Ask Mike: Halloween Costume Competition

Dear Mike,

This year I’m planning to go all out and enter a costume contest on Halloween at a retro dance place here in Kansas City. Any tips for winning that big cash prize for 1st place?

— Jan from Parkville


Dear Jan,

Choosing the perfect costume is a tall order, and since I’m kind of short, I have to stand on my tippy toes to pull it off every year. Still, I’m glad you came to me. I’m sort of used to dressing up as things I’m not. It helps blunt the reality of who I really I am, LOL! 🙁

My expertise has led me to create the Rules for Going Out of the House Handbook, my go-to guide for how I look each day – but it still works great for your Halloween costume. Here we go!


My 5 Simple Rules:

Rule #1: Just Say No to Bags

If it comes preassembled in a bag from a costume store, NO! I know it seems easy, but it’s really the worst. There’s nothing that chaps my hide more than seeing a store-bought Teletubby who has the AUDACITY to enter into a costume competition and WIN just because he’s so popular, GREG!


Rule #2: Find Yourself

Who is Jan? What is her essence? Answering this question will help you create a costume idea that fits your soul like a glove. For me, it’s an 80’s female body builder. Specifically the 80’s because teased hair and blue eye shadow speak to me in ways I can’t explain.


Rule #3: Dig through the Trash

You won’t believe the stuff people throw away! One year I got my whole outfit from my neighbor’s garbage can. They threw out this big thing of bologna so I took it and stuffed my shirt with it. I was ‘Full of Bologna’ ha! Best costume, but I didn’t get many props for it. People pretty much stayed away from me all night. Haters gonna hate!


Rule #4: Don’t Break Character. Ever.

Once you’ve committed to being someone else for the night, stay that way. All night. If you’re dressed up like a space cowboy, you talk like an astronaut with a twang. Like if someone asks you where you’re going, you say, “We’re about to enter a solar storm, y’all,” or “Well fiddle my sticks, it’s time to install those solar panels on the International Space Station.”


Rule #5: Do a Practice Run

This needs to happen at least a few days before the big competition. You need a mirror, a private room and a locked door. Preferably your own locked door. Maybe turn on some scary music. When you’re emotionally ready, put on your costume and practice EVERYTHING. The way you walk, your lines, even your facial expression. Nothing worse than getting the double eyebrow waggle wrong when you’re up on stage.


Hope this helps! But you know, if you still doubt yourself by the end, you could always go as me!



Author: mazuma

Mazuma is a Kansas City credit union that’s dedicated to banking happy. We’ve got free online banking, low auto and mortgage rates, and of course — you-choose checking. Ready to become a Member?

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  1. I did this here in Ky a few years back, but it makes way more sense for folks in Kansas – dress up as a tornado. Simple gray sweatshirt and sweatpants, painted with swirling swooshes (I used charcoal). Get yourself some choice miniature tornado victims – house trailer, cows, trees, whatever – and tie them to the suit with varying lengths string or better yet fishing line because it’s less visible. Glue some fluffy stuff to your feet to resemble a dust cloud and you’re done. Then all you need to do is to spin like crazy while making your best wind sounds. You might enlist a partner to make appropriate mooing sounds or to give the TV news recap “…Well Jana, I seen it coming. It sounded like a freight train…” It’s a costume that will illicit question after question seeking to know what the heck kind of costume it is. Each time the question is asked is your cue to begin spinning and whirriring. It killed here in KY, but may hit too close to home there. Mike can handle it though.

    Post a Reply
    • mazuma

      You could totally have someone hang out with you to quote from the movie Twister as well:
      “‘Nother Cow”
      “Actually, I think that’s the same one.”

      That costume idea is awesome.

      Post a Reply
  2. Dear Mike, I am SOOOO excited! have followed 4 out of 5 of your suggestions and have WON a smaller pre-Halloween contest that counted as my #1,#2,#4 and #5. I DID substitute “Dig through your own CLOSET” for #3. (I figured at the dance club there would be enough of a smell from sweaty bodies getting their groove on in over-crowed conditions, that I should NOT add to the stinky ambience with dumpster diving.) I chose Cruella DeVille as my #2 and DID have to make my own pattern to make the coat, but it was totally worth it. Already, less than 24 hours after posting a picture of myself in costume on Facebook, I have 298 likes. Thanks, Mike. I couldn’t have done it without you. (If you’d care to post a photo for your fans, you have my permission. You know where to find me.)

    Jan from Parkville

    Post a Reply
    • mazuma

      With permission:

      Jan, we at Mazuma are amazed that following any of Mike’s advice actually helped. We’re even more amazed at how great you look in this costume. Awesome job!

      Post a Reply
        • Mazuma, You may never know the far-reaching benefits of making Mike your official spokesperson. He’s already made this world a better place in which to live. You have chosen wisely. …(And thank you for the lovely compliment!)

          Post a Reply
          • mazuma

            Someday, I’ll manage to get that link to work right so that picture will show!

            So glad you’re enjoying Mike! He grows on one after a while. Kinda like a barnacle.

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