Happy Halloween


Halloween was last weekend, and that meant it was time to bust out the beard that I'd been working so diligently to grow and groom for the past few months. I've never been one to make a big deal out of halloween, so I can't really explain what got into me on this all-hallows-eve to drive such a desire to whoop-it-up while costumed.

My goal was to go as Brian Wilson, aka "the closer," aka "b-weez," aka "the machine" - my favorite all-star relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. You may have seen him on television recently, staring in commercials for Taco Bell as "the closer" who comes in to assist hapless border-eaters finish the new XXL Chalupa (link to Taco Bell Black Ops commercial)... he's hilarious for a number of reasons, but I think I like him most because he doesn't seem to take himself too seriously. He'll happily make a spectacle of himself if it means getting a laugh or a rise out of someone. Oh, and he's a pretty decent pitcher and a pretty B.A. dude.

I spent a few weeks gathering gear for the costume. Some online shopping netted a jersey, grey baseball pants, orange-and-black shoes, and a Giants baseball hat. A trip to the local sporting goods store yielded a black baseball glove (I'm embarrassed to report that I didn't previously own a baseball glove), and a final trip to the Oakley store resulted in a set of dark black shades.

I made an appointment for some hair color and a cut, and before I knew it, the transformation was complete:


Yep - mohawk and all. Told you I went "all in" on the costume effort. :-)


(That's me on the left, at the incredibly busy State Street Freakfest party - more on that in a bit)

Saturday morning arrived, and I ran in the Haunted Hustle, a local 10K event (that also featured a half-marathon and a full-marathon). I originally planned to run the half-marathon, but I'm really struggling with consistency and distance with my running... I've basically sluffed-off for the past few months, running 3-4 miles per day, 4-5 days per week... ugh. As a result, I've gained about 15-pounds and have lost a lot of motivation. I've got to find my mojo again, but enough complaining...

On Saturday evening, one of the local bars was having a costume contest, so I decided to join some friends there to watch the Badger football game and enjoy the various costumes and antics. There were some absolutely amazing costumes, including a set of four "Hungry Hungry Hippos," a couple that were dressed as Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein, Beetlejuice, and a ton of Clay Matthews.

One of the best costumes came by way of an employee of the bar, who dressed-up as the owner of the bar. He even shaved a bald spot into his head - talk about dedication!!

Here's me, with the owner of the bar:


And here I am with Chad, dressed as the owner of the bar (the theme for the night was "Disco and the 70s," which is why Chad is dressed as a Saturday Night Fever incarnation of Joel):


Every time I see that photo, it cracks me up... Another photo that has brought joy to my otherwise cold and calloused heart is this one - it's of me with the first place prize (a nice cash gift) for the costume contest. Yep, that's right - I won first place in the costume contest! w00t!


My pockets flush with cash, I decided it might be fun to venture down to Madison's most infamous Halloween gathering - Freakfest. Freakfest is a public costume party that's held on State Street, and attracts anywhere between 25,000 and 100,000 people each year. It had earned a reputation for violence and debauchery, but has since been cleaned-up dramatically. I'm pleased to announce that this year was extremely calm - I witnessed nothing illegal or violent.


With my ticket firmly in hand, I waded my way through the thousands of people, nearly all of whom were dressed in some type of costume. I started near the capital square and worked my way west toward the university plaza. Along the way, I was stopped at least 100 times to take pictures with various people - everyone knew me as "the Taco Bell guy" or "the Closer." It was sort of crazy. I even took pictures with Madison police officers (at their request)!

It took me nearly 2 hours to work my way down State Street; once at the bottom, I listened to a band that was playing near the State Street Brats bar/restaurant, and then decided to head home. On my way back to the car (I decided to avoid State Street and instead walked up Langdon), I ran into another Brian Wilson fan - this guy was wearing the spandex suit that Wilson wore to the ESPYs, but had a fake beard and a fake 'hawk. I'll still give him points for the effort:


In addition to the costume contest and State Street, I was also invited to a party at Mike and Ginger's house. I spent most of the summer riding my bike with Mike and Ginger - they're both members of the Capital Brewery Cycling Club, and we became pretty decent friends as a result. They graciously invited me to their house for a costume party, and I was totally excited to attend.

Here's Mike and me, posing rather goofily. I think his costume gave me a touch of vertigo!


Mike's wife, Ginger, was dressed as a Queen from a chess game, so together they were a Chess Queen and Chess Board.

Even their dog, Roux, got involved with the party:


Mike and Ginger are great folks, but they're even greater because they know how to throw a party. They had an incredible spread of goodies - everything from roasted red pepper hummus with pita chips to sweet potato chips to hot apple cider, and these awesome cupcakes that were made to look like owls thanks to the creative inclusion of Oreos, Runts, and Junior Mints:


And check out this salsa/taco salad - it featured a tomatillo-and-black-bean salsa, along with lettuce, pico de gallo, and cheese. It was super tasty:


Monday rolled around (the actual Halloween holiday), and at literally the very last moment (around 4:15pm), I decided to hand out candy from the house. I invited a few co-workers over to help, we ran to Target for bags of candy, and then set-up in the garage. One of them had a great idea - why not provide treats for parents as well? So, we whipped-up some "spiked" pineapple and threw a few tall-boys in the fridge.

We set-up a table in the garage, cranked-up the space heater, and got ready for the hordes of trick-or-treaters:


...and about 3 kids showed-up. Apparently the house is located on "the wrong side" of a major road that kids don't really like to cross (and I don't blame them - I hate running alongside it as well). So, we called another co-worker who lived just down the road and decided to combine our efforts at his place. We packed-up our things, met with Chris, and proceeded to run out of candy within about 20 minutes. We spent the rest of the evening standing near a roaring fire-pit, greeting trick-or-treaters, and shooting the bull until it became too cold to be outside.

So there you have it - Halloween 2011 in a nutshell. Now I just need my hair to grow out a bit so that I don't feel like such a spectacle, and all will be normal again.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve published on November 5, 2011 3:14 PM.

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