Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Costumes spice up weekend

For kids across America, Halloween is a time to dress up in scary costumes, toilet-paper houses and go out looking for candy. For University of Wisconsin students, rioting on State Street has replaced the toilet paper and kids go out looking for beer, but one thing hasn't changed — dressing up in something other than normal dress.

Some students already have their costumes planned out, and others will leave it to the last minute, but one thing's certain: this weekend, State Street will turn into one of the most diverse collections of Halloween garb in the world. Let the costume madness begin.

Freshmen Matt Colwin and Ryan Brower are teaming up this year for a Halloween costume that's sure to bring back childhood memories — Nintendo's Mario Brothers.


"I was at a loss for a costume when Ryan approached me and said, 'Hey, you look kind of like Mario,'" Colwin explained. "Ryan's tall and skinny like Luigi, and I kinda got the same body type as Mario. The proper body proportions are there to rock the costume."

Brower already had the trademark overalls, which were made by his friend's mom, but he made the hats himself. Once the two buy some white gloves and fake mustaches, the costumes will be complete.

"You'll see us jumping around, singing the Mario theme song all Friday and Saturday," Brower said. "Mario and Luigi rock!"

Brower and Colwin admit that the droopy mustaches and huge white gloves might make imbibing liquids difficult, but they're still set on the Mario Brothers.

"Is there ever such thing as a practical Halloween costume?" Colwin asked.

For some Halloween-goers, though, form follows function. Sophomore Priyanka Desai chose her 1920s flapper costume because it was inexpensive and comfortable.

"I could put pants underneath it and a jacket over it so I would be warm," she said.

Fellow sophomore Ashley Miszkiewicz says her Greek goddess costume is a step up from last year, when she was Little Red Riding Hood. Venus is a whole lot warmer than the skimpy Little Red, Miszkiewicz said.

"[Being cold is] not worth it," she explained.

Nevertheless, many girls brave the cold to venture out in revealing costumes.

"A lot of costumes are sex-related," said Amanda Stauber, Miszkiewicz's roommate, who is going as a fortune-teller.

"For a lot of freshman girls, it's like you dress to show off what you got," Miszkiewicz said.

If you're in the market for this kind of costume, Pink Panties Lingerie (513 State St.) has what you're looking for. During the Halloween season, the store offers everything from Girl Scout to pinup girl, Alice in Wonderland to "gangster bunny."

"All of our costumes are slightly scandalous," explained employee Melissa Files. "They're form-fitting, sexy and made really well."

According to Files, this year's most popular costume by far is the referee. Though it comes with knee-high socks and a whistle, it's not your standard referee getup — the short dress "barely covers what it's supposed to," Files said.

Another perennial favorite is the nurse costume.

"Everybody loves nurses," Files said. "And there's so many different kinds, you won't run into another nurse [with the same costume you have.]"

But Pink Panties isn't right for everyone. The high-quality costumes are pricier, and the store's only men's costume — the male referee — sold out the first day it arrived.

For students on a cheapskate budget, compiling a costume is the better option. Stores like Mallatt Pharmacy and Costumes (3506 Monroe St.) and St. Vincent de Paul's (1309 Williamson St.) specialize in accessories, allowing people to put their own costumes together.

"We help customers create their own person," said Mallatt employee Karen Brown-Larimore. "People were just bringing in pictures of TV shows, movies, rock stars … characters are the biggest thing."

Martha Stewart and Napoleon Dynamite have both been very popular in this area, Brown-Larimore said. But she's seen just about everything, even cross-gender roles, like "guys wanting to do their own Marilyn Monroe."

The overall No. 1 seller so far is the pirate costume, narrowly beating out last year's champ, the policeman costume. Other notables include a pair of sleeves you slip over your arms to make you look tattooed.

A lot of college students get their accessories at Mallatt but go to St. Vincent de Paul's for the clothes, Brown-Larimore said.

"We're pretty reasonable (in pricing)," said St. Vinnie's employee Kristin Kraft. "It's definitely cheaper than buying a costume in an actual store."

St. Vinnie's is a hotbed for the weird and wacky, especially in vintage and retro clothing.

"Yesterday we had someone come in looking for Miss America 1985," Kraft said. "They left with a long, sequined purple evening gown."

Whether you're looking for expensive or cheap, sexy or warm, there are plenty of costumes left at any of these Madison stores. Don't be left out when it comes time to have some good old-fashioned Halloween fun.

"It's all about the costumes," Miszkiewicz explained. "Otherwise, it's any other weekend in Madison."

See you and your costume on State Street.

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