Category Costumes

Halloween 2016: Season of the Witch

Taking a week out of town during the month of October after two months of hyping myself up and working on projects was a good idea–it was a break, a reset, and a reason to get laser-focused as the big day was then almost upon me. I’d finished my costume before I hit the road, which meant that I only had about a bazillion small projects left on my list and one big one: a working Nightmare Before Christmas town fountain.

I already had the stuff I’d determined I needed to build it: a kiddie pool, giant sheets of home insulation foam, a fountain pump, a fountain hose, pvc plumbing pipe, chicken wire, and expanding foam, but I was also a little daunted by the build. I’d never made anything like this before, and it had the potential to go really rage-inducingly badly. Volcanically badly. But it was either buckle down and build it now or let all of these materials go to waste, because realistically, it’s not like I’d be more motivated to work on it in November. So I buckled down.

I used a hot wire to cut bricks out of the home insulation foam, which I glued together into a wishing well shape, and once the whole thing was dry, painted it gray and weathered it with black. I also half ass painted the kiddie pool edges–it’s something people mostly wouldn’t see at night or from a distance, but a bright yellow fish swimming on a purple pool tends to stand out and detract from the overall effect. I then eyeballed and cut the pvc pipe into roughly the shape and height I wanted, running the fountain hose through it as I built it because there would be no easy way (or potentially no way at all) to run it through the pipes when they were all assembled, owing to all of the sharp bends. I then shaped some chicken wire around the pipe to give the body some bulk. Then it was time for the part I was really dreading: filling the body out with expanding foam.

le-grill

If you’ve never used expanding foam for any home projects, it’s essentially a monkey’s paw in a can, twisting all of your hopes and wishes into a sticky nightmare. At some point after I moved into the house, I thought I’d be clever and fill some of the gaps in our downstairs doorways with expanding foam, and almost from the first spray, I knew I had made a huge mistake. But I kept at it and made it much, much worse. By the time I had determined I was finished, about ten minutes later, there was almost impossibly sticky goo everywhere. Cans of expanding foam say not to expect more than one use from it, as they claim that it tends to seal itself shut. I posit that a can only gets one use because it causes such frustration that a use is always immediately followed by the user attempting to throw the can into the sun. But there I was, clasping that blasted monkey paw all over again and swearing that this time, my wish wouldn’t be corrupted. I was right…sort of. The foam did cling to the chicken wire like I’d hoped. Not very evenly or very well in some spots, and it was impossible to get it to come out of the can at a consistent thickness, but it did mostly do what I wanted. There was a portion near the bottom of bare pipe that I’d hoped to fill out with foam–I really should have bought more chicken wire but really, really didn’t want to make yet another trip to the hardware store. The expanding foam didn’t want to bulk out, instead choosing to slop right off the pipe onto the ground below–thankfully I had learned from last time and laid down some protective barriers for just such a scenario. I ended up covering the bare area with fun foam to give the illusion of bulk.

Once the expanding foam had completely cured, I tried carving it down to an even surface with the hot wire tool, which I’d been led to believe was something that would cut through expansion foam, and of course, it didn’t. So, instead, I hugged it to me like a lover with one arm while hacking bits of it off with a knife with the other, which I quite enjoyed. Admitting to that online is probably the sort of thing that will get me put on a watchlist, but you know me, I’m committed to the truth and elaborate hilarious lies, whichever the situation calls for.

foam

After the body was reasonably even, the time had come to cover it with scales. If the hot wire tool had easily cut the expanding foam (why can’t it work more like a lightsaber and just lop off hands and whatever else I want it to?), I would have considered carving the scales out of the expanding foam, but as it was, I’d have to make them from something else and adhere them. I’d made scales of sorts for the shingles of my Zero tombstone out of pink home insulation foam and that was a complete and total pain in the ass and this was a MUCH larger surface area, so I decided to cut the scales out of fun foam and adhere them with hot glue. I started with about two hundred scales, figuring that’d probably cover most of it. Not even close. Every time I cut two hundred more out and brought them to the workshop I thought certainly it had to be the final two hundred, that there couldn’t possibly be any more surface area to cover, and I’d come up short. Some part of me is still cutting scales out of foam in foam purgatory, which is like hell only foamier. 

Once all the foam scales were on, it was time to carve the head. I’d adhered five rectangles of insulation foam together, and once they’d cured, I busted out the hot wired tool and started roughing out the shape. I’ve never carved material like this before and it turned out to be both satisfying and fun, taking away hunks of material until I had something wholly unlike the original starting material. And, bonus, it turned out pretty close to what I was trying to carve. Once the head shape was done, I cut teeth out of fun foam and glued them in as that was much easier than attempting to carve them out–I’m a foam dabbler, here, not a Renaissance artist. I also cut out a foam tongue and horns and attached both to the head before fitting the head onto the body. Once the head was attached, I made and attached the wings, tail, arms, and hands, and once it was all dried, it was ready for paint and weathering, and when THAT was dry, it was time to put the whole thing together, fill up the kiddie pool with water, and hope that it worked.

It did. By gum, it did. And I finished it in enough time to cross another thing off my decorating list–make monster silhouettes for the downstairs windows and back them with a bright shower curtain so they’d stand out, and also so people couldn’t see into the downstairs which is by far the least cute part of the house. AND I had time to make some food for the party as well. Some food, not all of it. I’m thankful for restaurants with same day catering to take some of the pressure off when it comes to feeding up to twenty people (which is my “small” game night, it is possible I’m struggling with the concept of “small”) plus getting the house and yard ready and me into a costume with a decent amount of makeup and answering the door for trick or treaters.

halloween2016-5-of-8

halloween2016-6-of-8Speaking of trick or treaters, the candy wheel was a hit–I had some kids come to my door and say they’d heard about the wheel from their friends, and at least one parent told me that my house was on their “must stop” list because of my decorations. It’s exciting for me because I love spreading the Halloween spirit, and it’s nice to know that my hard work has been noticed and appreciated.

mantle

booze

Since it was a game night and I’d invited people over to “test their luck”, there were a few games of chance throughout the night, and the winners could choose from the gift cards arrayed on the table or one of two “mystery boxes”, because who can resist the allure of a mystery box? The contents of one of the boxes was the game in which my likeness appears, and the other contained two dog biscuits and a note letting the recipient know they’d chosen poorly. Hey, they can’t all be winners, right?

feastThat skull cakelet pan I bought made such awesome cornbread skulls, but damn were they ever beefy. ‘Cakelet’ implies mini cake but there wasn’t anything mini about this ish.

For my costume this year, I decided to revisit the witch, and ended up in a very different place from my swamp witch costume. I thought about doing a similar transfigured arm and nail claws, but since I was throwing a party and not just attending one, I figured I’d probably need that arm and hand for things like making food, so that idea went by the wayside. I used a dress, leggings, and boots I already had (why spend the time making something if I have something that already works for that purpose?), bought the mask on etsy,  the hat from amazon, and made the rest myself: the belt, the cloak, the necklace/cloak clasp, and the hat accessories. The time consuming part was definitely the feathers–I wanted the look of giant feathers to go with the giant bird skull, which meant making them. They were all individually cut out of (you guessed it!) fun foam, textured with an x-acto knife, given a rachis of hot glue, and then painted matte black. I spent hours cutting, texturizing, gluing, and painting feathers, and once I started sewing them on, I realized that I would need to spend the rest of forever making foam feathers if I was to cover the entire shoulder to floor cloak in overlapping feathers. (Sensing some sort of pattern, here?) Additionally, I realized that many flipping feathers would make the cloak ridiculously heavy, especially for the frail 80 year old me who would finally be donning it after making all those feathers, so I decided to do the front panels and call it a day, which meant I actually had a few feathers left over for things like tucking into the hat and keeping in a scrapbook to remind future me of why I’ve got arthritis. I sewed a wire into the neck of the cloak in the hopes that it would hold itself on, but with the weight and relative flexibility of the wire, that was a futile hope. Enter the cloak clasp, which is made of a base of floor mat foam for thickness and strength (not enough strength to keep from ripping on the day of the party, heyooo), with a decorative design in apoxie sculpt and a cabachon of resin. The apoxie sculpt was coated in rub n buff to give it a silvered appearance because I’m a one-trick pony. If I’d had more time, I would have considered making a woods-y staff with glowing purple crystals, but getting the fountain finished was my first priority as it would have far more impact than a costume prop that I’d have set aside for most of the night.

All in all, I’m super pleased with how it turned out, and I’d wear and swoop that cape around again anytime. Maybe around the house, just because.

halloween2016-1-of-8

halloween2016-2-of-8

halloween2016-3-of-8

treatmaster

halloween2016-7-of-8

…After the party broke up for the night, things got a little weird.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Get in loser, we’re going shopping: A Halloween Costume Retrospective

I’m writing this in the past at a crossroads: either I went on vacation this week or I got mashed by a tree in STORMPOCALYPSE 2016. Or, I guess, I didn’t go and I didn’t get mashed but the power was out for a damn long while and updating my blog wasn’t my first priority. Regardless, I didn’t work on shit this week to reach my Halloween goals. So here’s a look at the costumes I built for last year. That’s right, last year. I’m nothing if not timely.

I’d had a bug up my butt for a while to make Jason a Thorin Oakenshield costume. I made his ring way the fuck back in November 2013, and then I hit a patch of severe depression and didn’t do anything for Halloween 2014. I’d had my traditional pumpkin carving party, but as far as a costume goes, I didn’t do shit. I stayed at home, handed out candy, and depressed myself further because it was my favorite holiday and I wasn’t doing anything. So I started working on his costume in earnest at some point during early 2015. First, I made a duct tape husband.

duct-tape-husband

This allowed me to fit a costume to him without him needing to be present and with a slightly lower risk of sticking him with pins. I also turned these santa boots:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

into these Thorin boots:

boots

I cut off the faux fur top, covered them in brown fur, and made boot caps and straps from fun foam. I don’t know why I had never really used cosplay resources before to figure out how to make stuff, but it turns out there’s a whole community of people who know what they’re talking about when it comes to making costumes and props, and they’re willing to share this information with people like me. Hurrah! It turns out this fun foam stuff that I’d seen a million times at craft stores and wondered what anyone would use it for is actually a miracle substance that I may end up using for everything. It’s pliable, you can heat mold it and it will hold its shape, and if you seal it with glue and paint it with metallic paint, it can resemble metal armor. It’s pretty astounding! Cosplayers are also all about thermoplastics like Worbla, which would have also worked for this application but it’s significantly more expensive, so I haven’t dipped my toes into that pool yet. I also used fun foam to make Thorin’s bracers, shown below before they were sealed and finished:

bracer

I also learned to do resin casting, which has turned out to be another useful tool in my arsenal. I needed to learn for this costume because Thorin wears a suit of brigandine armor under his cloak, and it’s one of the most visually striking aspects of his costume, so it’s not something I could skip out on. First I made a master in apoxie sculpt. I then made a silicone mold of the master, and then dusted that mold with aluminum powder, poured in resin with more aluminum powder mixed in, waited for it to cure, rubbed the new resin part with steel wool to make the aluminum shine, and then weathered it with black paint to give it dimension. This had to be done one hundred plus times, most of which was spent simultaneously cursing myself for having such big stupid plans that involve so much work. And most of that work was hidden by the cloak. Blargh.

brigandinel-r: master, fresh cast, steel wooled, weathered

tunic

Thorin’s jeweled belt buckle is also a pretty big visual point in his costume, so I wanted to hit that recognition point as well. This involved resin casting some gems (the backs of which are painted with metallic nail polish, which gives them a reflective sparkling quality) and socketing those gems into a belt buckle made from more foam, this time from one of those thicker foam floor mats. Cosplayers work wonders with floor mats, but so far, I haven’t managed to do as well. It’s harder to cut, takes more heat to shape, and I think ultimately the belt buckle turned out just OK.

resin-gems

buckle  

I also sewed the tunic, the cloak, made leather patches for the knees of his pants, and repainted a plastic toy sword, and Thorin was complete!

thorin-front

thorin-side

My costume was a little more fraught. I vacillated between a number of options: lady bearded dwarf, Tauriel, Bilbo, and Thranduil, ultimately deciding to go with armored up party king Thranduil. The armor builds started off ok, with foam handguards and bracers, which flexed really well with my arm and hand movements. The raised portions were made with puff paint, and while it’s useful to make designs, I have determined it is also the devil’s paint, and this is never more evident than when you’re trying to paint a long, smooth, curving line with it. Three quarters of the way through and PFHT!!!!!!!!! Surprise air bubble! which will cause paint to spurt everywhere and/or come out in a horrendous lumpy mess. And then it takes a lifetime to dry and if you touch it even one second before it’s fully, fully, fully dry, it will wetly smear all over everything. My hands were silver for at least three weeks.

handguard

 

arm-armor

While waiting for armor to dry in various stages of puff paint and elmer’s glue, I started constructing the cloth portion of my costume. No pattern, just eyeballing it. It turned out surprisingly ok except the neckline which I hated and didn’t know how to fix. I figured it wasn’t all that important because the whole thing would be covered with chest and shoulder armor anyway. I made his complicated shoulder pauldrons and though they weren’t exactly identical, I felt they looked pretty cool.

thranduil-cloak

But then I started on the chest armor and the shit hit the fan. Because it’s such a large piece, I needed to make it out of the larger foam floor mats rather than the fun foam (which is generally about the size of a sheet of paper). That foam is thiiiiick, and a piece that size needed more heat to shape than my hair dryer could provide and some dumb part of me refused to buy a heat gun for this one thing. I’m already a fat person, and the additional thickness of armor that I couldn’t get to curve in anywhere made me look like a walking barrel. And THEN there was the complicated pattern on top that turned into a goddamn puff paint nightmare world. I needed to reassess.

breastplate

Could I made the costume work without the chest armor? Eeeeeeeeehhhh. The shoulder pauldrons were supposed to attach to the chest armor to keep the weight of the cloak from straight dragging the whole business off my shoulders, so that wasn’t working super well. The wig that I bought was way too long and thick, and at this point in the game, I hated the whole thing together but it was too late to change to something completely different.

armored-upThrilled. So thrilled. Ignore the PJ bottoms. And all the Halloween bins in the background. 

Soooo it was at this point that I decided to ditch all the armor I’d made. The handguards, the bracers, the boot armor, the pauldrons, and especially that fucking chestpiece. I cut and thinned the hell out of the wig. But with the armor chopped, it really needed something  else to make it more Thranduil. I determined that something else was his branch crown. I made the crown out of twisted wire:

crown

which I then coated in hot glue and painted brown. At this point, it looked like a crown of weird turds, but I kept at it:

glue-crown 

Thranduil’s crown in the movie just has leafy bits in it, but I felt like he was the sort of dude who would probably accessorize to the season, so I added in sprigs that had tiny pumpkin looking things. And with that, I was done! And not too soon, I think I wrapped the whole thing up the day before my Halloween party.

party-king

king-thranduil    All hail your King under the Mountain and your Party King!

Save

I guarantee it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This might be the only time in the history of the world where someone has thought “YES! I’m glad I hung on to that taco costume.” When my prop closet explodes and the crew of Hoarders comes sniffing around, I’m going to use this photo to justify my collection.

It’s alive! IT’S ALIIIIIIVE!

As a person who is constantly seeking validation and small forms of immortality, I couldn’t help but enter the Frankendie contest, which had people compete to have their likeness in their game, either as a mad scientist or as a monster. They already had a few solid mad scientist entries, so I felt like monsterdom was where I could shine. Not to mention, if you’ve ever had to deal with me early in the morning, I’m really more monster than human anyway. I could have assembled a new costume, but since they didn’t prohibit using an old one, I decided that my swamp witch costume with a new name would do nicely. And since it wasn’t based on merit, but was instead a giant popularity contest, I proceeded to bug the shit out of my friends and asked them to annoy their friends and so on and so forth. One day I’d take a commanding lead, the next I’d be behind, and it came down to the wire with me asking for votes something like every hour the final day of the contest. I’m surprised that I wasn’t unfriended in droves. The important thing is, I won.

What did I win? My costumed likeness is in the game, along with my copy (Can I put that on my resume?), two copies of the game, an illustration of myself, and an enormous t-shirt declaring me the property of the Mad Scientist’s Guild.

alligatorwoman

frankendie

frankendie2

 

My only quibble is that I’m still about 30 years out from orthopedic shoes, but other than that I’m stoked!

 

Swamp Witch: A Halloween Costume Retrospective

 

This was not my first costume choice; when I had started thinking about costumes back in September, I had originally settled on Medusa. I wasn’t quite sure where I wanted to go with the costume, because the story has been told so many different ways–that she was created a monster, that she was beautiful and was turned into a monster as punishment, that she is both beautiful and terrible to gaze upon–there were a few different ways I could take it. I also considered going in all white like a crumbling statue of Medusa.

I discussed it with a friend who said she didn’t know if I should go as the Quasimodo of the Greeks, we had a good laugh, and I ordered a wig and some bendable rubber snakes from ebay. I don’t know if you’re aware, but rubber snakes are one of those items you see EVERYWHERE until the day that you need some, in which case you will discover that no store you can think of sells them. No toy stores, no general goods stores with toy aisles, no dollar stores. I searched high and low and nary a rubber snake could be found, which is why I resorted to ebay. I figured if I couldn’t pick and choose the snakes in person, my best bet was to get something wired and bendable so I could make a proper headdress, as I don’t have the materials/talent to sculpt the sort of thing I was envisioning.

When the snakes arrived, disappointment didn’t even begin to describe how I felt. They may have been 24″ long (MAYBE) but they were very skinny and molded into a tightly-coiled shape. They weren’t wired or bendable in any fashion, and if they were pulled out of their coil shape, they looked ‘off’ and snapped back into place. I didn’t want to risk ordering something else and have it not live up to my expectations with time ticking away on the clock, and I knew that there was no way I could put these coiled snakes on my head without looking foolish, cheap, and like a half-assed, snakey Princess Leia. So, Medusa was scrapped. But what to do? I had already bought a non-returnable wig and didn’t much relish the idea of it going to waste, but none of my other ideas would work with it. Part of my problem was that I wanted something recognizable–it sucks going to a lot of work and having no one be able to guess what you’re supposed to be, which is why I have focused heavily on movie recreations/interpretations in the past–but I have also found that to be incredibly frustrating because there aren’t bodies like mine in films and if there are, schlubby comic relief characters NEVER get good costumes because they’re fat. So I stomped around, frustrated, for a week. My friend Kevin apologized to me no less than three times over the course of that week because he had encouraged me to go with Medusa over the other options I’d been considering and he felt like it was his fault that I was in costume fail territory already. I didn’t personally feel like there was blame or fault to be issued, except in the case of the lying liepants liarton ebay snakeoil sellers. I huffed out to have dinner one night, and on my drive, I continued to ponder my options. All at once, it hit me. I didn’t HAVE to do something that’s been done, I could create something of my own and run with it–see how well I could execute something that lived only in my head.

I decided on a swamp witch, something disgusting and foul and looked as if it might stink. The way I expanded on the idea was that the more this witch used her powers, the more she lost aspects of herself to the creatures around her, so I wanted to do patches of alligator skin, one alligator claw hand, and, in an ideal world where I could afford black sclera contacts, part of the face, at least around one eye, with a built-up brow and cheek. I don’t live in that world, so I skipped the face, and this is what I ended up with:

71947_450570803939_4480762_n

72743_450570793939_4578403_n

As far as the makeup goes, I like how well the bags turned out under the eyes. To my eye, they are pretty convincing. I used a couple of cream shadows and a couple of different liner pencils and blended and layered–I feel like I nailed the highlight to make it look swollen. The dot bits I could take or leave. I didn’t have a point of reference for voodoo makeup and as a result, it’s just kind of meh, but I felt like the face would be too plain without it. I really, really should have made a cast of my hand. It would have made the whole thing look better, because there wouldn’t be missing patches on the fingers, visible edge lines along the knuckles, and the claws could have had a more natural starting place from the finger instead of sitting on top of the nail. However, with a cast, I was caught up on the idea of making the prosthetic appliance with GM foam as it’s light and breathable, and that wasn’t going to happen, as it turns out that GM foam gives off sulfurous fumes while it’s curing that leech into the oven and destroy it for food preparation, and while my almond-colored oven from the 70s probably does need to die in a stinky fashion, it wouldn’t be wise to kill something on which I rely so heavily for sustenance–if I had to switch to a raw diet, I might kill someone. Incidentally, this is also why I haven’t been able to do Dick Smith’s study-at-home makeup course, because I don’t have access to a ruinable oven.

Instead, I made the prosthetic appliances with thin layers of liquid latex brushed onto a mold made with apoxie sculpt.

The first mold I made, on the lower right, was a positive mold that churned out that piece of crap on the lower left. I hadn’t given the mold-making process as much thought as was warranted, and realized AS I was coating it in latex that the latex would fill the crevices and with enough layers, it would result in a flat appliance, not the bumpy one I was looking for. Crap in a handbasket. Once I peeled off Latex Disaster #1, I started on a new, negative mold (upper right) that would give me something closer to the results I wanted (upper left). I was still able to use Latex Disaster #1 to give the side of my hand/bottom of my wrist some texture, so it wasn’t a total waste. Once the latex was applied, I colored it with Ben Nye cream makeup and brushed some darker powder across the top to pick up the details and texture. Were I to do it again, I think I would go for a darker green than ‘Frankenstein’, but as it is, my makeup supply is low on greens and this worked well enough. The claws were made out of apoxie sculpt, painted with nail polish, and glued to fake nails which were glued on top of my natural nails. I had thought about doing claws that capped my fingers, and while I still think those would ultimately look better, my concern was that if they were tightly capped and bonded with my nails, that I would not be able to get them OFF and an alligator hand is inconvenient enough for ONE day, much less days and weeks until they eventually grow off. I didn’t realize how much I use my non-dominant hand until it becomes impossible to do things like type or text or open car doors or turn a steering wheel without getting a claw caught in the opposite sleeve, pulling at the natural nail which is SO painful…they did make a pretty awesome clicking sound when tapped, though.

As for the costume itself, I really winged it. I didn’t want to use a pattern, and I think that both helped and hindered me–I was able to make something that was really mine, but at the same time, I would move to a new portion of the costume and be daunted all over again about how I was going to accomplish it, which would cause me to procrastinate which makes creative problems WORSE, not better. I wandered around the fabric store until I found some materials that seemed right–some medium weight black burlap, some scale-print vinyl, some novelty halloween ‘rotted’ material, some gauze, and some muslin with an assload of dye. I wanted something that would be very textured, because in my opinion, the thing most lacking in purchased costumes is texture (and I get WHY it’s that way–expense would go up and people are cheap). I dyed the crap out of that muslin, with browns, blacks, greens, and grays, each not enough to coat the entire amount of fabric solidly, so I ended up with variations in color and tone that were really pleasing and gave it the gross, aged look I was going for. It is REALLY hard to capture on camera, but I promise that in person, it had depth.

149422_450570728939_5643141_n 76125_450570883939_4537679_n 75731_450570873939_3528851_n

I started with the corset-y top–I did a layer of the snake vinyl under the rotted material–the holes in the rotted material alone would have otherwise rendered me indecent. Once that was done, I laced it onto my duct tape doppelganger and began work on the burlap underskirt. I wasn’t sure at first how I’d feel about burlap. It’s kind of scratchy and it smells funny. But once I got a skirt shape pinned on and began to pull threads and cut out sections and weather it, it felt almost more like sculpting with fabric than it did like sewing. Pull a thread here, and it ruches the skirt. Pull twenty threads here and it makes part of it look worn and threadbare without compromising structural integrity because burlap is so damn strong. It was at this time that I also decided to cover a pair of flats in burlap, because it would make the costume look complete to have shoes that match instead of assuming that no one would see the shoes anyway. Once the shoes were complete, I began work on the second layer of the skirt. After ripping and tearing at the hem, I felt like it didn’t look old/gross enough, AND it obscured a lot of the awesome things about the underskirt, so I began ripping at the whole thing in earnest. I discovered that staple removers are awesome for tearing holes and making runs in fabric, and after a while, the skirt looked a bit more like I had pictured it in my head. I planned the skirts to be high-waisted and hit about mid-calf, and it’s a damn good thing I did, but more on that later.

I was at this point the day before the Halloween party, with a shrug left to construct with two purposes–to cover bra straps, and to make the transition into the alligator hand seamless by hiding everything to the wrist. I was so exhausted after the last night at the haunt that I couldn’t focus to work on it, so I sent myself to bed and set my alarm for early in the morning so if, god forbid, there were problems with the costume, I’d have time to fix them before the party AND affix/makeup the appliances.

It was a damn good thing I got up at 3am to work on it. I’d mentioned earlier that my dress form was now bigger than my actual body, but I figured with the lacing I’d done up the sides that I wouldn’t have a problem, because the top was too small for the form, so it should be just right on me….right? No. Of course not. I wiggled the dress off my imitation duct tape Butt of Doom, slipped it on, tied up the sides…and the dress fell straight off, faster than a prom dress in June. Fuuuuuuuuuuudge, it was much, much too big. The way I fixed it was by bringing in the corset part, dropping it to be the waist portion, and making a whole new top with straps so I wouldn’t have to worry about popping out of it. Had I made the skirts longer than midcalf, this would have been a HUGE problem as they now barely grazed the floor and if I’d done them floor-length before, I would have had to chop off the bottoms of both skirts and re-weather them which would would have taken me a long time. Still, between fixing the top, making the shrug, and applying the makeup, I worked straight through from 3am up until it was time to go to the party…which means I burned out at the party fairly early on. By 10pm, I was dragging. By 10:30, I had made myself a deal that as soon as the costume contest was over, I would go straight home. By 11, I was thinking I should just leave because there was no way I was going to be a finalist ANYWAY, much less win anything, but I dragged so much at actually leaving that it got to be 11:45 and I figured if I didn’t wait the extra fifteen minutes and found out later I was a finalist, I’d be pissed at myself.

As it turns out, I was one of the three finalists in the ‘scariest’ category, and while I didn’t win it, I’m glad to have at least gotten some recognition for my work. Of course, now that it’s been worn once, I don’t know WTF to do with it. I don’t want to throw it away, but it’s doubtful that I’ll ever wear it again.

149896_1702973297193_6080480_n

Ever make it with a fat guy with a whip and a giant sack?

Here comes a Santa Claus There goes a Santa Claus Right down Denny Way! Many are weaving Some are heaving That one’s missing teeth! Amidst the red-suited whirlwind One flashed my girlfriend That just doesn’t seem right. But as they say It’ll be OK ‘Cause Santa Claus came tonight!

On Saturday, I suited-up to join the red menace in Seattle. Other than shortening the sleeves, I didn’t make any significant alterations to my santa suit–there were a couple of things I would have liked to have done, but I was busy mutilating a reindeer.

Yes. Mutilating a reindeer.

4181957783_6290c6c3b1

Meet Stanley, the emo-deer. If you press his left front hoof, he sways and moans ‘Blue Christmas’. I hate Stanley. Napoleon had strong feelings about him as well, namely concerning Stanley’s throat and Napoleon’s birthright to put his teeth there. While I’m certain Napodog could have done a fine job ripping him a new asshole, I had more diabolical plans for Stanley.

…*I* ripped him a new asshole.

4181961631_4ba5038820

Stanley’s singing was on a whole new level of annoying; it was a true pleasure to cut him open at the bottom and rip his guts out, and slitting his throat was really the final insult. After he was good and dead, I crammed a flask up his ass filled with an uber-delicious gingerbread martini, for the greater good.

4181963083_530b59de29

Now, in getting ready for this whole Santarchy thing, I made an important discovery: Santa lives at the North Pole for a reason, and that reason is because his choice of outfit is hotter than frigging hell. I reckon that the North Pole is one of the few places you can get around wearing velvet from head to toe, with big fur boots and being hairier than a Cap Hill bear, besides, without sweating to death. I made this discovery because I waited to put on my beard until I was fully-suited, and as it turns out, elastic bands made for the heads of adult males are slightly too big for my head and need to be bobby-pinned in place with no less than thirty pins, and that is antsy, fussy work when one is already sweating.

When my beard was finally pinned into place, I put on my wig and hat, grabbed my sack stuffed with candy canes, booze-filled chocolate, beads with visions of ‘Show Santa your tits’ dancing through my head, and, of course, the Stanley Flask.

As it turns out, being suited up as Santa walking down the street to the bus stop draws a LOT of attention. In the few minutes I was outside, a good twenty people honked and waved happily. Two teenage girls at the bus stop approached and asked if they could have their picture taken with me.

Santa ON the bus was a different story. Almost as soon as I boarded, a kid asked loudly “MOM, what is SANTA doing on the BUS?” Reply: “That’s a lady Santa, you just don’t worry about it.” I drew a lot of strange looks and sideways glances–what is it about riding the bus in a Santa suit that makes me presumed more likely to be a nutbag than walking down the street in a Santa suit? Is it a proximity issue? As soon as I got off the bus, a different little girl was delighted to see me, waving, with her eyes as big as saucers. Especially during moments like those, I was very careful to just smile and wave and not say anything, because I would never want to mess with a magical experience for a kid and the moment would be ruined the second she heard my ‘tampax-y commerial voice’, and aside from my girlish voice and feminine facial features, I think I made a pretty awesome damn Santa. Given that Santa is a fat man, I bet he has a hot rack, too, so I wasn’t too far out of character there.

So, to recap:

On the bus–Look at that crazy fucker in the santa suit, I hope the he-she doesn’t have a gun. Off the bus–Look, it’s Santa! I AM SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW I NEED TO SQUEAL IN DELIGHT.

 

From Westlake, I hopped another bus up to Capitol Hill, and that’s where I ran into my first two Santa allies. Once Santas are allied, the pressure to be Perfect Santa is off–one lone Santa could be real Santa, but three Santas together and kids know you’re not The One so you don’t need to worry about ruining them for life.

The first stop on the Santarchy tour was the Eylsian Brewery, which I completely missed while doing the antsypants dance at home and pinning my beard in place. The second stop was at the Comet Tavern, and things were already in full swing, music being blasted through bullhorns and pot smoke heavy in the air.

4181974269_e5ca689daf

4181975849_67a84e83bf

There I am in the lower right, the super-fuzzy santa and the santa with the shoulder bag in front of me are the two I met on the bus.

 

 

I gave this Santa some beads with a jingle bell attached, and Santa gave me a nip of tequila. IT HAD BEGUN. Soon, I was openly drinking from Stanley, jumping invisible double-dutch rope, and spanking elves. All too soon, it was time for the Santalympics; when it was time to move location, people started up the chant “Hey hey! Ho ho! Santa’s gotta go!” and it was fairly effective in rounding everyone up. The next location was Cal Anderson park–while we were walking past the basketball court, the tall Santa next to me ran over, grabbed the basketball, and asked “Who wants to see Santa slam-dunk?” We all agreed that would be spectacular, so he ran and completely missed the lay-up. This was immediately followed by heckling: “Santa needs to work on his vertical!” “I told you! Santa can’t jump!”

 

When we reached the fountain, we found that it had frozen over, and because none of us are particularly wise, we all climbed into the fountain and started ice-skating. Luckily, the ice did not crack under the weight of 100+ Santas AND I managed not to fall on my ass OR break my face. The Santa with the ‘Free Hugs’ sign moved out in to the middle of the fountain and shouted “FREE HUGS…NOW ON ICE!” and I decided to get in on that–we both ran toward one another, slid into the hug, and spun around.

4181977915_e537405c09

4181979829_d3f9c01883

Then Santa Jesus ran out onto the frozen surface and screamed “I’M WALKING ON WATER, EVERYBODY” and I very nearly wept with laughter.

One of the first Santalympics events was racing down the hill, seated on a block of ice. This is trickier than it sounds, getting the ice block in motion without sliding off yourself.

4182745196_795a2e0d2b

I got my block of ice going pretty quickly down the hill, and then popped off the front and slid for another couple of yards on my ass. It’s a wonder that my pants didn’t get grass stains.

4182755096_1d77d0f4fa

4182747768_96c59d1455

It takes a certain level of trust to allow another deviant-minded Santa to spray a message on your back–everyone who did this was concerned that instead of a holiday message, they were going to end up with a great big cock on their backside.

While watching people get sprayed, I missed the Tug-of-War, but trotted over and was handed four giant candy canes and was told to organize some sort of Santa race. I decided that the most proper event would be a Santa Wheelbarrow Race, with the Santas acting as wheelbarrows holding the giant candy canes in their mouths.

4181987157_8d56fa2952

I made them race pretty far, and rewarded the winners with booze-filled chocolate. The Santa on the left below was the winning wheelbarrow.

 

After the Santalympics Wheelbarrow Race, it was time for the traditional elf tossing. Here’s Santa setting up caution tape so ‘innocent’ Santa bystanders didn’t get cracked in the face with an elf or a reindeer.

 

I was one of the first to go, and, already a little shit-housed, I chose the unwise method of spinning around with the elf like I was participating in a shot-put event. As I let go of the elf’s hands, I stumbled and fell, the elf flew into the crowd and cracked someone in the face, and I still got an award for distance.

4182753516_3f923207d1

Granted, it wasn’t an EXTRAORDINARY distance, but I did make an effort. And I hurt someone.

I also broke my belt.

4182757170_d24e29bbb5

I would think that the belt would’ve lasted for more than one use, but I suppose it wasn’t intended for the sort of activities I was putting it through, either. Once a cheap vinyl belt like this has started ripping, there’s really no way to stem the tide. I kept notching it back, and eventually it would rip again, and again, until it got to the point where I could no longer fit it around my body, and then it was abandoned inside a bar.

 

4181987845_43905c28b6

4181995431_285a33f9f7

4181997125_abe032ef78

4181998241_80d3be96d6

4182003355_2944af5255

 

During the elf-tossing event, I was handing out beads and more liquor-chocolates. I finished off Stanley, drank cider from some guy’s camelbak, some dude grabbed me and kissed me, and this guy showed me his ‘tits’.

4182766904_bec316c2a2

I could’ve watched elf-tossing for a while longer, but hey hey, ho ho, Santa had to go.

…To put a great big bag of Dicks in his mouth.

4182767228_8d6908a329

4182769354_f2cc3287f2

 

I didn’t know ANY of these people at the start of the day, by the next bar stop, we were all chums. The guy to my right (photo right, in the beard) asked me to text him this photo, and on Sunday morning, he messaged me to make sure I’d gotten home all right. I suppose camaraderie isn’t all that unusual–it takes a certain sort of person to show up to these kinds of events, and having a baseline ‘Oh, hey, you like to dress up in costumes and dance in public and probably REALLY like attention’ isn’t a bad way to start getting to know people.

4182008111_9384397cb9

I think we can all be in agreement that this is the best Santa of them all.

4182009241_5e9410e27d

Oh, and hey, here is a giant cock Santa going down on Santa’s giant cock.

At the Hurricane, I ran into strand, who dyed his hair green for the occasion and it looked FABULOUS. Of course, I didn’t get a picture because I fail on every conceivable level.

After we finished up at the Hurricane, it was time for the march across Denny, where we stopped on the overpass, waved at the vehicles on the freeway below, *cough* made out with stranger Santas, and probably committed at least six felonies.

By the time we got to the REI, it was almost time for me to leave–I bumped into Sam, who introduced me to her fiancé. It was nice to see her, but I had to do a ‘hi! bye!’ because I didn’t want to miss my bus. I found the intersection where I was supposed to catch the bus, but there was no actual stop there. I found the bus itself, stopped on the side of the road. There was no one aboard, not even a driver–I knocked on the door with no answer. I walked down the street a little bit to try to find the actual stop, my mouth full of the taste of Santa and booze, when I realized I really, really, really had to pee. Really badly. Oh, hello, random port-a-potty! Oh, hello, lock on port-a-potty door! FUUUUUDGE. I looked at the bus. I looked at the otherwise empty street. I looked at the brush under the overpass. I did the potty dance. I looked at the bus again. I made my decision, and precisely when I pulled my pants down, the bus started up and drove past me. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDGE. NOW how was I supposed to get to Bothell for Shannon’s Ugly Sweater and Elf party? I attempted to high-tail it to the transfer location, figuring that missing one bus wouldn’t necessarily mean I’d miss the other if I moved quickly enough, and then I realized that of all the things I am skilled at, moving quickly is not one of them, and no matter how quickly I shuffled, I wasn’t going to make it. I resolved to meet back up with the Santas and figure out another game plan. I don’t think I have Shannon’s phone number, so I sent a text message to Emily letting her know I’d missed the bus and would be unable to make it to Bothell.

Outside the something something bar (here is where things start to get a little fuzzy), I met xaotica for the first time, who is cute as a button. We decided to leave a little early to get the jump on the Santas for the next bar, so we could get a seat inside, and grab a hot dog and a beer. This was a wise decision–the amount of Santas in the group grew exponentially, and no one had bothered to let the bars on the route know they were on the route, so we were greeted by a solitary frazzled bartender. We each got a dog and a beer and as we ate, Santas flooded into the doors like a red tide. It was around this time that I noticed I’d missed a call from Emily, who said she’d come get me; when I called her back, I got Julia on the phone and we completely miscommunicated, because I would’ve been happy to accept a ride, and she thought I was blowing them off to continue partying, so I figured I would stay with the Santas and see if I couldn’t crash at Kim’s place for the night. For some reason, the bartender bought Kimberley and I our second round, and after we finished that (I had to cut myself off at a few sips because I knew I was rapidly approaching the Danger Zone, so I passed the drink along to another thirsty Santa), we went across the street to get some coffee, away from the drunken craziness for a bit.

It was around then that Jim called and offered to come get me; he was almost at Shannon’s, but was willing to drop in there for a minute to say hi and then turn around to come and pick me up. Twenty-odd minutes later, I said goodbye to Kim, hopped in Jim’s car, and rode across the water to Shannon’s place, not alltogether too much later than the bus would have gotten me there anyway. Emily got me some food, I told people a bit about my night, Shannon started the movie, and I promptly fell asleep on her couch. Apparently, (and while I don’t doubt that it’s true, I wish that it wasn’t) I started snoringsnoozing (cuter word) loudly enough that Shannon’s dog, Sophie, thought I was challenging her, and she started growling at me intently while I slept on the couch.

Without a doubt, I am the best party guest ever.

You’d better watch out Get out if you can! A red-suited menace is sweeping the land Cause Santa Clauses are coming to town.

Get out of the way of our fake black boots We’re flooding the city with our cheap red suits Santa Clauses are coming to town!

We know what you’ve been up to, you’ve made the naughty list. So cut us in for our fair share, you don’t want these Santas pissed

 

SOOOOO get out of the way of our red-suited wave Is this any way For St. Nick to behave? Santa Clauses have come to town!

Red, White, & Dead

zombie On Friday, I met up with poetrix618 and amazoni to apply varying levels of gore to our faces for the record-breaking zombie gathering. Both Anne and Tonya made special shirts to wear–Anne’s said “I digeat geeks”, and Tonya’s was a play on the Subway ‘eat fresh’ ads: 6768_99530448939_504738939_2156330_6768098_n 6768_99530453939_504738939_2156331_5589014_n   Me? I decided I’d just go for disgusting makeup. We had a bit of fun staggering around Anne’s neighborhood, flinging blood on ourselves and on the ground near the mailbox, which is an appropriate location for any massacre, frankly. After this, we all loaded into Tonya’s car, realized we’d need to stop to buy some water, scared the crap out of some people in a Bartell’s, got on the highway in the wrong direction, and then finally started making our way to Fremont. As we got into the city, I rolled down my window and proceeded to groan at every person, car, and bicyclist we passed, and did not get ONE REACTION. NOT ONE. Maybe zombies ARE played out. 6768_99530498939_504738939_2156339_4567793_n We waited in line to register to count toward the Guinness total for about an hour, behind the most annoying child on earth and his equally annoying mother. The kid was way into the moaning thing, but it was more of the “mooooooooooooom I’m sooooooooooooooo thirsty” interspersed with loud shouty moans and his mom was dressed up like some sort of goth pirate, which, as of the last time I checked, was not the theme. This, combined with the heat, combined with the blinding sunshine and lack of glasses hence lack of focusing ability, helped reveal my true, unpleasantly dictatorial nature. I pantomimed kicking the child in the back of the head. I loudly dropped F-bombs. I noticed that Anne’s shirt was too clean and demanded she lay on the ground and do a dirt angel. NOW. NOW!! What choice did she have but to comply? 6768_99530508939_504738939_2156340_7930687_n After we finally got registered, we were given nametags. For the rest of the day, I was to be known as Moses, or at least my right boob was to be known as Moses, anyway. I, for my part, perhaps derived a bit too much pleasure from shouting “LET MY ZOMBIES GO!”. Repeatedly. 6768_99530528939_504738939_2156344_3386072_n Next, we had our photo taken by the fine folks at NightZero, and though they have not yet processed our photos, I will post it when they do. To repay them, I did my very best to try to knock down their set. As it turns out, I shouldn’t probably hang my body weight off of anything. Who knew? *edit*Oh hey, six months later, I am finally adding in the NightZero picture! 4225430017_c5a614ba00_o   6768_99530548939_504738939_2156346_6754928_n Now, this might be my true, unpleasant nature revealing itself again, but these girls? I HATE THEM. This is a zombie walk, not yet another opportunity for you to try to look sexy. Ohhhhhh loook, I’m a faerieieiey wandering amongst the zombies and I bet they all think I look so totally delicious that maybe by the end of the day they’ll make me a faerieieiey zombaiey  but if not then I still look, like, so totally cute because I need validation and whoa I just went off on a tangent there.  WE ARE NOT ATTEMPTING FOR THE WORLD RECORD IN FAIRIES, LADIES. Muttering loudly, I made my way over to the parking lot across the street to wait for the next wave of zombie walking. 6768_99530523939_504738939_2156343_1027595_n  6768_99530538939_504738939_2156345_7323580_n   6768_99530568939_504738939_2156350_46496_n 6768_99530573939_504738939_2156351_678284_n 6768_99530578939_504738939_2156352_8145832_n 6768_99530583939_504738939_2156353_6770302_n Look, ma, I’m gross!   6768_99530598939_504738939_2156356_7969742_n 6768_99530613939_504738939_2156359_5015847_n 6768_99530628939_504738939_2156361_6362122_n 6768_99530633939_504738939_2156362_4236112_n 6768_99530643939_504738939_2156363_6178836_n     We started the walk, and the poor sap driving this car picked the wrong time to be law-abiding and stop at the red. His car got swarmed, zombies were reaching in through his windows, crawling up his hood, and getting blood everywhere.   The zombies were all about general mayhem. We reached through patio gates at patrons trying to peacefully eat meals. Fake blood was smeared all over the window of the business having the ‘White Sale’. My favorite tactic was pressing my face up against the window until someone inside noticed me. At every intersection when we swarmed into the street, cars would get mobbed. In one, there was an unfortunate girl in the back seat who was clearly terrified, getting down onto the floor, covering her eyes, willing everyone to go away.     Anne, Tonya and I ended up getting separated and met at our previously agreed-upon ‘Zombie Lost & Found’. We were there when they started up another round of zombie walking, and this time I focused on photographing the hordes.   6768_99530653939_504738939_2156364_1963939_n 6768_99530658939_504738939_2156365_6461309_n 6768_99530678939_504738939_2156369_7868842_n 6768_99530683939_504738939_2156370_1520329_n 6768_99530688939_504738939_2156371_6742444_n 6768_99530703939_504738939_2156374_1728249_n 6768_99530713939_504738939_2156376_6870595_n 6768_99530728939_504738939_2156379_5447568_n 6768_99530753939_504738939_2156382_460458_n 6768_99530763939_504738939_2156384_646440_n 6768_99530768939_504738939_2156385_8228041_n 6768_99530773939_504738939_2156386_6239335_n 6768_99530778939_504738939_2156387_2433981_n 6768_99530788939_504738939_2156389_1962271_n This guy’s costume was completely awesome. He had a pole attached to his back, which dangled a brain in front of him, which not only motivated him to keep moving, but also caused zombies to swarm him. 6768_99530798939_504738939_2156391_3638787_n 6768_99530803939_504738939_2156392_5354010_n 6768_99530793939_504738939_2156390_5555246_n The King might be an undead zombie, but it’s all good. So am I. Here, you can see me surreptitiously trying to lick him. After this, we all decided we were pretty people-d out, and didn’t want to stick around for Shawn of the Dead. We ended up going to Pegasus in full makeup to have dinner–the language barrier was perhaps a bit too much for the waitress, who decided she did not want to spend a single second longer with us than she absolutely had to. I discovered that it’s difficult to eat when you’ve got a bunch of latex around your mouth. And then…things got silly. 6768_99530808939_504738939_2156393_2836985_n I know you must all want to make out with me now. Not all at once, please.

Ursula: A Halloween Costume Restrospective

ursula

I knew from the start that this costume would be a challenge–less of a challenge than I knew would be inherent in my first idea, the Borg Queen, but a challenge nonetheless. Missing eight days in the middle of the month was a much larger setback than anticipated, and in the feverish last-minute final construction, I swore more than I ever have in my entire life. Here’s what happened, and what went wrong:

I constructed the costume from pretty pretty pretty thin cheap fabric, which I intended to coat in liquid latex in order to give the whole thing a shiny, wet sea-creature look, and save an asston of money in the process by not buying the shiny-wet-look-10x-the-money-per-yard fabric in the first place. Until it was coated in the latex, I couldn’t sew the complex pieces together to get any idea of what the first fitting would be like. This turned out to be one of the biggest problems–when I finally got everything together, the top bit, by nature of the strapless costume design, had to be quite tight in order to keep from falling down and exposing myself to everyone. To this very moment, I would swear to you that I made it (with a pattern, no less!) to my measurements, but when I put it on, it was a goddamned tent. You can bet *that* was a moment for some expletives.

Liquid latex is blended with ammonia to keep it from solidifying in the container, so I took the first piece out onto my back porch in order to have plenty of fresh air to breathe; unfortunately, since I could only work on the costume in the evenings, it was too cool out for the latex to cure. With my rambunctious dog, my only other option for latex was to lay dropcloths in my room and shut the door behind me, lest he track latex everywhere or shake fur into the mixture. This meant that every time I painted latex onto cloth, my lungs were burning, and it STILL took hours to cure, much, much longer than anticipated, so I could only work on small sections of the costume at a time, and everything had to be picked up and moved so I could actually use the room to sleep in, thus the window of time I could actually work on the costume was quite small.

3009194634_16fd6860b0

Until it was entirely coated in latex, I couldn’t buff anything out with the silicone compound, so everything was sticking to itself in a most horrific manner. This was a HUGE problem. Because I don’t have a dedicated project studio and the costume bits needed to be moved around to accomodate actually LIVING in my home, no matter how careful I was, pieces would crease or fold in on themselves and one of two things would happen: Either the latex would mar when I pulled it apart, or I absolutely could not pull it apart, no matter how much I tried. This was extremely frustrating because I wanted the whole thing to look very smooth, and as creased and bunched as it got, particularly around the tops of the tentacles, it made the waistline look rotten.

I had wanted to arrange the tentacle skirt in such a way that my legs appeared to be the front two tentacles, instead of being awkward legs in the middle of a bunch of tentacles. This idea involved the procurement of super-shiny leggings from American Apparel. As it turns out, the fine folks at American Apparel have decided people my size are too fat to wear their shiny leggings, and that my money is not as good as money spent by people a size slimmer. So here’s a great big fuck you to American Apparel! For a moment, I thought I’d try it with black pantyhose, but the tentacles were cut very high in anticipation of full-coverage leggings, and had I worn pantyhose, there would currently be pictures of my junk on the internet. I know my friends love me, but probably not enough to have to look at my barely-covered ass. So again, at the very last minute, I had to change things up and I wore black pants underneath my skirt.

The tentacles were a nightmare. I’d sewn rebar tie wire to the backside, but sewing was not enough to keep the wire in place, so I had to glue the wire on with more liquid latex, which added multiple days of work that I could ill-afford. Once the topside was entirely coated in latex, then I sewed on the shiny purple undersides, and when I went to stuff the tentacles, I learned why I shouldn’t have skimped on fabric–a good portion of the seams popped immediately, and the purple fabric developed runs all over. !*^&#$ As an additional frustration, once I’d stuffed the tentacles tightly enough for the latex tops to be smooth, they were too heavy and full to be bendable, so all of the time I’d spent on wire-work was wasted.

3008381731_7e2fae9c0b

Once everything was coated in latex, my sewing machine refused to work on it any more. It wouldn’t feed anything through, so the majority of everything at the end was sewn with a giant needle and cursing that would make a sailor blush.

I determined early that I would not be able to color my skin purple without an assistant and an airbrush, so that was right out. I determined much too late (after I’d already ratted and styled my hair) that the white spray does NOT make my dark hair look white, but instead makes it look old and grey. This was, of course, also after I had spent a loooooong time doing elaborate eye makeup, so I ended up having to do a really awkward wash-out hunched under the bathtub faucet. (Of course I had to do elaborate eye makeup–Ursula’s character was based on Glenn Milstead, better known as Divine, whom I ADORE.) Pictures don’t even begin to capture it, but it was a dark, dark base and crease with reflective teal glitter pressed into the center of the lid, so it looked like flashing fish-scales when I blinked.

370_34466168939_9810_n

The trident I made by melting and shaping a plastic pitchfork over a candle to give it the proper shape and then spraypainting it gold. It’s all right as far as a prop goes, but it’s nowhere near on the level of my Wonka cane, which I was particularly proud of last year.

Here’s the thing, though: For all of the problems, people REALLY responded to this costume. Everyone who saw it recognized it, even with the fundamental changes I’d had to make in terms of skin and hair color. More people recognized this costume than recognized Willy Wonka, which I felt was FAR more screen-accurate. I hesitate to call this costume a very successful one, but I would say that I learned more in constructing this one than I have in any previous costuming attempt, which is always the goal.

Other things I learned:

*Having a skirt made of giant, floor length, thick tentacles makes it awfully difficult to sit down.

*Having a skirt made of giant, floor length, thick tentacles makes it an adventure to drive, with half of them shoved back between the driver & passenger seats, and half of them stacked up and crammed into the narrow gap between the driver’s seat and the door frame; it’s like being hugged to death by tentacles.

*When making a costume in which it’s difficult to get into and out of the car, it’s really much smarter to buy gas EARLIER in the day instead of struggling with it in front of people.

*If you’re wearing a skirt made of giant, floor length, thick tentacles, expect people to treat you like you’re wearing a skirt full of penises and act accordingly.

356_34465593939_4157_n I’m not sure what this picture says about Captain Hammer.

*Four am karaoke is really the best way to end any Halloween party.

2997963627_5eb0752688

What were YOU for Halloween? I DEMAND PICTURES.

This is Valloween; Everybody Scream!

AKA: How to Half-Ass A Costume So Spectacular You Are Permanently Disqualified From Future Costume Contests.

Saturday night was Valloween, a party combining both Halloween and Valentine’s Day in a celebration of love and murder. Naturally, there was a costume contest. Since the moment I was invited, I’d been thinking about costumes and feeling discouraged, because I was sure that every idea I liked would be from sources as unrecognizable as last year’s Annie Wilkes.

Then, as I awoke one morning, inspiration struck. Who better embodies the two facets of love and murder than Two-Face? It’s got nerd cred. It’s topical, with the new Batman movie coming out this summer and a strong ‘I support Harvey Dent’ viral marketing campaign. It’d be a fun costume. That same day, I ran out and got a suit jacket from Value Village that made me look like the captain of the Love Boat, and also promptly set it aside to continue working on stuff for Mellzah’s Midnight Carnival.

This was a mistake. Had I not waited until the day before Valloween to start working on my costume, I would’ve known earlier that Captain Merrill Stubing’s jacket didn’t want to absorb any color, and I wouldn’t have had a moment of mad panic. Having swept two Halloween costume awards in a row, this particular party crowd expects big things from me. WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO?

Step one: Look at failed costume. Moan in despair. Have a (slight) hissy fit.

Step two: Take inventory of all the costume bits and bobs you have lying around, and any supplies you have to potentially make or accessorize a costume.

Step three: Talk with a spooky costume guru–mine is shadowstitch. He ran with my Two-Face idea and tossed out a bunch of other characters with multiple faces. When he landed on the Mayor of Halloweentown, I knew he had saved Christmas.

Step four: Grab the paper that you intended to use for large drink menus but ran out of time. Figure out how to roll it into an appropriately-shaped cone. Curse at it a little bit. Realize you don’t have enough hands to hold it and tape it in all of the proper places. Curse at it a lot.

Step five: Bust out the paint and touch up a rubber squeaky spider. You may want to accidentally squeak it while painting it, convincing your dog that SURELY you are holding HIS toy hostage, so he will whine and moan and attempt to snatch it out of your hands for the remainder of the time you’re working on it. While you’re at it, mix up some paint for the head and mayoral badge.

Step six: Find a button you’re willing to sacrifice. I picked one I should’ve thrown out years ago, but was afraid that someone digging through my garbage would find it and some junk mail in my name and associate it with me. Glue this pin to the back of the mayoral badge you’ve painted.

Step seven: Realize you’re never going to make the other event you scheduled for the evening, start to panic and feel like an asshole because you’re missing deqlan‘s birthday. Take a hairdryer and start blasting the head, squeaky spider, and mayoral badge. This would be a good time to burn your hand. This would also be a good time to again accidentally squeak the rubber spider, re-alerting your dog to its presence.

Step eight: In your rush, slop paint on your clothes. Curse some more. It helps.

Step nine: More hairdryer.

Step ten: Fabulousness!

 

When I arrived at safetymonkey’s place in my half-assed costume, people immediately started asking if the head flipped around. When I showed them it did, there were audible groans of “aww fuck, she’s won again. Right there. She just won.”

Jon greeted me at the door and exclaimed that he was wondering when I’d show up and had hypothesized that I was just tired of winning. Nosir!

At the party, the ‘STD Fairy’ decided to give me gonorrhea, which, incidentally, is the one STD I can’t seem to remember how to spell. At the very least, now I know that the wikipedia entry for ‘sexually transmitted disease’ is blocked by my workplace filters. Apparently, when they sent out that handbook instructing us how to self-treat STDs, that was meant to be the last word on the subject!

When it came time to announce the contest winners, Jon stepped up and proclaimed, “There have always been two costume contest categories at our parties; best costume, and best worst costume. The time has come where we feel that we must add a third. This new category is the ‘Melissa’ category, as we feel it is unfair to make mere mortals compete against her, and otherwise she’ll continue to sweep the best costume category. ”

So, I’ve won, but I’ve also been permanently disqualified from the regular contests. Does this mean that in the future, all I’ll have to do to win my special ‘Melissa’ prize is not change my name and just show up? Time will tell!

Good morning, starshine–the earth says HELLO!

wonka

Against Vegas odds, I actually finished my costume on time to attend the Kirkland Mafia costume party on Saturday night. I’m very happy with the way it turned out, and really feel that there are only a few details that could’ve been executed better, if I had the time or gumption to fix them (I don’t.)

For instance–I wish the gloves fit more snugly. I have damn-near child-size hands, so the overall impression of my hands in these gloves is that each one of my fingers comes with its own reservoir tip, perfect in case my hands start to ejaculate or I happen to meet a man with five tiny penises.

Also, my glasses are a bit of an issue; I’d wanted to order some contact lenses, but that would’ve required two separate eye exams, one of which is uncovered by insurance, which is a ridiculous amount of effort and expense for something I’d wear so rarely. I’d ordered a really cheap pair of glasses in my prescription and planned on affixing those lenses behind the Wonka glasses’ lenses, but as of this posting, they still have not arrived, though they were ordered a month ago. Screw you, zenni optical!

I ended up wearing my glasses underneath the sunglasses–this works fine until someone takes a picture of me with a flash, whereupon you can see the outline of my glasses through the Wonka lenses. WHICH LOOKS CRUMMY.

wonka2

I’ve got a golden tiiii-cket! I’ve got a golden tiiii-cket! Many thanks to shadowstitch, who gave me a golden ticket template. I waited til the day of the party, and my printer decided that even though the black ink cartridge is full, it would only print faint outlines, so everything is colored in with a tiny sharpie. Everything that looks right about it is his doing, everything that’s vaguely screwy is my inability to color within the lines coming through.

I never realized how dim my room is until I tried to take pictures of myself in black pants, with a black vest, and black buttons, and only a silver watchfob breaking the whole mess up–it turns out that everything melds into a supermassive black hole in my midsection. Trust me–the vest turned out AMAZING. Better than I’d even dared hope!

0013xsgh

One of the details I felt helped make the costume is the ‘W’ pin, made with gentle loving care by one of my friends so I wouldn’t cut a finger off with a jewelry saw or scalp myself on a buffing wheel.

0013y49b

I love how the hatband turned out. This motherhumping thing took me forever and a day to sew (read: over forty hours on it, alone) because the 3-D details are comprised of individual, tiny stitches. It takes a special sort of lunacy to attempt something like this.

cane

I also love how the cane turned out. This thing represents no less than 5 trips to home depot, several hours worth of driving around to various stores, looking for theatre-size boxes of Nerds, a lot of cursing and a nearly hacksawed leg. The top bit is a curtain rod finial that I taped/spraypainted/sanded. The clear bit is a plastic florescent light covering, the bottom bit is a wee table leg. Running the length of the cane is a wooden doweling that takes up a good deal of the space inside the plastic tube, so it’s not filled with as many Nerds as one might expect, but it’s still nearly 3 theatre size boxes. It weighs a motherfucking TON. I could easily kill a man with it; the only problem being is that the plastic tube would surely split, filling the murder scene with candy like the victim was a man-pinata.

I’m hoping that I’ll be crowned the victor of the safetymonkey costume contest, two years running!