Halloween Costume Contest
Sometimes it's not evident that I love Halloween as much as I do. The decorations on the outside of my house are minimal and up until this year, I had never been to a costume contest before.
For years I've been following the adventures of Rob Cockerham at cockeyed.com. He is exciting, talented, dimple-cheeked and modest. These are things I like.
Every year Rob creates elaborate Halloween costumes, then attends massive costume contests in California where the top prizes are huge cash awards, sometimes thousands of dollars. This year, Rob was my inspiration.
2008 marks the return of Futurama. A number of full-length feature movies have been created and the first two have already been aired. Showing my love for Futurama, and Bender in particular, I made a Bender costume. Here is the link to how I built it.
Days before Halloween I noticed two local restaurants were having costume contests. Since our annual Halloween party almost always falls on the same day as these pub, bar and restaurant contests, I've never been able to attend one. But this year Halloween (and thus, the parties and contests) fell on a Friday.
I phoned the Whistling Walrus and asked a few questions. I learned that the crowd would be cheering for their favourite costumes and the top prize was a Future Shop gift certificate, but they would not disclose the amount.
The Boston Pizza near our University was judging the contest the same way, with crowd cheers. Top prize there was $200 cash for best male, and $200 cash for best female. I decided this would be the one I'd attend.
At 10 p.m. Suz and I loaded the components to my costume into the Insight and drove about 1 kilometre to Boston Pizza. Inside, the bar was starting to fill up. Many people were dressed up, but nothing as elaborate as the manager in his totally authentic Ghostbuster costume! I mean, this thing looked like it actually worked. I could practically smell the ectoplasm on him, but maybe that was melted cheese.
The staff was dressed up and many of them loved my costume. Costumed people entered the bar area and many times rushed over to me to pose for pictures. I loved this! But I had never been to a contest before and didn't know how to work the room. I was very nervous. Luckily the Pope calmed me down and I went back to the bar where I calmed my nerves some more - and fueled my power cells at the same time.
Just before 11:30 the Ghostbusting manager made an announcement that the contest was going to start soon. The bar was packed. Every table had 6.2 people crammed around it and it was difficult to walk around. It was getting so full that people began beaming in.
Suddenly the crowds parted as a Christian Bale Batman and a Heath Ledger Joker entered the bar. They were, in a word, phenomenal. Batman's voice was perfect as he commented to me, "nice costume." The Joker moved about the room easily winning people over.
A few minutes later the manager called all contestants to the front. There were just under 20 people entered in the contest. The rest of the bar, well over 100 people, watched carefully as we all stood at the front.
After each name was called, that particular person climbed onto a table and the crowd cheered. The Pope garnered a huge applause. The transvestite did too. The morals of the bar were split.
One of the Incredibles got a big cheer, as did the red Power Ranger. Batman put on a great display and his his applause was excellent. But the Joker stole the show. With his slick hair and evil stares, the Joker was clearly winning the bar over. The applause was thunderous. I knew I had lost but decided that I was still very happy that so many people loved my costume and wanted to talk to me about it.
My turn came to climb onto the table.
The manager helped me up and I turned to face the crowd. As I slid my Bender helmet over my head I became deafened by the cheering. The bar erupted as I held my cigar and waved. People stood up. An entire table chanted "BENDER! BENDER! BENDER!" at the top of their lungs. I snapped my magnetic cigar onto my mouth and the crowd doubled their effort! I was amazed! I couldn't believe how strong the love was for beer-drinking, black-jack-playing, thieving Bender.
I stepped down, proud of my effort. I thought to myself, "That was close, but I think I might've won!" After a short tally the manager came back with his mic to hand out the prizes. 2nd place male went to.... the Joker! Everyone clapped and cheered. The manager then handed me the envelope, the one containing the $200 cash prize, and announced, "First place goes to Bender people!"
The Joker gave me a knowing grin from across the bar. After a few pats on the back from my fans, I went outside and congratulated the Joker on a good battle. I talked to the manager again and walked around meeting more people. I thanked all the meatbags who cheered for me before heading home, the giddy winner of Boston Pizza's 5th annual Halloween Costume Contest.
Bender & the manager.
How I made my Bender costume.