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9 Halloween Costumes Ripped from the Headlines

Tapping into the year's hot topics is one way to make your Halloween scary good—that is, as long as the story isn’t so new that you have to explain it to everyone, or so old that you have to remind your fellow revelers that it even happened. If you're still looking for inspiration, below are a few Halloween costumes that let the news be their muse.

1. CECIL'S REVENGE


Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer hit a nerve last summer when he shot Cecil, a beloved lion who lived on a wildlife preserve in Zimbabwe. PETA responded by conjuring up a Halloween costume depicting Cecil attacking Palmer. The Cecil’s Revenge costume costs $140, with proceeds going to PETA projects. You can recreate this on your own, of course, with a white lab coat, gloves, dentist tools, and a plush lion drawing fake blood. 

2. PIZZA RAT

Vine celebrity Marlo Meekins outfitted her dog with a homemade pizza rat costume as an homage to the pizza-carrying rat recently filmed on the New York City subway stairs. And it only took Yandy, a lingerie-company-turned-costume-shop, two days after the viral video debuted to put a "sexy" spin on the 'za-obsessed rodent.

3. GIORGIO A. TSOUKALOS

24bits, Imgur

Ancient Aliens producer Giorgio A. Tsoukalos'  belief in aliens and his even wilder hair earned him internet notoriety—and inspired a costume that redditor 24bits spotted at Dragon Con. The crucial elements for embodying The History Channel star are the hair, the sign (in impact font), and the pose. The alien print pants are a just a bonus.

4. LEFT SHARK

Terry Robinson via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

Katy Perry’s halftime show at the 2015 Super Bowl was, by all accounts, pretty jawsome—thanks largely to one of her backup dancers, a bored-looking shark on the audience's left. It didn't take long for competing groups to transform the stage outfit into a Halloween costume. Since the U.S. Trademark Office declined to award a trademark on a Left Shark costume, you can get this costume from any number of vendors. Or make your own. The costume pictured here was seen at Dragon Con 2015.

5. DEEPDREAM MAKEUP

Jennifer Culp

Writer and makeup artist Jennifer Culp designed a Halloween look based on Google’s DeepDream technology, which produces nightmarish images by finding and enhancing any hint of pareidolia in an existing image. Culp imitated DeepDream images you’ve seen by adding eyes—plenty of them—all over her face and neck. Check out her tutorial to duplicate the look for yourself. And if you think this image is disturbing, Culp then ran a picture of her finished face through the DeepDream algorithm. You’ll have to go to the tutorial to see that.

6. HALLOWEEN WHOPPER AND GREEN POOP

Burger King introduced a special edition Whopper for Halloween with a black bun. And though some claim the burger tastes much better than it looks, it will likely also turn your poop very green. That terrifying concept is perfect for an October 31 disguise. HalloweenCostumes.com didn’t have time to manufacture a mass-produced costume, but they have instructions for modifying the accessories they regularly stock to make a Green Poop ensemble. In search of the perfect couples' costume? Make your partner dress up as the offending fast food item. (They sell a Burger King costume, too.)

7. NETFLIX AND CHILL

vrpowell, Imgur

A chilling costume doesn't have to take a lot of effort. Tinder user Vincent Powell turned “Netflix and chill” into something you can wear. To mimic the effect, simply throw on your best red t-shirt and jeans, tape a printed-out Netflix logo to your chest and haul around a bag of ice.

8. Donald Trump

Look like a billion bucks with just a business suit and a blondish toupee—or by sporting Yandy's Donna T. Rumpshaker (above) ensemble. Don't forget the flag pin, heavy bronzer, and the "Make America Great" hat.

9. The Dress

It was the outfit seen 'round the world after Mashable posted about a dress that appeared to be white and gold to some people and black and blue to others. The optical illusion had people arguing for weeks and launched a thousand jokes. Unfortunately, the original frock (dubbed “The Dress” in honor of the viral post) by Roman Originals is sold out. But you can slip into Yandy's costume version, which won't force you to choose sides. 

Original image
Anthony J, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
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Knight Club: A History of Medieval Times Dinner Theater
Original image
Anthony J, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

In the 1960s, on the small island of Mallorca, Spain, Jose Montaner had a thriving barbeque business. So did someone else. Montaner and his rival each vied for customers, locals and visitors from the island’s tourist trade.

One day, Montaner overheard some English tourists talking about medieval fairs, and an idea occurred to him: What if he could lure more barbeque patrons by seating them in front of an indoor dinner theater with dueling knights, serving wenches, and horses?

The smell of manure may not have earned him any Michelin stars, but Montaner was on to something. By the 1980s, he and a group of investors had taken his notion and expanded it into the U.S. under the Medieval Times banner, a sprawling bit of performance art that marries the spectacle of professional wrestling with a four-course meal. While it’s never been heavily franchised—there are only nine locations in North America—the marriage of simulated chivalry and free Pepsi refills has proven to be a surprisingly effective form of entertainment.

Kristen Menecola, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Part of what motivated Montaner’s pursuit of what would become Medieval Times was his interest in Spanish history. He was also influenced by the 1961 movie El Cid, a drama starring Charlton Heston that featured many of the tropes meant to transport his visitors to 11th-century Spain: sword duels, castles, and galloping horses.

Montaner put on a show in Spain for years before an investment panel was gathered to bring the idea to the States. Scouts visited Orlando, Florida in 1980 and came across a prime spot of real estate in Kissimmee, just 15 minutes from Walt Disney World. By 1983, the first Medieval Times on American soil was open for business.

Then as now, the concept of “dinner theater” was not held in the highest of regard. The first stage production that served meals opened in 1953 in Richmond, Virginia, and initially kept their meals separate from their plays until audiences who drove distances to get there complained about getting hungry during the shows. After experiencing a surge of popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, the idea of combining a live performance with a plated meal started to collapse. The aging actors who could provide publicity for such shows started gravitating toward television spots and commercials, where they might earn as much for one day of shooting as they did doing several weeks of stage-and-steak work.

While Montaner briefly flirted with the idea of having Heston appear at the opening of his Florida location (ultimately, the actor proved too expensive to hire), Medieval Times wasn’t dependent on marquee names. The appeal came from the idea of seeing what amounted to a live stunt show, with armored knights hoisting broad swords and ramming into one another in jousts. Their stage would be a massive sand floor; attendees could enjoy Cornish hen and cheer for one of six knights depending on which section they were seated in. In keeping with their (loose) interpretation of medieval practices, no utensils would be allowed.

Whatever stigma had been attached to dinner theater for veteran actors didn’t apply to patrons. The Kissimmee location of Medieval Times saw its attendance rise steadily, from 183,000 in 1984 to 600,000 by 1993. The investment firm opened a second location in Buena Park, California in 1986, and a third in Lyndhurst, New Jersey in 1990. The last castle in their expansion opened in Atlanta in 2006.

Initially, fight choreographers at each location were left to develop their own house style, with knights dueling using titanium swords that had been dulled and edged to create a spark. In 2000, management decreed that the moves become uniform in the event knights had to substitute for one another due to illness or, more rarely, injury. (Knighthood is largely safe, though the occasional bruised finger is not unheard of.)

The duelists appearing in the show normally start out as stable hands for the horses. (Medieval Times uses so many Andalusian, or Spanish, horses that they have their own breeding farm in Sanger, Texas.) After three to 12 months of training, they’re expected to take a physical fitness test—running one mile in under 10 minutes, performing 30 push-ups and 50 sit-ups—before taking hold of the 20 pounds of weaponry.

Although the company tends to tweak the shows slightly every four years, the narrative remains largely the same: A king will read birthday notices or offer retirement congratulations to attending parties. He’s then blackmailed by the Herald of the North, who insists on compliance or the King’s daughter will be held hostage. Six knights duel; a falcon flies over the crowd. At the climax, the winning knight plucks a female patron from the crowd and anoints her the Queen.

For this experience, tickets are typically $66, or $46 for children under 12. The price includes a four-course meal of one half-chicken, tomato bisque soup, garlic bread, and various side dishes, all served by “serfs” and “wenches.”

Boris Kasimov, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

While the nine locations still admit roughly 2.5 million peasants annually, things have not always gone swimmingly at Medieval Times. In 1997, two locations in Buena Park and Kissimmee filed for bankruptcy after being hit with $10 million in IRS tax claims. They remained open. The company was also the subject of a 2011 lawsuit after one audience member at California's Buena Park restaurant alleged that he had been struck in the eye by a sliver of titanium. The suit was settled under undisclosed terms.

One torn retina notwithstanding, Medieval Times has remained stable in a fluctuating economy and evolving entertainment landscape. In a nod to the times, the King will often remark on smartphones and make scornful references to cyberbullying. And while it might be a departure from historical accuracy, the theme restaurant will concede to modern approaches to both hygiene and diet: Moist towelettes and vegetarian dishes are provided.

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How a Makeup Artist Transforms Herself Into a Supervillain
Original image

Kay Pike, an avid cosplayer and artist who lives in Canada, has recently decided to combine her two interests, transforming herself into comic book characters with body paint. She livestreams her process, which can take hours. Recently, she sped up footage from her transformation into Thanos, the Marvel supervillain, into a timelapse that makes bodypainting look as quick and easy as putting on a costume. 

[h/t: Laughing Squid]

Banner image by Kay Pike via Imgur

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