
You organize some of the county’s biggest parties. This month (October) it’s the Monster Bash in the Gaslamp. What goes into making that party happen?
 I started working on new ideas for Monster Bash in March. Each year, I spend months strategizing on how I can create elements that are new and fresh in order to keep the event experience edgy for all event goers.  New additions to look forward to for this year are the three mega clubs which will consist of the Birds of Prey, Gaslamp Asylum and the Masquerade clubs. The VIP program has been completely revamped giving our VIPs a private entrance and area, four complimentary drinks at participating Gaslamp Quarter & East Village venues, two complimentary drink tickets to be used in the Monster Bash VIP, $1.00 off drinks at the bar in the Monster Bash VIP and front-of-the-line access to the Designated Driver Shuttles to ensure a safe ride home to anywhere in San Diego County. One of the biggest changes this year will be to our costume contest. The winner will receive $5,000 in cash, which is an increase of $2,000 from previous years!
Can you share a Monster Bash memorable experience with us? Maybe an organizational horror story or an unexpected surprise? 
Some of my craziest and best memories (always horrors at the time) take place during the costume contest. Every year there is one person or group that drives me and my team over the edge into mayhem! One example is the time we had a motorized cupcake enter the contest and we had to basically disassemble her costume within seconds, breakdown the staircase leading to the stage and carry her to and from the stage for voting rounds – my entire thigh was scraped by the wheels on the first trip carrying her to the stage. I will never forget our Borat costume winner who never broke character even backstage in his neon one-piece thong bathing suit; the reaction from the crowd when he dropped that quarter and bent down to pick it up was priceless and I am not sure where he stashed the $3,000 cash when he left the stage!
If you were going to attend the party as a participant, what costume would you wear and why?
Given the dynamic and intensity of Monster Bash, I would want to stand out from the crowd to ensure I was able to get the judge’s attention. As I mentioned previously, I am an animal lover at heart, so I think I would go this ‘traditional’ route in an untraditional manner by adding in a surprise aspect of the costume. For example, I would love to be a Super Hero Pig with special powers and go all out in my attire.
Closer to home, you organized Chula Vista’s Centennial Celebration. What was that like for you?
It was a true honor to plan my city’s Centennial Celebration.  I remember standing up by the Olympic Torch the night before the Celebration and watching POD do their sound check with the Chula Vista High School Choir in the background. I had chills down my arms thinking this is so awesome and I just love what I do, but also at the same time praying that people would show up.  Leading up to every event I always get super nervous that nobody is going to show up and even as late as the night before I am thinking what I could do to change it and make it better for the event goers.
Is there anything you would have done differently to celebrate Chula Vista’s 100 years of existence? 
One aspect that was difficult to organize was the carnival. It was very hard to convince a carnival company to come out for a first-time event. I wish we could have had a bigger carnival for all the kids as all of the lines for the rides were packed!
What’s an unmet challenge for you? Any big events you’d like to take a shot at organizing?
I would like to be part of the San Diego Balboa Park Centennial Celebration taking place in 2015. Balboa Park is such a landmark here in San Diego for both locals and tourists and it would be amazing to be part of such a historic event.
How would you define success? Do you meet that definition? 
Success for me means that you did not leave anything on table and that you gave it 120 percent.  I always say to my kids that you cannot experience greatness if you do nothing, and I live by these words.  I have had both successes and failures in events, but those times when you are so tired that you can barely keep your eyes open as you have been up all night and you look out and you see a sea of people dancing and partying, there is nothing that gives me more satisfaction.  My favorite thing to do is sneak up on the stage and lookout at the crowds during a festival to revel in the event goers’ experience with them.