Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Life In Halloween Costumes

It's time for the best holiday ever invented, and since I've spent the past month before the annual candy binge helping out at my mother's house, I decided to pull some photos from my Halloween archives and share some of the ridiculous lengths I've gone to for a rocking costume. Enjoy! – KP

1984. A Skeleton

I don't know about the rest of you people, but to me, real Halloween costumes are not bought in a store ready to wear. They're made in part or in full by the wearer. Or in the case of my first costume (and a lot of them on this list), they're made by the wearer's mom.

The Skeleton overthrow I'm wearing here was sewed by my mom along with a matching pillow case-style bag that I used every year after that. They were totally boss.

1985. The First Time I Was Batman

I've loved Batman so long I have no memory of not loving Batman, which should be pretty evident by the fact that I was dressing as him at the age of four. I'm not sure if I was routinely crashing my Super Powers Batmobile into everything in our house at every available possibility at this point, but I am pretty sure I'd already taken to watching the old Adam West show and taking it 110% seriously by then. (If you see me sometime, ask me to tell the story about when I met Adam West. It's way too long to post here.)

I don't remember much else from when I was four, but I remember this costume…probably because I kept wearing the mask around the neighborhood for years after that and insisting that my friend Kyle Davis was Robin because he was shorter than me and had black hair.

1986. A Ghost

Everyone should dress up as a traditional "spooky Halloween character" at least once in their life. For me it was as a ghost, and I think the silver-lined costume mom made is still somewhere in our house. Although, both my brother Brian and I got way more mileage out of his Dracula cape and teeth, the latter of which probably gave us more shared colds than we can remember.

1987. A Policeman

When I was a kid, my dad was a police officer in our hometown of Flint, Michigan. His tenure on the force meant that we had both a lot of crazy legendary family police stories (the time my aunt maced herself, the time dad's partner accidentally shot a hole through our bathroom wall) and a lot of old police equipment in our garage, including the real gun belt I'm rocking here. Also, that odd looking helmet comes from my dad's short stint riding with Flint's mounted division (Yes, Flint, Michigan employs police on horseback).

1988. Darth Vader

When you're a little brother, it's a fact of life that most of your clothing comes in the form of things your older brother has grown out of. Sometimes this happens with Halloween costumes too, including this Darth Vader getup. I seriously didn't mind, though, as the costume was super dope. The front piece breathing apparatus my mom made by wrapping a bunch of material around one of those single serving Frosted Flakes boxes with buttons sewn on the front. Pretty slick, mom.

I honestly think the above pic is one of my brother in the costume from the year before, but for reals, how could I not include a picture of FUCKING VAMPIRE SPIDER-MAN?!?!?

1989. The Second Time I Was Batman

When Tim Burton's "Batman" film came out in 1989, I spent the summer collecting every toy, trading card, magazine, glow-in-the-dark Frisbee, mail away bank from a cereal box and Prince "Batdance" cassette single imaginable. Was there any doubt that I'd dress as the black-clad version of the Dark Knight that Halloween? No. But who could have guessed I'd look so bad ass.

In the most telling of our costume pairings, Brian (my real life archnemesis) dressed as the Joker (my fake Halloween archnemesis). We're totally cool now. I think that I wore that Batman costume every day for a week straight…possibly without showering (less gross when you're eight).

1990. Dick Tracy

Unfortunately, I was unable to find any of the pictures of me in the totally awesome Dick Tracy trench coat mom sewed for me out of yellow corduroy which we still have. Fortunately, I was able to find the official Dick Tracy fedora and signal watch I wore to lend authenticity to the ensemble. That watch was fucking awesome because it both told the time and lit up when I decided to call into headquarters Warren Beatty style.

1991. Moon Knight

Unless someone presents evidence to the contrary, I'm going to go ahead an assume that I am the only 4th Grader in the history of America to dress up as Doug Moench, Don Perlin and Bill Sienkiewicz's werewolf-fighting, billionaire, schizophrenic superhero Moon Knight. And you know what? I'm totally cool with that.

1992. Cyclops

In the summer of 1992, my family moved to the suburb town of Grand Blanc, making me change schools for the first time. In retrospect, I probably did myself no favors in terms of fighting the "weird new kid who likes comic books way too much" stereotype by dressing up as Cyclops and answering questions as to who I was by saying, "I'm Cyclops. I used to be in the X-Men, but now I lead X-Factor." But how could I resist dressing up like this sweet Marvel Universe trading card by Ron Lim?

I made the visor myself by cutting out the red lenses from two pair of 3D glasses and affixing them to a felt headband by way of thread and an insane amount of hot glue gun work. I recall walking down the hallway of my new school and having an older kid ask aloud, "Did he seriously make that mask himself?" and thinking, "Uh…yeah! Because I wouldn't really be Cyclops without a ruby quartz visor, you fucking loser!"

1993. Clark Kent

Believe it or not, there was a time pretty recently in America where cheap T-shirts with Superman's S-Shield were not sold at every kiosk in the local mall, so when "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" debuted, combining my twin nerd loves of comic book superheroes and romantic comedies, I had to have my saintly grandmother put together this shirt by giving her a Dan Jurgens comic to use as a model.

1994 – 1997. The Lost Years

Two things happened between the time I was in 6th Grade and my Sophomore year of high school: the Phegley family kind of stopped taking photos of any kind and caring about how cool your Halloween costume was became pretty low on the priority list for my peer group (I think puberty may have something to do with the latter). End result in terms of this essay? I have no photos or really a lot of recollection of costumes from that period. I'm pretty sure I did something comic related most of the time and know that in the 8th Grade I was The Shadow because of that not-so-great Alec Baldwin movie, but beyond that…I got nothing. Luckily, things started looking up in high school when I met a group of friends who got back into the costume game for an annual Halloween party at my friend Lauren's house, leading to…

1998. Jay & Silent Bob

I know this costume choice may be perceived as a point against me for some of you, but you know what? When I was 17, the only movies Kevin Smith had made were "Clerks," "Mallrats," and "Chasing Amy" so Cullen Brown and I pretty much figured he could do no wrong. Plus, it allowed me to swear in front of adults and not get yelled at because I was "in character."

Note Cullen's candy cigarettes and my brown bagged bottle of lemonade (we were good kids) and my Clerks comic book T-shirt by the always link-worthy Jim Mahfood.

1999. Starman

James Robinson's Starman comic is still my favorite monthly series of all time, so I had no qualms about going to a party with swim goggles on my head, an ugly Hawaiin shirt (which I actually wore A LOT back then) and a "cosmic rod" I made with half an old hiking stick with a yellow ball from the MacDonald's ball pit glued on the end. What you can't see in this picture of me dancing poorly with my buddy Kegmeister (who apparently went as some sleazy greaseball) is that I had nerd cred on my side that night as my costume included DC's official Starman tin badge that I'd bought at a con that summer. Represent.

2000. Shaggy & Velma

My Freshman year of college, my girlfriend Jami and I had a whole scheme with a bunch of other kids in our dorms to go out for Halloween parties dressed as the gang from Scooby-Doo. Unfortunately, no one else came through, but screw those kids…we looked hot anyway. But you know…without Jami, my costume isn't much of a costume as it consisted of a Phish T-shirt and a pair of hippie pants my brother sewed himself and then gave to me when he joined the army. I would've worn that anyway in college.


2001. Tommy Chong & Josie

Although I couldn't find a photo of it, Sophomore year of college my roommate Justin and I did a costume team-up going as Cheech and Chong. But really, our costumes weren't that great. They were more or less an excuse to walk around campus blitzed all day. Other such excuse days included Martin Luther King Day, Columbus Day, Bastille Day, Day After Midterms Day and Tuesdays. On the up swing, Jami and her roommates pulled off a rad Josie & the Pussycats trio inspired by the totally underrated movie by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont.

2002. Green Lantern & Hello Kitty

I know nothing about the costume screams it, but in my mind I was always Kyle Rayner and not Hal Jordan, which is funny as the ring I'm wearing is actually autographed by Alan Scott creator Mart Nodell. If you understand anything about that last sentence, you're a nerd.

Above is a picture of me and a guy dressed like "Piano Man" era Billy Joel.

2003. The Third Time I Was Batman

Jami and I returned to the couples theme Senior year as Batman and Catwoman. I know what you're thinking, and you're right…Batman does not wear glasses under his cowl or have a beard. But you know what? He does wear his underpants outside his regular pants, so you've got to give me some credit there, right?

2004 – Present.

The past few years, my few meager attempts at Halloween costumes have been forgettable and unphotographed, but this year Jami and I are making a dramatic return, and I promise to post a photo or two next week.

Thanks, y'all!


Ben Morse said...

Awesome awesome awesome! Your mom is amazing and that Moon Knight costume is terrifying regardless of how old you were.

Anonymous said...

More amazing, you're still with your freshman year girlfriend!

Shano said...

That cyclops costume was bad ass.

Anonymous said...

Whoa! Awesome post! Now I'm kicking myself for not having thought of being Shaggy for a Halloween... It was my nickname in Jr. High!

Gotta love being non-mainstream comic characters on Halloween. Once when I worked at a comic shop we had this 11 year old kid come in in a home made Deadpool outfit.

Justin said...

This is a great-ass post, Kiel (and I echo the comment on anonymous about long-term relationships - I'm for 'em).

The first costume I remember wearing was Underdog, and I had no clue who Underdog was for at least another 10 years, so I don't know who decided to dress me as underdog. My stereotypical spooky Halloween costume was a devil, and I'm pretty sure one year I went as Batman using a mask that my dad drew on part of a paper plate...although that particular mask might have just been for everyday play purposes.

You know, putting Vampire Spider-Man next to Vader makes him look a LOT like Darth Maul. Prescient!

Anonymous said...

you were seriously Moon Knight one year?

not like you weren't before, but you are officially in my cool book.

David Ryan said...

you're beard is currently out of control, and i had the same dick tracy hat.

Dan Moilanen said...

Goddamnit, I love being a nerd.

Lauren said...

Dude - I remember the Scooby-Doo year!! :-) Good memories!

mmmmm. said...

I think you're forgetting your 2007 appearance as Green Hornet:

Anonymous said...

Awww, your were an adorable CK!

Makes me a little homesick to see the old GB homestead.

Rickey said...

A. If you get around to shaving your beard off, weight it and share with me your scientific findings.


6. That Dick Tracy watch is sweet. I remember wanting one so badly, but I got a Star Trek: The Next Generation tricorder instead. Poop.

7. I miss you.

Leigh Walton said...

My older brother is about your age. At some point in the early 90s (probably after Batman Returns) I was Batman (complete with homemade cowl and its sad wilty fabric ears) and he was actually Nightwing.

I remember him getting really tired of explaining it to people as we went trick-or-treating.

Mike Johnson said...

Iam very fond of halloween and i always wait for it. my favorite costume was always been batman i love him a lot and these posters are fantastic

Unknown said...

I love this blog specially becuase I really like halloween, the party and i love to go out with my litle girl, she really enjoy to ask in every house for a candy.
In the night the party is only between my husband and i, usually i buy viagra and my husban is a real machine.

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Authentic Batman Costumes said...

I find it amazing that you were Batman not once but three times! Really cool! I think that being batman has a certain appeal that people just do not understand until the suit it up in the Dark Knight Garb

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geoswan26 said...

Any clue where I might find one of those cool Dick Tracy watches?

Ysabella said...

Love the Batman costumes although it isn't The Dark Knight costumes. Still, very cute!

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Rahul saini said...

This won't have effect in fact, that's exactly what I believe.Any clue where I might find one of those cool Dick Tracy watches?