Mein Führer, I can walk!


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2014/10/23/mein-fuhrer-i-can-walk.html

I finally hit on the idea of going as Dr. Strangelove for Halloween. I already had the 50s slim-cut suit, the glasses, the cigarette, the black leather glove. All I really needed was a blonde wig. By Gareth Branwyn


#2

I went to work as Dr. Strangelove several years ago–when we still had office Halloween parties. The hard part was getting a wheelchair. I left my hair its natural brown and just combed it into a Sellers-coif. This year, thanks to chemotherapy, I’m completely bald, and have contemplated going out as Alexei Sayle, or more likely Richard O’Brien. That is, if I had someplace to go. Over the years the number of my coworkers who dressed up for Halloween dwindled. And everyone looked forward to whatever I’d do–I’d been a gargoyle, Rorschach, and Andorian, Harpo Marx, Seymour Krelboin (with Audrey II). One year a group decided to do The Addams Family, and a friend called me at eleven o’clock at night two days before Halloween to ask if I’d be Uncle Fester. This year I wouldn’t need the bald wig.

When no one else dressed up it felt like there was no point anymore. It was no fun playing by myself. When people asked why I wasn’t dressed up I retorted, “Why aren’t you?

I’ve been told my hair may grow back gray and curly. If it had I definitely would have dressed up this year regardless of whether anybody else did. The chance to be Peter Capaldi as The Doctor would be too good to pass up.


#3

I went as Harpo Marx back in college and to my surprise the women were all over me. I stayed in character the whole time.


#4

No Dr. Strangelove costume pictures?


#5

no pics, but my Rorschach costume from a few years back came out really well. the mask–though a fixed pattern–looked great, and I had reasonably suitable choices for his clothes in my wardrobe already (kinda similar hat but grey not brown, same-ish white scarf, jacket was brown leather though not a full length trench) so it looked less costume-y and more badass.

As I arrived at the party, there was another Rorschach milling outside with some folks, wearing a half-assed mask and a new-looking, costume trench. She saw me and I wordlessly marched right up to her group. They were all super sketched-out, as if I were actually him, and about to take her to task for imitating me. I took that as a huge compliment, but of course all I was going to do was say “hey, good choice!”

we see you, Riff Raff… :P

some other good ones I’ve done:

  • Carrie as in Sissy Spaceck. Since i got a “real” wig instead of a crappy costume joint, I think the women at the wig shop thought I was a legit cross-dresser. Doused myself in blood makeup, too.
  • Mr. Pink from Reservoir Dogs
  • Zombie Joey Ramone (we’re built the same, so it really worked)
  • Ron Burgundy (doused in cheap cologne, too)
  • post-assassination Abe Lincoln, complete with suit w/tails and bullet exit wound in forehead
  • The Dude (I pretty much look like him all the time these days lolz, but I found the exact sunglasses)
  • Paul Bunyan (made a giant foil-and-cardboard axe and dressed my dog as Babe the blue ox, complete with aerosol hair dye)
  • Pee Wee Herman (the coup-de-grace was that I was a messenger that Halloween, and I had a red bike, so it was on!)

#6

Please tell me you said “I needed that like I needed a hole in the head” at least once.

All those sound fantastic. And, since I happen to have one, here’s my own Rorschach picture:

I was almost blind in the homemade mask, but it was worth it.


#7

You can make the mask pattern changing with your breathing, using a bit of microencapsulated thermochromic pigment with threshold temperature around 30 'C. It is easy to find on eBay. (The ones with higher or lower threshold temperatures can be a royal bitch to source.)


#8

wow, holy shit! this is kinda the same idea as those Hypercolor clothes from the 90s? that’s pretty badass.


#9

Yes! Even the same kind of pigments. Also the same as those images that show/unshow on some kinds of coffee mugs when filled with hot liquid.

You can also have other kind of color-changing paint, but that’s more suitable for e.g. vehicles or bathroom tiles - liquid crystal pigment that changes color between red and blue within a larger range of temperatures (and is black outside of that range, assuming black background), instead of a single color-to-colorless change. Video from one of the vendors:


The stuff is expensive as a brand-name snob-end hell, so I didn’t play with it, but it looks nice.

All these things are rather sensitive to UV light, and tend to degrade over time unless coddled suitably (no UV or a good filter coating, no keeping too hot for too long time, no incompatible solvents around that would infiltrate the liquid crystal layers or damage the microcapsules).


#10

That is some amazing stuff. It reminds me of a set of glasses my father got for his 40th birthday. Each one had a girl in a dress. Add a cold beverage and the dress would disappear. Probably not the same stuff, but a very similar principle.


#11

Actually, a very different principle; the disappearing clothes are moisture-sensitive, not temperature-sensitive (okay, indirectly temperature-sensitive via condensation).

I had to look up that one, knowing that these things were too old for microencapsulated thermochroms, and these also are colored in the low-temperature form and colorless/white above the transition threshold so no vanishing-when-cold could happen.

Further search shown that the proper name for Uncle Google is “hydrochromic”.
E.g. here:


Or a random vendor here:
http://www.matsui-color.com/hydrochromic


#12

I’ve been trying to dress Mr. Bells up as The Dude for years now. I think I’ve convinced him to do it this year, but now I realize he doesn’t have any shorts (for the grocery store scene).

I went as Tippi Hedren being attacked by birds. Sadly, the costume contest judges (at a museum with a horror movie exhibit!) didn’t seem to know who I was.


#13

pretty sure he’s in shorts for every scene. I had to borrow some :^)

lame. sounds like a great costume. the birds were on wires? or they were anchored to your clothes mid-attack?

speaking of good costumes going unrecognized: that same year as Rorschach, I was at another very large party (but kind of a square scene) and I passed a couple in the throng, the male’s costume tripped my spider-sense. I stopped dead “wait… are you… Bowie from Labyrinth?” By their reactions, I could tell both that I was the only one who had guessed it, and that it was the girlfriend’s idea as she thanked me profusely. They, however, guessed I was the Invisible Man. This was the first Halloween after the Watchmen film had come out, but still a little niche, it would seem. so, I feel ya.


#14

I’ve got my mask on a wig display here, with the hat I wore. I hand-painted the badge, too; both the face and the blood. it was just some random badge with lettering on it I had laying around.

ya, in the daytime I could see right through the stocking material, but I was completely blind once I got to the party. had to burn the little eye-holes in with matches.


#15

Wrong fabric then. When I was playing Death (the original idea was a dark wizard but the others thought otherwise once I shown up, and they were right) at some summer camp, I used a thin black silk scarf all over my head (an improvisation over the original plan). I had a completely black cloak with a cape, and the only thing directly visible from me was a pair of bony white hands, natural style, no makeup needed. (And yes, I had a real scythe, they got one for me from whoknowswhere. I was sharpening it all the time, it was making just the right sound background to the various swordfight. Together with occasional “hurry up, I don’t have only you” and “throw a coin” style comments at the fighters.) Not exactly a Halloween timing but would work in late October too.

I still have the scythe curve in my muscle memory.

(Todo: Find the cloak.)

A thin black(!) fabric can work even with sunny day level of sunlight and in almost darkness; the fibers have to be dark to not scatter light, and the fabric light enough to not absorb too much light to work in darkness too. Too light-sensitive eyes help too.


#16

Oh no, I meant my husband doesn’t own shorts. Which is a pity because he has nice legs. :wink:

Anyway, here’s my Tippi. My daughter did the wig. I’m not good at hairstyles real or fake.


#17

If I’d been in a wheelchair for a third year, my wife and I were going to go as Vena and Captain Pike from “The Menagerie” episode of Star Trek: TOS.

Some cardboard, some wiring of Green, Red, and Yellow Yes/No/Maybe jewel lights, and some troweled-on face-spackle later, oh yeah, and a turtleneck, and I would’ve been good to go.


#18

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