Every year I’m excited about Halloween and spend an inordinate amount of time working on a costume. This year I started early; back in early September I did some research to figure out what would be better: Kevin Flynn from Tron: Legacy or the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride.
For the Tron costume, I’d need a robe with flexible glow panels sewn into it, as well as some custom boots and of course an identity disc. There’s a local electronics supplier that sells flexible panels and strips– really cool stuff. In the end, though, I decided it wasn’t going to work very well because the annual party we attend is well-lit so the glowing folds of the robe wouldn’t be as cool as they would be in a dim room.
So, I went to work on the Dread Pirate Roberts. I grabbed some screen captures from the movie so I could take a close look at the clothes and accessories he wore. Yes, I’m that thorough in my research.
Then I headed over to Amazon to buy a few things. After a few weeks I’d accumulated leather pirate boots, a black shirt, gauntlets, a frog (a leather device that’s used to attach a sword to a belt), and I’d made a sash, head wrap, and was working on a mask. I looked around for a good prop sword but just wasn’t satisfied with the cheap plastic ones. I wanted this costume to look good, not comical. After some thought I cashed in a few Amazon gift cards to buy a real rapier. As things came down to the wire and my attempts to create a mask continued to fail, I finally bought a masquerade-ball mask at Walmart for two bucks, stripped off the bling, and sanded it smooth. A few cans of black and gold spray paint were needed to touch up the accessories a bit.
Of course Roberts has a little mustache, and I wanted to be accurate in every detail so I spent the last week growing out my beard a bit.
I actually drew a few compliments on the beard– it’s been a while since I had facial hair. Anyway, today I shaved down to a rather pathetic mustache:
Yeah. This is why I’ve never had a mustache. But hey, it was the best I could do given the time.
This evening I put it all together and felt like it turned out quite well.
Yep, that’s a real sword.
True fans of the movie would notice that it’s Inigo’s sword, not Westley’s, but I figured it was okay. I even made a little vial of iocaine powder and tucked it into my sash.
Off to the party! I stopped at the grocery store on the way so I could pick up some ice cream. I got some great looks from people, and my conversation with the 20-year-old checker went something like this:
Him: Going to a Halloween party?
Me: No, this is how I dress every day.
Him: (after a pause) Are you Zorro?
Me: I’m the Dread Pirate Roberts.
Him: (blank stare)
Me: From The Princess Bride. Man, your generation missed out.
To my dismay, he wasn’t the only person who thought I was Zorro. A lot of people at the party– even adults– didn’t recognize me. Ugh… I couldn’t believe the heathens. Everyone knows Zorro wears a hat. Maybe next year I’ll buy a wide-brimmed round hat and wear the same costume, except tell everyone I’m Zorro instead.
Anyway, it was a good party and a lot of fun to work on this costume. I sure enjoy Halloween.