After a day off for recovery and repairs, halloween had arrived and it was time for the big show.
I had also made one improvement, attaching an ipod and portable speaker rig, so I could blast a loop of Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me".
Some of the best competition at the zone ball in recent years has come from my friends Scott Holden and Greg A. In years past, Scott has been Oscar the Grouch, Starscream and King Kong. Greg won in 2007 and 2008 with his incredibly detailed Predator costume.
This year, Greg had forewarned us that he had a new costume, and the pictures backed up the fact that it was spectacular, a huge Bumblebee from the Transformers movies.
Can you believe this thing? Awesome.
However, he was after bigger fish this year, and was planning a halloween trip to Las Vegas.
Scott was coming to win. He had been engineering his masterpiece for months, and had successfully rendered his own stilted mega-costume: Luke Skywalker on a tauntaun.
Scott's costume was just incredible. It looked terrific. It was really hard to believe that a single person could pull off such a beast! He had even engineered his own custom stilts to make the legs look right.
Read the complete story of Scott's Tauntaun costume.
To win I'd have to somehow ruin his costume.
The geico money already had a mark in the WIN column, and it was winning fans over from the moment I loaded it into the car.
Said one idling skateboarder, "That is the sickest thing I've ever seen".
Arriving at the zone ball.
As I locked my car and ducked into the Gieco money, I watched a line of cars creep toward open parking spots. Every person, in every car looked over and waved with a big smile. They loved it! Walking was easy, and the costume was surprisingly light, but my limited vision was going to make navigation and communication challenging.
Inside the building was chaos. I was besieged by photographers. They came in waves, so I had to take advantage of occasional breaks where I could escape to find the costume contest qualifying stage.
So, like every year, I stumbled up the steps and put on a show to earn my "contestant" wristband. But this year I didn't get a contestant wristband! I walked off stage emptyhanded. One of the event workers approached me and asked me to come back in 30 minutes. He said that they wanted to make sure that the very best costumes got into the big contest, and that they were on the fence about mine.
Still, I was confident I'd be among the top costumes by anyone's reconing, so I walked away from the mini-stage and into a throng of thongs.
What a great costume. People, as you might guess, loved the idea of standing next to the elusive stack of money. Geico has advertised the hell out of this thing, so almost every person knew what I was and many wanted a picture.
After I while I spotted Scott's Tauntaun and headed over to welcome him. It looked awesome! He was on his way to the qualifying stage, and I was due back for a second try at a wristband, so I followed him up.
And for a second time, I came away with no wristband! Ahhggg! This was pretty frustrating. But, I had advocates. I'd met up with Jerry, my co-worker, who had witnessed my overwhelming support within the crowd, and he was ready to help me get into the main contest.
Scott also came to ask what was up and he got the whole story from the mini-judges table. In previous years, they had given out about 20 "contestant" wristbands to the top costumes, but this year, perhaps to limit the duration of the "best costume" contest, they were only giving out FIVE. They were being pretty stingy with them, wanting to make sure that only the very best costumes got into the $5,000 contest.
Crap. This was not good. I suspected that in the beginning of pre-judging, they had given out wristbands to some middling costumes, and were now hoarding their remaining wristbands, waiting for a haunted aircraft carrier or something to bust through the door.
So, I stood around for a while, contemplating my next move. Cameras approached and snapped more pictures. I fumed.
I grabbed a beer with Jerry and came up with a plan. I'd hang out by the stage door with the actual finalists, trying to squeeze in. My biggest selling point was that groups of people were constantly stopping me and squealing to get a photograph. This was the most popular costume I'd ever worn, and I was determined to make that clear to the producers back stage.
There couldn't really be five better costumes here, could there?
The wristbanded contestants began gathering near the stage and I waited. The Kiss girls were there, A group from GI Joe, a walking coffin, Luke on the Tauntaun, Red skull giant, "One night stand" and me, the money you could be saving with Geico.
The other contestants were ushered backstage and I remained outside. Jerry continued to argue my case to the doorman,
I could see the other contestants gathering onstage. This sucked.
But then! Everything! Got! FIXED!
The doorman let me in! I fumbled at the curtain, but someone took my hand and led me to the stairs! The contest had already started so I shuffled over behind the KISS girls, waiting my turn. My late, panicked entry onto the stage had captured the entire audience's attention. They saw me.
Photo by Raymond Nguyen
Photosets below potentially not safe for work (NSFW)
The MC spotted me, but it wasn't my turn yet.
The foursome from GI Joe got booed! This was going to be interesting.
Huge applause! I gestured for more noise and the crowd responded. YES!
The MC cleared everyone but the top four costumes and lined us up for a second round. The nightstand got third, which was ridiculous, and it was down to Gieco and the Tauntaun.
"GEICO!" I pumped my fists, dropped to my knees and did a few ill-advised spins.
The crowd loved both. It was close! The MC looked at the DJ. They weren't sure.
"Just to be sure, lets go one more time. Cheer for the costume you want to win"
GEICO! More gesticulation and wild applause. I may have humped the tauntaun's tail.
Tauntaun! Huge applause. The crowd loved both of us.
"Ok! It's Geico second, and your winner, Luke Skywalker on a tauntaun!" Scott won!
What a night! I walked around with electrified blood for the rest of the night. What fun! A spectacular finish.
From the lowest low to the highest high in less than 15 minutes! What an awesome rollercoaster.
I snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat, with tremendous debt owed to the quick thinking and silver tongue of Jerry Lawson. Thanks Jerry!
I took home a huge pile of money.
Home, in the full light of day, the damage to the costume was apparent. More than one person had set their cocktails on top, leaving a smeared ribbon of ink down to the eye holes. Lipstick decorated the front, blood was on top and the back had been tagged!
I don't have any evidence, but I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who has ever had two separate halloween costumes graffittied!
The costume was thrashed. It had given its all.
A few days after halloween, I had one more prize arrive.
The National Confectioner Association had sponsored a virtual costume contest on the candy dish blog. Asking people what topical costume they planned to build for halloween.
I found out about it through the onion's AV club.
I had entered the "Money you could be saving with Geico" idea and won the candy! It showed up in a big box a few days later.
What a winning October! I should have entered the Autumn Olympics!page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Spinning Tornado Costume |
Scott's AT-ST Costume |
Balloon Hut |
Feather Pinwheel |
QR Code Costume |
Paparazzi Costume #2 |
Solid Ice Beer Caddy |
Greg's Whiplash Costume |
Lloyd Dobler Boombox Costume |
Best Costumes on the Internet |
The Money you Could be Saving with Geico Costume |
Urban Gardening |
Kindling - wooden Kindle |
Box of See's Candy Costume |
Dwight Shrute Bobblehead Costume |
The Light Sharpener - satellite dish solar cooker |
The American Idol Judges Halloween Costume |
Sudoku Costume |
The Infinite Candelabra |
Baby June, hospital childbirth |
Hero's Engine |
Devo Hats |
Dr. Octopus Costume |
Jenga Costume |
Banana Skin Coat |
California costume |
paper mache satan |
spring shoes |
metallic wings |
fire without matches |
paper mache hummingbird |
paparazzi costume |
matchstick cats |
fish costume |
ketchup packet bear |
Africa costume |
push to cross sign |
paper mache globe |
paper mache alien |
pet coffin |
paper mache Elvis
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November 6, 2009.