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Follow SN&R’s Halloween advice at your own risk

Masquerade all!

These Sacramento-themed costumes will double your candy haul, if you don’t get arrested first
Did you wait until the last minute to come up with a good Halloween costume? Here are a few cheap and easy ideas, with a local flavor, that are bound to make you the life of the party (provided it’s a really crappy party).

Downtown K Street
Slap some vacancy signs on your shirt and bathe in hobo pee.

The Sacramento Bee
While trick-or-treating, lie on the doorstep wearing nothing but a thick pink rubber band around your waist. Try pasting a few ads for massage parlors on your back, if you’d rather be SN&R.

Tower Records
Carry a box of Kleenex and a bag of CDs marked 75-percent off.

Measures Q and R
Paint a map of Sacramento on your ass and shove your favorite Sacramento Kings bobble-head doll inside.

Make hundreds of paper-plate masks of the Starbucks logo. Wear one and proceed to make someone else put one on every 10 feet.

Rick Adelman
Wear a nice suit, pencil in a mustache if need be, and carry a “Will coach for respect” sign.

Air America
Carry a radio tuned to static and an IOU to Al Franken for $400,000.

Human-fly comedian
Get a tacky thrift-store shirt, put black makeup on your face and make giant fly eyeballs out of two metal kitchen strainers. It’s stupid, but chicks will dig it.

Monarchs 2006 playoff run
Walk around making the universal sign for choking with your hands around your neck.

Phil Angelides
Ah, just stay home. The guy with the Arnold costume is going to beat you anyway.

—Robert Berry

Master of disguise

Costume tips from’s Rob Cockerham
Rob Cockerham is Sacramento’s reigning King of Halloween. Starting in ’91 when he dressed as a human kiosk, complete with bulletin boards and flyers, Cockerham has become well-known for his elaborate homemade costumes. Though he tries never to spend more than $100 on an outfit, his creations have netted thousands in prize money.

Cockerham currently is working hard on this year’s secret project. Look for him as he attempts to win yet another contest at the Exotic Zone Ball, or visit his Web site,, for more photos of his past disguises. You might also catch him trick-or-treating with his toddler daughter, June. He’s building her a robot costume.

SN&R: What are your favorite costumes from years past?

Rob Cockerham: One was “paparazzi.” In that costume, I was a photographer but it was made up of other photographers’ faces—plastic faces—all holding cameras, all bunched together. I think 12 or 15 faces. The cool thing was all the cameras had flashes. You could unleash all the flashes, so it gave the experience of paparazzi to anyone who looked at the costume.

How did you end up at Lucasfilms’ Industrial Light & Magic costume party that year?

I had a friend who worked there. They have very strict rules about who was allowed in, but I convinced someone to take me as their date. It was my second year going. The first year, I had a pretty good costume, but I got a good idea of the caliber of costumes there. One guy came as Iron Giant. He was on stilts with a head mounted above his. He was 9 or 10 feet tall.

And the second year, you won the contest with paparazzi.

I will admit the competition that year was thin, but I beat out some Transformers for first place. It was just extraordinary.

Were those FX gurus upset at being beaten by an amateur?

Yeah. That was kind of awkward actually.

What’s another favorite?

I really liked the California costume. I made an 8-foot costume in the shape of California out of foam rubber, with just my head poking out around Fresno.

Why Fresno?

That’s just how tall I am.

Tell me about this year’s costume.

It’s a great idea and that is what a good costume is all about. People like to dress up, but more than that they like to have an idea that’s original and funny. It’s better than paparazzi, but the effects aren’t as good. Everyone who has seen it loves it and starts laughing. They can’t believe I’ve done it.

People really count on you now. Do you ever wish you could just go out and pick something up?

No, I’ll never buy a costume again.

What advice would you give to aspiring costume designers?

It’s OK if you just have a bunch of coat hangers and tape and Styrofoam and paint. It’s supposed to look homemade.

Anything else we should keep in mind when designing our Halloween masterpieces?

Make sure you have at least one hand free … to hold a drink.

—Keith Lowell Jensen

Oh, the horror

Scary movies for people who fear them
Halloween is the perfect scary-movie season, but if you’re like me, you can’t stomach the current spate of “torture-chic” gorefests, and you’ve already poured through genre classics like Rosemary’s Baby, Dawn of the Dead and Carrie.

In that case, perhaps you need to step back into to the golden age of the 1930s. The original Frankenstein and Dracula movies are still entertaining, although hardly scary, but Tod Browning’s 1932 Freaks, cast with real-life freak-show veterans, maintains its elemental shock value.

If it’s atmospheric chills you’re after, you can’t go wrong with the work of 1940s producer Val Lewton. Cat People is his most famous, but the tightly wound The Leopard Man is a personal favorite. Similarly, Howard Hawks’ The Thing from Another World is short on gore, but its brilliant use of claustrophobic space makes it more frightening than John Carpenter’s Grand Guignol 1982 remake.

Maybe you like your horror tempered with gratuitous nudity? In that case, there’s the straight-to-video/Internet screen-cap masterpiece Embrace of the Vampire (changed from its original title, Alyssa Milano’s NippleFest ’94), or Tony Scott’s The Hunger, featuring Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve in the best lesbian-vampire love scene in film history.

There are also the subgenres of Hitchcockian horror (Psycho and all the Brian De Palma derivatives, especially Sisters), haunted-house films (the original The Haunting is the best), and non-horror chillers (Robert Mitchum as a killer priest in The Night of the Hunter or Rock Hudson in the disturbing Seconds).

If all else fails, you might require a monster movie azier than the 1996 disaster The Island of Dr. Moreau. If there’s any sight more frightening than a muumuu-clad Marlon Brando with an ice bucket on his head, I don’t want to see it.

—Daniel Barnes

Halloween happenings

All dressed up? Here’s somewhere to go

Click for a larger version

—Becca Costello