Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

How not to get picked up

Dress up as a garbage cart for Halloween

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OK, so Halloween falls on a Wednesday, which means you've already missed the chance to dress up as the person you really want to be all year or you're still struggling to put together a costume for next Friday's parties.

You can always go with one of the overdone standbys: superheroes for men; sexy whatever for women. But such a boring approach pretty much negates the entire purpose of Halloween.

This time of year is so rewarding because it challenges people who may not have the chance to be creative in their lives to actually exercise their imaginations.

Personally, the more obtuse the Halloween costume, the better. About a decade ago, I simply strapped a bunch of backpacks and duffel bags together and headed out to the bar.

"What the hell are you supposed to be?" sneered the doorman.

"Give me a break," I said. "I have a lot of baggage."

I'm sure you could do a lot better. But if you're really stuck for ideas, here are some costume options for Halloween 2012:




IF there's one thing that scares the bejaysus out of Winnipeggers, it's change. That's why the biggest bogeymen in town are the rolling carts most city households started using on Oct. 1.

HOW TO PULL IT OFF: Buy an oversized blue or black Rubbermaid wastebasket, large enough to house your waist, and use a box cutter to remove the bottom. Paint "311" on one side and City of Winnipeg logo on the other, using a stencil and white spray paint. Add two black cardboard wheels and you're ready to roll.

WHAT THIS COSTUME SAYS: You care a lot about the environment. You enjoy facing the street. You are content to have intoxicated people toss beer bottle caps and dirty napkins at you all night.

POTENTIAL DOWNSIDE, IF YOU'RE SINGLE: If you dress up as one of the new garbage carts on Halloween, you probably won't get picked up.




DON'T go whining it's "too soon" to laugh off the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' disappointing 2012 Canadian Football League campaign. The fact we're knocked out of playoff contention only a week before the end of the season is a minor moral victory unto itself.

So don't feel bad about poking fun at Bomber quarterback Buck Pierce. After all he's been through, being the butt of a silly joke is no big deal.

HOW TO PULL IT OFF: Buy or borrow a Winnipeg Blue Bombers jersey emblazoned with No. 4. Wrap a bandage around your head, place an air cast around your ankle and hobble about on crutches. Slap on some facial hair. You're ready to last until midway through the first quarter of whatever it is you're going to do on Wednesday night.

WHAT THIS COSTUME SAYS: You never give up, no matter how hopeless the situation. And you really like southern barbecue.

POTENTIAL DOWNSIDE: Very large men may attempt to fracture your ribs.




IF any Winnipegger has suffered through a frightening fall, it's Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Chief Reid Douglas.

First, he concedes he built a fire hall on a plot of land the City of Winnipeg doesn't own. Then he reveals he negotiated a deal to swap that land for three pieces of city property that were never declared surplus. Then he's blamed for expanding the size of another new hall without asking council permission for the extra spending.

There are some people at city hall who believe Douglas may be a dead man walking. That sort of talk is premature, except on Halloween.

HOW TO PULL IT OFF: Find a formal firefighter's uniform or a reasonable facsimile. Then apply the standard zombie makeup kit -- fake blood, dark eye makeup and black lipstick. A firefighter's axe would add to the overall effect.

WHAT THIS COSTUME SAYS: You pay attention to current events. You have an innate capacity to conduct real-estate negotiations. Your survival instincts may be a little questionable. I mean, you're a zombie.

POTENTIAL DOWNSIDE: Someone dressed up as the mayor may try to force you to wear goat horns.




NOW that the Bombers are out of the playoffs, there's no way to ignore the fact the NHL lockout sucks. Unlike a good horror movie, this labour dispute is simply sickening.

It also makes for a really freaking easy costume.

HOW TO PULL IT OFF: Buy or borrow a Winnipeg Jets jersey emblazoned with Evander Kane's No. 9. Then put on a sandwich board, scribbled with the derisive slogan of your choice. "Will skate for food" is sort of obvious. Marxist slogans would be way better. Then start panhandling wherever you go -- including Belarus.

ALTERNATE VERSION: Make that jersey a No. 33 and slide it over a sumo-wrestler costume. And carry a fishing rod.

WHAT THIS COSTUME SAYS: "Take off your banners, the reactionary slogan 'a fair day's pay for a fair day's work' and instead inscribe your banner with the revolutionary watchword: 'the abolition of the wages system.' "

POTENTIAL DOWNSIDE: People will hate you.




THANK you, Mitt Romney. Without you, the world would have endured a Halloween without a truly awesome U.S. election meme.

HOW TO PULL IT OFF: Unless you're a freak of nature, you won't have time to create a binder costume. So go to Staples, buy some binders and fill them with hole-punched versions of fashion magazines or supermarket gossip rags. Then show off all your women. After all, you have binders full of them.


WHAT THIS COSTUME SAYS: I agree with my opponent about Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and well, pretty much everything.

POTENTIAL DOWNSIDE: By the time you finish reading this sentence, the meme is already over. You might as well go as the Ermahgerd Girl. One does not simply transform a meme into a Halloween costume.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 28, 2012 A8

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About Bartley Kives

Bartley Kives wants you to know his last name rhymes with Beavis, as in Beavis and Butthead. He aspires to match the wit, grace and intelligence of the 1990s cartoon series.

Bartley joined the Free Press in 1998 as a music critic. He spent the ensuing 7.5 years interviewing the likes of Neil Young and David Bowie and trying to stay out of trouble at the Winnipeg Folk Festival before deciding it was far more exciting to sit through zoning-variance appeals at city hall.

In 2006, Bartley followed Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz from the music business into civic politics. He spent seven years covering city hall from a windowless basement office.

He is now reporter-at-large for the Free Press and also writes an outdoor-recreation column called Offroad for the Outdoors page.

A canoeist, backpacker and food geek, Bartley is fond of conventional and wilderness travel. He is the author of A Daytripper’s Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada’s Undiscovered Province, the only comprehensive travel guidebook for Manitoba – and a Canadian bestseller, to boot. He is also co-author of Stuck In The Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg, a collaboration with photographer Bryan Scott and the winner of the 2014 Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award.

Bartley’s work has also appeared on CBC Radio and Citytv as well as in publications such as The Guardian, explore magazine and National Geographic Traveler. He sits on the board of PEN Canada, which promotes freedom of expression.

Born in Winnipeg, he has an arts degree from the University of Winnipeg and a master’s degree in journalism from Ottawa’s Carleton University. He is the proud owner of a blender.

On Twitter: @bkives


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