Natives of San Francisco are a rare and awkward breed because, despite the city's ever-morphing visage, this remains a frontier town, a transitory port of call for those who yearn to reinvent themselves. Here, neighborhoods, like sexual orientation and the beehive wigs crowning my Sunday brunch host, change according to the wind and whim of some unknown force, leaving the indigenous population predisposed to streaks of nostalgia, excesses of tolerance, and fits of madness come Oct. 31. Halloween, that celebration of shape-shifting, fiction, fantasy, gaiety, and horror -- all that we, as San Franciscans, hold most dear -- is, after all, S.F.'s unofficial holiday, and it's high time someone did something unofficial about it. To that end, the recently self-proclaimed Emperor and Empress of San Francisco, descendants of a long line of self-proclaimed rulers, did on Wednesday, Oct. 1, by the power invested in them by the Ancient & Mystic Order of Maskharat, declare Halloween "the official and primary holiday of all San Francisco, in this and future years." They did challenge the citizens of "Our Fair City to improve and embellish the Castro Street Halloween festivities with renewed and greater costuming efforts" and decreed that San Franciscans "of all creeds, stripes, and varieties come together to celebrate Halloween in lively, but safe and considerate, revelry." The Royal Proclamation comes at a time when the hitherto idiosyncratic, passion-filled occasion of Halloween in the Castro has been diluted and defiled by drunkenness, violence, and unseemly street clothes. However, the Ancient & Mystic Order of Maskharat is no fly-by-night, reactionary fiefdom; it is a group of dedicated and determined activists in tomfoolery. As such, it has petitioned the city of San Francisco to recognize Halloween officially as our own holiday, and has garnered a position in the "March of Light," the costumed cabal that parades up Market Street at the beginning of the celebration. To add the weight of numbers to the levity of their intention, the Emperor and Empress request all supporters of the Maskharat's mission to join in the procession of finery. The theme for this year's pageant is, appropriately enough, the birth of San Francisco. This is a call to arms for all miners, merchants, madams, missionaries, sheriffs, sailors, chimney sweeps, opium peddlers, spiritualists, and harlots! Show us what San Francisco is really made of. People interested in marching with Maskharat should gather on Friday, Oct. 31, at Market and Laguna streets at 6 p.m. Admission is free; participation is mandatory. Folks needing inspiration should go to www.maskharat.org.