Arrow-right Camera


Doug Clark: Think local when planning this year’s Halloween costumes

Halloween, which for some reason falls on a Thursday this year, has turned into Big Business worth almost $7 billion annually.

That’s according to a boring website I stumbled upon the other day when I took a breather from watching Internet cat videos.

But getting back to Halloween, the site also stated that adults are spending even more for their costumes than they are for costumes for the kids – some $1.22 billion compared to $1.04 billion.

This is highly depressing.

I’m a product of simpler times, when you didn’t have to rob a Rite Aid to pay for your Miley Cyrus twerking getup, complete with foam finger.

No way. Your costume was a deeply personal thing that revealed how much creativity you had and whether your parents were dumb enough to leave you alone in the house for long periods of time.

It was during one of those respites that I came up with one of my best costumes ever: Doug the African Big Game Hunter.

To achieve the proper look, I rummaged around in the basement and found a pith helmet, a khaki shirt and some high English riding boots that belonged to my dad.

To further the verisimilitude, I cut fake bullet holes into a stuffed toy chimpanzee that I got for Christmas one year.

The next step was to pour red food coloring all over the sad wounded creature, which ruined the toy but upped the gory shock factor.

I watched way too many Tarzan movies as a kid.

For weaponry, I armed myself with my realistic-looking Mattel (“It’s Mattel – it’s swell!”) toy rifle.

So on Halloween night, I galumphed out of the house in the too-big boots with my gun, a pillow sack for candy and a bloody monkey in tow.

If any kid tried this today he’d be jailed and then waterboarded by Homeland Security thugs.

But that doesn’t mean there still aren’t a lot of clever costumes than can be yours for peanuts.

For example …

• Here’s an easy idea anyone can make.

First, go to any department store and bribe a clerk into giving you one of their empty refrigerator boxes.

Cut some eyeholes in the cardboard. Using a Sharpie, write the words “Cracker Box” all over the box in thick, bold letters.

Climb inside and – voila! – look at you:

You’re the Ridpath Hotel.

Even better, you’ll look so much like Spokane’s No. 1 eyesore that, before the night is over, some simpleton will try to put you on the National Registry for Historic Places.

• Not creepy enough?

I hear you. So if you’re going for the scare factor you won’t go wrong by celebrating Halloween as …


A few items will be needed to make this transformation happen, such as:

1. Fake bushy brown moustache; 2. Pair of oval wire glasses from the ’80s; 3. Fake bushy brown caterpillar eyebrows; 4. Boring striped tie affixed to white shirt.

Now for the most crucial part of your metamorphosis into Faganstein: Grimace.

You know, like you’ve just swigged a straight shot of lemon juice.

You’ve got it!

Now you’re ready to terrorize your neighbors or propose an insane ordinance at the next City Council meeting.

• Here’s an easy costume idea for you ladies on a budget.

First, strip naked.

Now, crisscross the business end of each boobage with two strips of black electrician’s tape. After that, you can devote up to a whole roll of dental floss to covering your bum.

Strike a sultry pose and say …

“Welcome to XXXtreme Espresso. Would you like your latte frothy?”

HALLOWEEN TIP: Couples will discover that this costume pairs really well with the Faganstein Monster.

• Looking for something with a little more flamboyance and flair?

You won’t go wrong by dressing up as Spokane’s mayoral magician …

Condon the Charismatic!

Pulling this off, however, will require you make or rent a swami’s hat like the one Johnny Carson used to wear now and then on the old Tonight Show.

A cape will help, too.

Now work on perfecting the following magic trick.

Ask a sucker, I mean taxpayer, to give you $4.

Wave your magic wand over the bills and say the magic words.

“City of Choice! City of Cheese!”


The four bucks should have magically turned into a worthless Condon the Charismatic Coin.

HALLOWEEN TIP: This magic act may take way too much practice to pull off, especially since Condon the Charismatic has so far been the only trickster who can do it.

• I saved the easiest costume for last, namely …

Spokane Pothole Repairman.

The beauty of this costume is that it won’t matter what sort of garb you put on when you go out on Halloween night as a Spokane street repairman.

After all, nobody’s ever seen one.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or

There are seven comments on this story »