Jenga Costume part 3

back to part 1 | part 2

What a day I had at work the next day. Bad. I had stayed up until almost 2am cutting and gluing, and I was exhausted. 

When 5 o'clock came, I scrambled home to pick up the Jenga pieces, bid adieu to Mike and his pink bunny costume and headed for San Francisco.

Traffic was surprisingly light, and I made it to Mark and Stacy's Halloween party in record time, where Mark greeted me with open fingers.

Unfortunately, the Jenga costume was too large to wear indoors, so I was in my street clothes, which was unfortunately misrecognized as a "Vanilla Ice" costume. 

The lousy thing about having Halloween on a Friday night is that there was only one night to strut my handiwork and work out any bugs. I was anxious to hit the party streets, so I excused myself and drove out to the area where Castro meets Market in Downtown San Francisco.

So, the second problem with having a giant costume, besides not being able to wear it indoors, is that you can't take a taxi to Castro and Market.

I finally found a mostly-legal hillside parking spot at Frederick street & Buena Vista Avenue West, which turned out to be really quite far away from the action. When I hauled everything out of my car and began assembling the bits, I realized that I had left behind a very important item - the package of zip ties!

Things looked very grim.

In Adrift - Seventy Six days lost at sea Steve Callahan wrote "Sometimes I wonder if one of the major reasons for ocean racing and voyaging is to push one's self and one's boat just past the edge, watch things fail, and then somehow come up with a solution".

I tried to invoke the spirit of McGuyver and piece it together. Twenty very frustrating minutes passed on the side of the road. The low point was when one of the vital PVC tubes rolled down the dark paved hillside and disappeared. I had to literally crawl around under seven cars before I spotted it.

Finding the PVC tube gave me new hope. I pieced the costume together and headed very slowly toward what I hoped was an insane street party.

Unlike other constructions, the Jenga costume was really heavy. 

I walked down Castro until Market Street came into view, it was a mad house, and I waded in.

People on the street really enjoyed the Jenga costume, including two reactions that I wasn't expecting: chanting and pushing.

One of the first people I met was Patrick Wilkins. I asked him to send a photo, and he sent six, which you can see below.

Thanks Patrick!


I have to remember to build a cup-holder in my next costume.

My favorite big costume from that night was the Ba'ath party, complete with beards, tub and shower curtains.

Chants of  "Jenga!   Jenga!   Jenga!"  erupted from the crowd on at least 12 occasions. It was awesome! I had completely forgotten this bit of the Jenga story.

The downside is that Jenga has a reputation for falling over, so I was assaulted by many pushy revelers, which tested my patience. 

I'll use this lesson to avoid other assault-provoking costumes in the future, such as the "punching bag", the "drum kit", the "Ford Pinto", "dartboard", "risen dough" and "giant banana" costumes.


A closer look at the Jenga markings.

Another high point was when a gal with purple wings asked from a distance, "what are you supposed to be?". Before I could answer, the guy from Monopoly walked by and announced, "It's Jenga!", which got a big laugh.

The crowd was awestruck by this scene.

Photo by Patrick Wilkins.

At about 1:20am, the police made announcements to clear the streets, and began running water-spraying street-cleaning trucks up and down Market Street one after another, making the area incredibly uncomfortable.

I headed back to my car, but only got about 100 yards before my costume finally crumpled from the abuse.  

The Jenga tower collapsed.

I saved 10 panels to sell on ebay.

I slipped out of the falling house of cards and salvaged the backpack. I was surprised to find that my costume had been tagged!

Overall, I think the Jenga costume was a success, if only for one night. Next year has Halloween on a Sunday, which means three-times the costumed action. I'll be ready.



Sarah's medusa costume

Jenga Costume part 1

Other incredible stuff  | Africa Costume | Fish Costume | Paparazzi | Silver Wings | California Costume | Home | Contact Rob

Mark Hamilton warned me about potential Jenga pushing long before the costume was finished. He was right!

December 11th, 2003.  

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