Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Thursday, February 29

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Andrew / October 25, 2006 11:15 PM

Yeah, another Halloween question. Sue me.

My best was a waiter, when I was 7 or 8. I had a little wicker tray to carry, with a cup full of peanuts on it. My mom had strung all the peanuts on fishing line, which went through the bottom of the cup and tied to the wicker. When I got to a door, I pretended to trip and spill the peanuts.

The worst was of my own doing: it was a fish skeleton. I'd seen someone on "You Can't Do That On Television" dressed in a foam rubber one, and I really wanted to do it, too. But since I didn't have foam rubber to work with, I just painted a sandwich board and held a fishhead mask in front of my face. It was pretty lame.

Brian / October 26, 2006 12:22 AM

I went one year as a Lotto ball. This is back in the mid-80s when the Illinois Lottery had those goofy commercials with the people in lottery ball costumes bouncing around in the plastic thing. It seemed cool at the time, but in retrospect it was.... lame.

kate / October 26, 2006 3:45 AM

In 3rd grade, I dressed as a hippie and as part of my costume, I wore my mom's suede jacket straight from her "flower child" days and thought the butterfly patches were sooo cool. She told me that they were covering holes burned in from someone's cigar.

Years later, I realized someone (quite possibly my mother) had made joint-to-suede contact.

Ahhh, groovy.

missmolly / October 26, 2006 7:05 AM

when i was a little girl (like 4 or 5) my mom made me a costume so that i could be...

the jolly green giant.

still the cutest thing i ever way...lots of felt leaves.

Justin / October 26, 2006 7:36 AM

Two favorites:

1) I was a Lego man -- a minifig in black pants, blue shirt, red cap, round yellow mask topped with a nub.

2) A Chicago Cub, in a bear mask.

Neither of my ideas panned out this year, the first or the backup. Truly bummed. I would have made an awesome Harpo Marx. Honk!

Jake / October 26, 2006 7:41 AM

Peter Criss, ~1979.

mary / October 26, 2006 8:04 AM

inelementary school i was a troll doll. actually, i was a treasure troll doll, my mom made me a "naked suit" out of flesh colored felt (complete with mittens that had only room for 4 fingers) with sequins sewn into the tummy. and of course, a horrifying troll mask with wildly uncontrollable bright pink hair.

i dont think i have a "best" costume. that troll thing was the best/worst all rolled into one.

Bill V / October 26, 2006 8:28 AM

When I was about eight I was a robot. The costume was made out of thick cardboard and I could hardly walk in the thing. Sitting down was out of the question. It reminds of the kid from Christmas Story that is a bit overdressed for winter. The chicks dug it though.

Terminal Verbosity / October 26, 2006 8:45 AM

Worst #1
1985: I was six and, for reasons I cannot recall, boycotting Halloween. I pouted and screamed that I wasn't going trick-or-treating until my parents relented. The 31st rolls around and a friend of mine came to door and asked if I was going out for candy. I, of course, started screaming and pouting that I wanted to go. I didn't have a costume, though, so my mom improvised: a large, black garbage bag with holes for my appendages, stuffed with crumpled newspaper and tied around my neck. Affixed to my back was a sign, "SPOILED ROTTEN."

Worst #2
1998: I was working at a bank during college break. All the tellers agreed to dress up for Halloween. I came as a woman, complete with skirt, nylons, clip-on earrings and lipstick. No one else dressed up. The customers gave me some odd looks that day.

daruma / October 26, 2006 8:48 AM

I was always a hobo when I was a kid - rag-tag clothes, bandana on a stick holding my "stuff," - I'm not really sure why I thought that was cool. Guess I wanted to be riding the rails instead of at school!

amyc / October 26, 2006 8:58 AM

I went as Boy George in 8th grade -- giant dress shirt, baggy pants, little suede boots, bowler hat, lots of ribbon-y braids, and lots and lots of makeup. It was an excellent costume, but my mom lost the roll of film she took that night, so it exists only in my memory. Sigh.

michellemybelle / October 26, 2006 9:07 AM

In 3rd grade, my sister made me a sweet E.T. costume - it was really involved and was basically a stuffed animal of E.T., but kid-sized. My mom brought it to the school party for me, I put it on, and immediately started on the path to heat exhaustion - it was the hottest Halloween in Western PA history, and this costume was full of stuffing. I looked adorable until I passed out.

paul / October 26, 2006 9:44 AM

I went as a terrorist to a college party in the 80's. It was pointed out repeatedly that the (watergun) uzi I was carrying was only used by freedom fighters, not terrorists.

I wore a lame homemade pirate costume to a party on a cruise ship when I was 10. I won the costume contest, probably because I was the only kid there. I remember the guy who strung himself up on a shower rod as Jesus was really pissed that they gave the award to a kid.

Mikey / October 26, 2006 9:52 AM

My worst? Circa 1975, my mother painted a couple of big cardboard boxes with holes for arms and legs, and costumed my twin sister and I as a pair of dice...

My best? Probably when I dressed as an American Indian, complete with faux feather headdress. As a kid who always rooted for them in the cowboy and Indian movies, I didn't want to take off that costume for the next week. Of course, now I guess it would be considered politically incorrect (what do you expect in a day and age when "tag" is being outlawed during recess?)...

van moxie / October 26, 2006 10:29 AM

The year was 1978. I was Princess Leia, with an altered sheet, a plastic light saber, and a wig made out of brown yarn. My mother did her best, but my white-white hair kept sticking out of the wig. The year before I said I wanted to be Strawberry Fields, and for reasons never fully explained to me, I ended up being a giant strawberry. I can still feel that crumpled up newspaper my mother stuffed it with. Those were the most memorable.

The worst was third grade, where I kind of wanted to be a vampire, but was lazy and just wore a black cape over my softball shirt and jeans. Ah, the ennui of a nine year old.

Kara / October 26, 2006 10:33 AM

Best Ever- Kindergarten. My mom spent months creating an unbelievable exact replica (Disney's, of course) of Snow White. When I walked into my classroom, some girl had on a cheap-store bought version, where everything was the wrong color and the dress was too short. I remember muttering to myself, "What a moron, her costume isn't even the RIGHT COLOR."
I was the biggest bitch in kindergarten, apparently.

fluffy / October 26, 2006 10:36 AM

I was a scarecrow, a princess, 'singing in the rain' girl (light blue rainboots, umbrella, and hat), mom always made a big deal abotu Halloween and since my sister and I were both born in October, we'd have a huge Halloween party.

Once I got older, I got lazier..when I was married, I borrowed my ex-husband's old yellow sweatshirt that said "drink beer 'n break shit" and went as a drunk girl.

best/worst: In college, a friend of mine's mom made boobs (as in breasts)costume out of white and pink cotton sheets, even with nipples. She also made a giant lace bra that went over the boobs, but you could still see them. The problem was that my friend was 6 feet tall and I'm barely 5'4", so those were some very lobsided boobs. I wanted to be a blind mime, but ...the things you do for friends....

best/worst: my favorite: I take a paper bag and make holes on the sides, by the bottom, for my arms, and one for my head at the base of the bag. I put it on like a t-shirt, then put some tinfoil around my shoulders. I have a white wool cap with little green dots on the top (sour cream and chives). Ta-da! I'm a baked potato... a very evil baked potato.

I love the waiter, robot, spoiled rotten costumes! too cute!

My cat's just going as a vampire cat. He's got the long nails, the fangs, pointy ears, and I'm making him a black velvet cloak.

Greg / October 26, 2006 10:49 AM

I've had seemingly lame costumes come off quite well now and then. In high school I started the day as an encyclopedia salesman (dad's old suit, etc.), but by the lunchtime costume contest my friends had persuaded me to enter as the vice-principal, whom everyone hated. That got me third place.

Of course, the reverse has happened.
1. Cut a whole mess of holes in a white sheet.
2. Put a bunch of rocks in a trick-or-treat bag.
3. Take the time to rig a tape player under the sheet to play Vince Guaraldi Peanuts music.

You would think that at least one person at a party in a trendy Chicago neighborhood in the late aughts might have turned on his/her television as a youth and would have gotten that I was Charlie Brown from the Great Pumpkin special. The abject frustration lent its own authenticity, I suppose.

Absolute worst: pretty much any of those Ben Cooper halfmask/plastic jammies costumes we got as kids.

p / October 26, 2006 10:57 AM

worst/lamest: last minute put together of unshaven-ness and general unkept-ness, mustarded v-neck, hanes, open bathrobe and slippers and an issue of Swank magazine hanging out of pocket. A creep.

worst/favorite: a sheet with eyeholes cut out that had a faint floral print allover it. Ghostie.

Hey did anyone else ever get jumped for their candy? I got worked over and robbed of my treats by a bunch of tuff-ass girls and smothered in shaving cream whilst i was costumed up one afternoon.

The baked potato getup takes cakes, and i want a "drink beer and break shit" yellow sweatshirt. To Ebay!

Graham / October 26, 2006 11:00 AM

I made a robot/space alien costume one year when I was 11. I patched it together from various odds and ends. I can't recall what all it involved, aside from a biking helmet and a gold Ultraman mask left over from a couple of Halloweens prior. I wore it to a schoolmate's party and they gave me a prize for "worst costume" at the end of the evening -- followed by a patronizing & conciliatory, "Now that's not necessarily a bad thing." Still, I think that makes it official.

C / October 26, 2006 11:14 AM

I peaked in 5th grade, Halloween-wise: I was a burned-out housewife. I wore my mom's tattered, old robe, put in hair curlers and topped it off with a polka-dotted shower cap, smudged dark circles under my eyes, and carried a baby-doll on my hip. It was subversive.

leah / October 26, 2006 11:26 AM

When I was 4 I was the amazing Kooky Spook. I can't stop talking about this danged costume. This is also my costume this year.

My best idea ever was not worn by me, but by my poor little sister & her best friend.

One year I had what I thought was a brilliant idea--Hey Carrie! You & Buffy should TEWTALLY go as a toaster! We'll get a refrigerator box & cut holes & paint it and you can each put your head through a side & it will be sooooo cool!

And they did it.

carrie / October 26, 2006 11:45 AM

FUNNEH- I was going to write about the toaster and mention how hard it was getting up and down the stairs.

But yes, toaster=best because who the heck thinks of that as a costume and then who actually goes as it? A toaster! HA!!

kelly / October 26, 2006 11:45 AM

I think I also peaked in 5th grade, I was Tammy Faye Baker. Although, it was also fun to be Mrs. Roeper from 3's company in high school... Last year I was Tom Cruise and I still feel a little disgusting from it.

kellyg / October 26, 2006 11:55 AM

"Dolly Drumstick"
Yes, a chicken leg...

The costume consisted of brown paper bags crunched up around my body and a sign hanging arounbd my neck that read : Dolly Drumstick (I guess so people would actually know what I was trying to be)...I have no idea what happened that wasn't my idea though...yikes!

d. / October 26, 2006 12:08 PM

Like Bill V. I was a robot too, with duct tube arms and legs and a cardboard body and mask. Except mine had Christmas lights that worked on the chest -- and it was the coolest costume ever. Good shit.

zim / October 26, 2006 12:38 PM

i was dressed as a ty beanie baby cat, with the tag and all, it even had a upc.. i had wiskers and the whole 9 yards. meow

avant/chicago / October 26, 2006 1:24 PM

Well i wasnt a kid but i went as the Una-bomber one year and the cops busted the party. It was a hit!

El Jefe / October 26, 2006 1:31 PM

A white bedsheet folded as giant pair of briefs, with a brown colored streak drawn vertically across the front. Went as a skidmark. No one got it.

jennifer / October 26, 2006 2:32 PM

Best: Winona Ryder shortly after she got nabbed for shoplifting. I wore a bunch of layers of clothing (topped with a "Free Winona" t-shirt that she wore on the cover of W magazine) and a ton of accessories and affixed to them home made Saks Fifth Avenue tags.

This year, I'm going as Three-Hole Punched Jenn, a three-hole punched version of myself. I watch The Office too much.

jennifer / October 26, 2006 2:40 PM

crap. "as a kid." didn't see that.

paul / October 26, 2006 3:18 PM

I got jumped for my candy, but it was more of a definite ass beating than a jumping.

Admittedly, we were a little old to be trick or treating at the time, and had covered a few miles and had pillowcases full of pounds of candy. We got jumped, I fought back, kicking one guy in the face, which enraged him and he threw me into the trunk of a tree. When the cops woke me up, my zombie costume was covered in real blood and there was candy scattered everywhere.

Allan / October 26, 2006 4:19 PM

For some reason my family didn't really get into Halloween and as a kid I don't really remember caring much, but no one ever bought or made me a costume. One year when I was about 7 or 8 I did find a plastic Spider-Man mask that had a broken elastic band that I used to go trick or treating with. I just held it up to my face when I went to the door. I got a lot of candy but my dad would not really let us eat candy so most of it was confiscated except for the popcorn balls and for some reason the bit-o-honey's. That would be the best. When I was about 14 I wore a red sweater that I had painted a hammer and sickle on and with some black eye lined drew on a mustache and went as a Russian. This would be the worst costume but I had the most fun.

fluffy / October 26, 2006 4:36 PM

Allan- didn't you have siblings/neighbors/friends to help you make a costume? :-(

The easiest costume in the world: take a button down white (or any color, really) shirt and button it over your head, so that the collar rests on top of your head and you the become.....'the headless person' . wooo scary! (and cheap) - you could clip on a tie, and you can stuff the arms with newspaper for that realistic effect. ..maybe put a pocket protector and pens in the pocket. mechanical pencils, whatnot, other nerd paraphanelia.

I always wear costumes that don't compromise my ability to drink. I refuse to drink beer through a straw, so I make sure the costume allows me a full range of drinking positions.

Vanessa / October 26, 2006 4:52 PM

5th grade: Half man, half woman. Still the most unique costume I've seen.

jw / October 26, 2006 4:53 PM

When I was in high school a bunch of girls dressed up as the "Soul Train". It was horrible and I'm not sure why someone's parents didn't stop it. But they made a train out of cardboard boxes and then the 4 girls dressed up as african americans...painted their faces black and wore those big wax lips and shower caps. and they wore this get up to a Catholic school Halloween dance!

Leelah / October 26, 2006 6:07 PM

Worst as a kid: One year I decided I wanted to be a phantom. For some reason, my mother... who was brilliant at sewing/making costumes... decided to let me do it myself. Whatever I envisioned didn't work, and I ended up in a green sheet with cut out eyeholes.

Steve can testify that I have since become very adept at making costumes.

As teenagers, 3 of my friends and I went as Fuzzbox. Anybody even remember that band? I was the one with the blue hair...

Flips / October 26, 2006 6:53 PM

I don't know why, but in 8th grade I was a punk cowgirl. I think it was just an excuse to wear lots of eyeliner or something. Dunno. Anyway, that was a really weird one. Yes, my bright idea.

Best was probably Princess Leia in the 4th grade or so. I even had an R2D2 necklace. Sweet.

Why did I hanker for those lame plastic costumes? I never had one. Mom always sewed anthing that needed to be made, I was lucky. She also made me an awesome American Indian costume when I was really into them about 2nd or 3rd grade. Go mom!

Emerson Dameron / October 26, 2006 8:13 PM

I was a Smurf once, and a bear once...

Now I'm usually an undercover cop, which isn't funny or imaginative.

PMan / October 26, 2006 9:25 PM

Big Bird -- I was pretty young and I remember my parents putting quite a bit of effort into making it.

I don't know if people thought it was cool, but it stands out to me as a mark of the extra-effort that my folks put into raising my siblings and I, and for which I truly love them.

Emma / October 27, 2006 6:53 AM

I was once a block of cheese!! how scary is that?


JasonB / October 27, 2006 7:45 AM

Me and a friend dressed up as Milli Vanilli. This was right after the lip-sync scandal.

JasonB / October 27, 2006 8:08 AM

a few more favorites:

Bought a plastic garbage can, big sister cut holes in it, I jumped in and... voila, instant robot!! (but most people just thought I was a dumb kid in a garbage can.)

7th grade - I dressed up as a woman. My family and friends thought it was funny. The dean of students at the parochial school I attended, called my mother in for a meeting.

s / October 27, 2006 9:30 AM

i tried to dress up as tammy faye baker once in 4th grade, but i looked more like nancy reagan. so i told people i was nancy reagan.

in 1st grade i went as an organ grinder, complete with grindy-organ (my dad made it - it was awesome), stuffed monkey, and mascara moustache. nobody in 1st grade knew what that was, though, so it was an exercise in frustration.

when i was about 4 years old i wanted to dress up for halloween, like my big brother who had an awesome robot costume. i put a blanket over my head, then put on a football helmet, and told everybody i was the virgin mary. ??? i have pictures. it's hysterical. i was mad because i didn't know why everybody thought it was so funny, so i'm pouting in all the pictures.

my dad also made me an awesome wonder woman costume that i wore for a couple years until i grew out of it - gold wristbands, lasso, belt buckle-with-star and everything. i loved that thing. never wanted to take it off.

i was also a christmas present in 5th grade - got a big box, wrapped it in xmas paper, stuck a bow on my head. that was good.

i LOVE halloween.

my worst costume was a mummy, probably 2nd grade... i had this amazing vision in my 2nd grade head of being completely wrapped in surgical tape, head to toe.... the problem was we only had one roll of surgical tape in my house, and my parents were broke. i tried it anyway, and ended up with one wrapped arm, no more tape, no costume. lots of tears shed. that still makes me sad.

Allan / October 27, 2006 9:51 AM

fluffy- I didn't really have any friends when I was a kid my parents were fairly anti-social (which probably accounts for my poor social skills) so out side of school acquaintances, no. I have an older sister and a younger brother 4 years separating us in either direction. My almost teenage sister was too into being a girl to bother with her sad shabby sibling and my younger brother being only 4 was little help. I don't think I ever cared because my birthday is on Halloween. I turn 35 this year. -sighs- When I get my blog up you can read all about my sad strange life.

wordup / October 27, 2006 9:51 AM

I was JonBenet one year .
One year I was the Olsen twins. That was bad. My friend made fun of me and went as "Mary Kate and Ashley's Dad"
This year it will be a team effort: my friend and I will be Mark Foley and priest. My other friend will be Ken Lay's ghost.
Yeah, we're journalists.

wordup / October 27, 2006 9:55 AM

Oh my God, Milli Vanilli nearly made me fall out of my chair.

I was lame stuff as a kid. Holly Hobbie was particularly frightening.

h / October 27, 2006 10:10 AM

Worst in retrospect: When I was in 2nd or 3rd grade I decided that I really wanted to go as a hooker. So I wore lycra biker shorts, with a short skirt over them, a jean jacket, my dress-up "heels", a pink streak through my crimped hair and tons of make-up. I'm not sure why i wanted to be a hooker, and I'm really not sure why my parents were okay with this, but that's what I was!

Last year my friends and I decided to go as Seamen/Semen. So they dressed up as sailors with uniforms, fake mustaches and hats, while I dressed up as semen wearing all white- shoes, socks, pants, thermal shirt, gloves, sunglasses, a white scarf "tail", pearls and then stuffed a white garbage bag and glued a Maxim to the outside so that it looked like I was stuck between two pages... We pretended that it was one big mis-understanding between the Sea Men and the Semen... good times.

p / October 27, 2006 10:19 AM

cheers up allan- while your posts frequently make me queezy/depressed, you seem like a real person and (good news) you're not wordup! This master of sly wit has apparently managed to snatch the title of Worst Costume Ever for more than a few years. Kudos on the easy topical Shockingness! Good luck to you and your fellow "journalists" at the daily star (or red eye?) while researching the piece on Lamest Jokes Of All Time.

Meems / October 27, 2006 10:52 AM

Best: When I was six I went as Punky Brewster. My mom got me sweatshirt that said Punky Power! and I wore pigtails, fake freckles, and a bandanna around my leg.

Worst: I went as a bum one year in high school but I ended up looking like all the grunge kids.

wordup / October 27, 2006 11:14 AM


Lighten up, dude. I thought this was a light-hearted topic. I see some lame costume ideas. Wasn't that the point of the question? We're all in a completely different realm than the Red Eye, which I despise and don't read.

Toni / October 27, 2006 11:35 AM

Best: Flapper. In the 5th grade, my mom made me a flapper costume completed with a little headband.

Worst: In the 7th grade, I created this character, "Joe Flang" who was a combination of a conivct and a bum. I got my dad's old fishing hat, an old coats of his and I stippled my face with my mom's Maybelline black eyebrow pencil. I even made up "Wanted" posters. I don't know what the fuck I was thinking.

Allan / October 27, 2006 12:24 PM

Why does P think I am journalist?

nocomment / October 27, 2006 12:29 PM

princess with sweatpants under the dress... not really best or worst, more typical.

or, pumpkin via poking arm/leg holes in garbage bag for leaves with the jack-o-lantern face on it - come on! that's standard fare for lower middle class American kids!

nocomment / October 27, 2006 12:36 PM

probably because you use polysyllabic words, allan

staci / October 27, 2006 2:00 PM

Best: In 6th grade I was lent my aunt's flapper dress she wore when she went dancing in the 20s. It was black and green with sparkly fringe and I thought I was so glam. I loved that dress, but none of my friends knew what a flapper was, so it didn't go over well. But I still felt gorgeous.

I never got jumped for candy, but when I was 13, my friends and I went as punk rock prostitutes. Not sure why we had to be punk rock, but some guy didn't like our getups so he threw eggs at us.

Mikey / October 27, 2006 5:56 PM

leah -

I thought my sister and I were the only dorks who wore the Kooky Spook costumes. And unfortunately, we were older than 4...

Lori / October 27, 2006 8:48 PM

In sixth grade I was a horses ass. literally. My best friend was the front, I think we rock scissor papered for it.

now I don't have to dress up like one, it's just a given.

*k* / October 28, 2006 1:32 PM

Now, i was very fond of the cheapie costumes that came in the box. i'm a little sad they don't make them any longer.

i had one boxed costume of Wonder Woman, and i wore that damn thing for two years straight. i also had Wonder Woman UnderRoos. What i'd give for a pair now... ;)

My worst costume: One year i wanted to be a 1950s girl - poodle skirt, scarf around the neck, saddle shoes - soooo bad. But then i got this rad rubber witch mask, with crazy grey hair. What to do?

Why not wear both?!

Oomph. The mind reels.

peanut / October 28, 2006 2:00 PM

jake, i was also peter criss (1980). this was one of those boxed costumes with the plastic mask & plastic bib/pants combo. i have a photo of my 5-year-old self, sitting complacently at the dinner table, ready to rock'n'roll all night. meow!

velo / October 28, 2006 9:53 PM

best: three years ago (not as a child) I was the construction worker in the Village People. Grown adults kept thinking I was Bob the Builder despite the fact I was attached at the hip to a Native American, a cop, a cowboy and a motorcyclist. Definitely the most comfortable night at the bar since college.

worst: the three year streak as a child I insisted on being a "punk rocker" a la Debbie Harry. I think it had to do with a deep desire to contort my hair against gravity and wear neon.

Beldar / November 1, 2006 8:06 AM

In Jr high, my sister and I went as Coneheads.

The year Harry Carey died, my son went as Scary Harry, which was a ghost with big glasses and a Budweiser old man hat. He got a lot of laughs.

GB store

Recently on Fuel

Urban Ethos [26]
What is Chicago's "urban ethos"?

Cool Glass of... [16]
What're you drinking?

Supreme Decision [22]
What's your reaction to the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act?

Taking it to the Streets [20]
Chicago Street Fairs: Revolting or Awesome?

I Can Be Cruel [9]
Be real: what is the meanest thing you've ever done?

View the complete archive

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15