Halloween Costume #1: Rene Magritte painting

In the past for Halloween, I’ve often dressed up as internet memes (Rick Astley, anyone?) or topical things from the news (like Matt/Mitt Romney). This year I was running dry on ideas until a few days before Halloween. Then I started to think about famous artwork–more on that in a future Halloween post.

One idea that I prototyped was Rene Magritte’s Son of Man painting. It’s easy, fast, and cheap:

Matt Cutts dressed as Rene Magritte's Son of Man painting

All it takes is a novelty bowler (~$8) and a plastic apple (~$1.50, although you might have to buy a pack of six). Assuming you already have a suit and can borrow a red tie, you’re good to go for only $15 or so.

This year I got into Halloween, so I may post a few more Halloween ideas that I played with in the coming days.

Halloween costume for 2013: Silk Road Dread Pirate Roberts

For Halloween 2013 I decided to be the Dread Pirate Roberts from the movie The Princess Bride:

Dread Pirate Roberts

I even grew a slight moustache to help make the character believable:

Dread Pirate Roberts

But to be clear, I wasn’t just any old Dread Pirate Roberts. I decided to be the Silk Road Dread Pirate Roberts. So if you want to buy some Iocaine powder, it’ll cost you five bitcoins:

Dread Pirate Roberts

By the way, I did have a couple Penguin masks and a tuxedo. I thought about doing a Penguin costume, but decided not to. Maybe next year?

My Halloween costume for 2012: Matt Romney!

My fellow Americans, I’d like to introduce my latest Halloween costume: Matt Romney!


Mitt Romney? No, it's Matt Romney!

My five-point plan for the Mitt Romney Halloween costume went like this:

  1. Start with a suit and tie.
  2. Put a little silver in my sideburns. My wife used some silver and white eye shadow.
  3. Swoosh the hair up a little bit and lock it in with hairspray.
  4. Take off the glasses, and
  5. Add a flag. Boom!

This was a fun, easy, comfortable costume. I practiced a few of Mitt Romney’s catchphrases and I think people really enjoyed seeing “Matt Romney” around the Googleplex.

My wife and I are also trying something new for Halloween. I remember as a kid when I got a full-size candy bar for Halloween–it blew me away! I still remember those neighbors as really cool. Recently someone reminded me of that experience.

So this year, the first couple dozen kids who stop by our house are in for a nice treat:


A lot of full-size Halloween candy.

Happy Halloween, everyone! You might also enjoy seeing some of my other Halloween costumes.

Halloween costume: stickman from xkcd

For Halloween this year I asked people on Google+ what I should be for Halloween, and someone suggested going as the blackhat stick man from xkcd. You know, this guy:

Black hat stick man from xkcd

That sounded like a good challenge. I finished the costume and taped a video, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to get the video to the quality level that I wanted. Here’s the video:

A couple quick things: 1) I know the video is cheesy and lo-fi, but that’s what I was going for. 2) With a little more time and more work on the video (e.g. better lighting, turning off automatic brightness on the video camera, a little more time spent on the greenscreen key) I think it could have been pretty great. But sometimes you run out of time, and October was a busy month. 🙂

Maybe I’ll write a bit more about the costume and the video later. Happy Halloween everyone!

Halloween Pumpkin: Portal Turret!

I made a Portal turret for my Halloween pumpkin! I was trying to think of things to carve: vampire Android? R2-D2? Zoidberg? Then I thought: I could do a character from Portal 2! I was going to carve something like GLaDOS or Wheatley, but then I realized that a portal turret would be perfect:

To make the glowing red eye, I punched a small hole in the pumpkin, taped an LED to a battery, and pushed the LED from the center of the pumpkin through the small hole. I thought about doing an actual red laser, but 1) I don’t want to blind any kids walking by my pumpkin, and 2) laser beams aren’t visible unless there’s fog or smoke or something for the beam to hit.

To make the side “gun” sections of the pumpkin, I had a small dowel rod lying around, so I just cut two small stakes from the dowel rod and jammed them into the pumpkin sides. It’s a bit rickety, but it works. For the video, I played some turret sound effects and moved my red laser over the pumpkin as if another turret was locking onto it.

I didn’t want to take long to carve my pumpkin. I finished it in maybe an hour, but check out this really elaborate pumpkin that someone else did. And it turns out that they work at Google too!

I like how my pumpkin came out overall:

Portal 2 turret pumpkin for Halloween!

Happy Halloween, and I hope you’re getting creative with your pumpkin carving!

css.php