How to win a costume contest
Yes, the headline is a bit of a trick; we can’t tell you exactly how to win costume contests at bars. But we can give you some hints and ideas to spark your imagination.Because, at many contests, winning that longboard or cash hinges on creativity.”You don’t have to spend a lot; it’s just creativity,” said Dewey Moffitt, manager of the Goat Soup & Whiskey Tavern in Keystone. “Shock value and creativity. You have to grab the attention of the room. When heads turn, you usually know your winner.”This weekend, the Goat offers a couple themes for your costuming pleasure. Tonight, dress up as your favorite dead celeb- Moffitt’s already heard talk about incarnations of Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean showing up. For Saturday’s “any celebrity” theme, he suggests drawing from recent pop culture. The Dirty Birds, the band that plays tonight, came up with the theme, but Goat owner Scott Jackson recalls the “best party” theme being House of Blood, which prompted “all these beautiful women all chopped up and bloody dressed in gowns with bloody faces,” he said.Burke & Riley’s in Breckenridge also gives direction through its themes: Tonight’s theme is pirates, Saturday’s is 70’s disco, and Sunday is sports.”We wanted to pick something that wasn’t going to break the bank,” said manager Kevin Holmquest. “Something people could use their imagination with, and use stuff at home. Imaginations tend to win – and being a little vocal and looking like you’re having fun. Partner, couple and group costumes draw attention too.”A few memorable get-ups in his mind include Dog the Bounty Hunter and his wife, Beth, and the tallest T, a play on snowboarders’ long T-shirts. That particular costume resulted in T-shirts linked all the way to the floor.”(Make them) humorous and recognizable,” Holmquest said, adding that everybody does Gothic. “Up-to-date, newsworthy – celebrities, rock stars do well – stuff people can relate to.”And, of course, everyone can relate to sex.”Sex is important for adults on Halloween,” said Snake River Saloon owner Jim Shields, adding that sexy costumes often have “something to do” with winning. “There’s always the bizarre sex ones, but we won’t go into that.”But, you don’t have to be all sex to make an impact. Shields recalls a man coming as a ski pass, with a photo of his face in the middle of huge cardboard, as well as a couple in which the man looked like a French painter (complete with mustache and beret), holding a frame that his girlfriend three-dimensionally popped out of. Believe it or not, they held that position the entire night, Shields said. Last year, the best guy at the Snake was Wonder Woman.”The super-hero thing always goes over,” Shields said. “Zombies with white faces and dripping blood also are quite appealing to some. The Bro-Bra look showed up last year, and there are always a few cross-dressers.”An anonymous worker at Jake’s Dive Bar said he dresses up as his couch because he doesn’t like to go out on Halloween. He’s also seen some great costumes, like a one-night stand and a pot brownie. (We’re not sure if the medical marijuana in Breck has this staff member so paranoid that he won’t give the Summit Daily his name for a fluff piece, but that’s a whole other story.)If you’re not into the late-night bar scene, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the fun. The Dam Brewery has an early, “creepy hour” contest from 3-6 p.m. Staff there has seen its share of guys dressed as beer maids with large breasts. But to win at the Dam, you’ll have to be artistic, manager Kim Nix said.So, to gleam some ideas from creative types, the Summit Daily turned to a group of artists meeting at an Arts for the Summit meeting Wednesday night. Sandy Greenhut, committee organizer otherwise known as Queen of the Arts, has donned a blue dress with some toothpaste on it to depict Monica Lewinsky. Other artists described how to be a gum-ball machine (or bag of jelly beans) by stuffing balloons into a huge plastic bag. Sandy Kuschnerus, president of Summit Choral society, showed up one year as a money bag, made of black mesh stuffed with play money; along the way, she passed out candy coins to people. Librarian Janet Good laughed when friends portrayed The John Birch Society, an American radical right-wing political advocacy group, as “The Birch John Society” by building the seat of an outhouse, with their two heads sticking out of the wood.And David Cunningham has a smart idea for cool costumes on a budget: Trade wares with friends. This year, he mailed his Thing One and Thing Two costumes to friends in Michigan, and they sent him a banana and gorilla get-up. As a family of four, the Cunninghams have been known to dress as cows with calves or put the two kids in homemade trout costumes, then, as parents, dress as a fisherman and woman.
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