Monday, November 2, 2009

Monster Dash costumes reviewed

With my running shoes tied tight and my costume in tow, Halloween morning for me was spent participating in the Monster Dash road race in Minneapolis. More than 3,500 people came out to run around Lake Harriet that morning, most of whom were decked out in costumes ranging from Superman to Super Mario. The races that morning included half-marathon, 10-mile and 5K options.

I've participated in a lot of road races, but I can't remember any with a more fun-loving atmosphere to it. Most of the people were focusing their ambitions on their costumes instead of where they wanted to finish in the race. Some were dressed in costumes so ridiculous - the duo carrying a giant cardboard bobsled for their "Cool Runnings" costume comes to mind - that I have a hard time understanding how they expected to compete at all. In my own experience, I came to discover that dressing up as Batman, while fulfilling nerdy boyhood ambitions, does not help me run faster.

But I suppose that's the appeal in signing up for a race like this: The fun factor of it. Road races come and go throughout the year and there's always going to be other chances to try for a personal best time. But there's only one day for Halloween, so you might as well take full advantage of the chance to dress outrageously for a day.

Due to my decision to sign up for the 5K race, I was able to get a few decent pictures of some of the costumes and runners competing in the half marathon and 10-mile events (see slideshow in the previous post). However, since my camera had sketchy functionality throughout the day, some of the best costumes actually went uncaptured by my camera's lens.

So, in an effort to paint a better picture of the costume-clad scenery of Monster Dash, I decided to award costumes (conceived and deliberated by a panel of one) in specific categories. Here is the list I came up with:

Best Disney movie costume:
A group of guys and a girl successfully pulled off "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Kudos to them for finding that many people game to run a half marathon. There was also a family dressed as "The Incredibles" and a couple dressed up like Shrek and Fiona. However, Snow White and her clan of dwarfs wins out simply due to strength in numbers.

Best overall movie reference in a costume: The guy dressed up as the bearded, cross country running version of Forrest Gump was pretty spot on. I half-expected him to stop in the middle of the race and say "I'm feeling kind of tired. I think I'm gonna go home now" in a thick southern accent. Apologies to the two guys who had their own Jamaican bobsled team a la "Cool Runnings."

Best video game costume:
A three way tie between a group of half marathon runners who were dressed as Mega Man, Metroid and the Super Mario Brothers. Honorable mention to the group pulling off Pac Man in the slideshow.

Costume that showed up with surprising regularity over the course of the day: Girls dressed as Wonder Woman, guys dressed in a full cow suit complete with utter were consistent themes.

Best Saturday Night Live reference in a costume:
Two people were dressed up as Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley in the Chipendale's skit, right down to Swayze's distinct head of hair and Farley's rotund figure. I don't really know how to feel about seeing this for a costume idea, seeing as how both the actors in the skit are now dead. Not sure whether it was in bad taste or if it was a fitting tribute.

Best backhanded costumes (aka costumes that are clever, but meant as an insult at the same time): Tough decision here. I really liked the two girls who wore the Latrell Spreewell and Stephon Marbury Timberwolves jerseys, if for nothing else just to torture the remaining Timberwolves fan base out there. But there were some other doozies as well. There was a Plaxico Burress reference (complete with New York Giants jersey and a giant red stain on the leg of their sweatpants), a Barry Bonds jersey with syringes taped to it, and a guy with a John McCain mask on and a t-shirt that read "Loser." I'm guessing that particular runner isn't a Republican.

Best TV show costume:
The pair of guys who pulled off Gilligan and the Skipper. I'm a sucker for retro TV references.

Best cartoon costume:
With all respect to Bart and Lisa Simpson in the 10-mile run, the couple who pulled off "Tom & Jerry" gets my vote. Simpson costumes are commonplace, Tom & Jerry costumes are a rarity.

Best board game costume:
Not much competition here. The woman dressed up as the patient from Operation wins hands down. I think I saw another person dressed as a huge Taboo button, but that was about it. Kind of surprised I didn't see anyone dressed up as the Monopoly guy.

Best historical costume: George Washington by a hair over Napoleon.

Best food costume: See photo of giant hot dog in slideshow. He even had ketchup and mustard bottles for props.

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