Heads off to contest winner

October 31, 2004|by ANDREA ROWLAND

WILLIAMSPORT - Patricia Robinson turned a spooky story into a prizewinning Halloween costume.

During a trip to Gettysburg, Pa., the 13-year-old home-schooled student heard a tale about a girl who got run over by a wagon wheel. Patricia, who lives in Williamsport, then created the "headless woman" costume that won first place - and earned its designer $50 - in The Herald-Mail's Halloween Costume Contest.

Her entry was among 11 received for the contest. Though all the submissions impressed the contest's six judges, they gave their highest praise to Patricia's creation and to three runners-up - Dawn Anderson's "colorful flower," Jeremy Hardy's "old man with a baby" and Katie Hardy's "bubble bath girl."

Patricia said she created her costume with simple materials - a black skirt and sweater, baseball cap, whipped topping container, paper towels, pantyhose, coat hanger and red Magic Marker. To create what contest judge Ken Garber called the costume's "bloody stump," Patricia turned the whipped topping container upside-down, covered it with paper towels and pantyhose for a "skin look," and drew blood with a red Magic Marker. She sewed the baseball cap onto the coat hanger, and bent the hanger-strung cap up through the whipped topping container. Patricia then pulled the black sweater above the ball cap to create the illusion of a headless person. For added effect, she carried a candle. Patricia can see through the holes in the sweater, she said.


"It's a great horror look without being over the top on gore," said Garber, inside sales manager at The Herald-Mail Co.

"You would never know this is a 13-year-old girl," added Pepper Ballard, the newspaper's daytime police and courts reporter.

An avid crafter who recently wrote a children's chapter book, "Moo Moo the Superhero Comes to Earth," Patricia plans to hand out Halloween candy in one of the three costumes she created for the holiday. As of the Monday before Halloween, she hadn't decided whether she'll wear her headless woman, virtual pet or soap opera character costume.

Flower girl

An idea at a fabric store provided Dawn Anderson of Halfway with the inspiration for her 6-year-old daughter's "colorful flower" costume.

"My daughter always wants to be something pretty and girlie. She usually wants to be a princess, and I try to come up with ideas to get her attention away from being a princess since you see so many little girls dressed up as those each year," Anderson said. "I try to be original."

To create the flower's stem, crafty mom dyed a white sweat suit light green and used dark green fabric paint and glitter to adorn it with decorative swirls. She used foam, felt, pom-pom balls, glue, ribbon and a few other materials to make the costume's petals and leaves. Anderson said she chose pink and purple as the main colors because those are the favorite hues of her daughter, Libby.

The vibrant colors in Anderson's creative flower costume scored big with judges Michele Wills, marketing manager at The Herald-Mail, and Mia Hoover, editorial assistant.

Not so grumpy old man

Amy Hardy said her two children - 7-year-old Jeremy and 4-year-old Katie - chose the subjects for the costumes that earned favorable nods from the contest's judges.

Hardy, who lives in Boonsboro. created her son's "old man with a baby" costume, they stuffed a backpack with newspaper to create a humpback, filled a store-bought mask with pantyhose, and added bouncy ball eyes to the mask's vacant sockets, Hardy said. She and Jeremy then affixed mittens to a baby's sleeper outfit and stuffed it with fiberfill before pinning it to an oversized coat. Jeremy's head - complete with a bonnet and pacifier - serves as the head of the baby.

"Creative, creative, creative," Garber said.

Rub a dub dub

Katie Hardy's "bubble bath girl" costume made the judges coo.

"It's the ultimate in cute," Garber said.

Amy Hardy said she first cut the bottom out of a utility bucket to make the tub and replaced the bucket's rope handles with ribbon suspenders. She used hot glue to affix the towel and rubber duck to the tub, and attached balloon "bubbles" to Katie's clothing and small holes in the tub. The scrub brush completed the costume.

"I love creative costumes that don't require lots of sewing," said judge Janet Heim, a reporter for the newspaper. "This costume is ingenious and is guaranteed not to be duplicated. I love the little extras like the rubber duck, towel and back scrubber."

Ryan Harpster, graphic design editor in the newsroom, said the costume was funny and original. Hoover liked the costume's functionality - its wearer has only to carry her treat bag.

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