Costume: Paparazzi 2

Costume: Paparazzi 2

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When halloween falls on a Sunday, halloween is a three-contest weekend.

There was no night to recover. I woke up and repaired my costume, replacing most of the batteries. I also weighed my costume for the first time, 22 lbs.


Sunday Night: Thunder Valley Howl at the Moon


There were a few costume contests scheduled for Sunday night, but the largest prizes were definitely at Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, California.

After some trick or treating with Stacy and the kids, I threw the costume into the back of our car and headed to Lincoln.

I had never been to Thunder Valley Casino, so I was somewhat anxious about how the contest was going to work. It only takes one tiny door to ruin a big costume, so I prefer to know as much as possible about the layout of an event before I arrive.

I pulled into the parking lot, hoisted my costume onto my shoulders and made my way towards the elevators. I had heard that the casino would be wary of costumed characters, but that as long as my face was visible, I'd be ok.

The elevator doors opened and I was on the gaming floor, staring at an endless phalanx of slot machines. Weird! I was looking for a ballroom or arena, but that's not how it worked. I just had to register at a table, pose for a photograph and I was done.

Scott met up with me a little after 9pm. We had an hour until registration was closed, an another hour after that to hear who won. We were free to roam. There was no stage to cross at midnight, we just had to wait until 11 pm for the results to be announced.

So we roamed. We decided to stick to soda, which we were delighted to find out was free. For much of the evening, I wondered what I would do with $5,000 in free play. It appeared as though I would need to spend the money on slot machines. I'm sure the odds are terrible, but I could walk away with half of that in winnings, couldn't I? I was nervous just pondering the thought. It really was an exciting prospect!

But I hadn't won anything yet.

A procession of costumed patrons came in and made the rounds, but there were no transformers. I had high hopes.

We made a round through the table games, interrupting a few hands while people stopped to take their pictures with us. There were an amazing number of employees in the casino, and all of them seemed appreciative of our efforts.

A "three blind mice" costume was unexpected, and we spent some time talking to her. Chinese to go box and Sushi shared their costume-constructing woes. Sushi had cut hundreds of styrofoam popcorn kernels in half, and painstakingly glued them onto her costume.

Finally, a little after eleven, the costumed people congregated in the bandstand area and awaited an announcement.

The MC announced that the judges had had a difficult time choosing, so they decided to award 10 runners-up prizes as well as the $1000 and $5000 prizes.

Scott was the first one announced. "Oscar the Grouch!". The crowd cheered.

To enter, we had all been required to sign up with a Thunder Valley Club card, and they let us know that if we won, the money would automatically be credited to our cards. Pretty slick, right?

I got through the honorable mentions and we were onto the $1000 prizes. These included best impersonation, most creative, scariest, and sexiest.

I didn't see any "giant" costumes besides my own. I was beginning to get the feeling I could win the grand prize.

I won! Not the grand prize, but $1000 for "most creative". Even after winning, I didn't lose hope, maybe I was still eligible to win the grand prize?

No! It went to "the four seasons" foursome dressed as winter, summer, spring and fall. $5,000!

My stomach dropped. It sure is odd to be heartbroken after winning $1,000, so I kept my cool and flashed a path out of the crowd.

Scott was disappointed for me. We both figured the four seasons were actual Thunder Valley patrons instead of costume ringers who crashed their party expecting first and second place.

You never know what's going to happen in a costume contest!

So, it was a great year. I had a stellar time at three different parties and was a finalist in three different contests. The paparazzi costume survived the trauma, so I'll probably hold on to it or parade it around on special occasions.

My parting question is this: How much should I expect to win on $1,000 of slots play?

part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

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