LV bucks Halloween costume trends in ’09

You can’t always trust the media when journalists go hunting for topical trends to try to seem like pop culture prophets. This weekend’s example: Halloween costumes.

All last week, newspaper and TV people across America told readers and viewers — while quoting costume retailers hustling wig supplies — the hot outfits of the season would be Kate Gosselin, Octomom, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Lady Gaga.

I concede I don’t know what moms were wearing while greeting trick-or-treaters in Iowa City or Portland. But I scoured the Strip and found nary a Kate Gosselin, no more than two Michaels, nada Octomoms and zero Farrahs, but I did spy a handful of Lady Gagas, several of them men.

That was my clearly important, eyewitness report from the entry and exit lines of the Hard Rock’s Fetish & Fantasy Ball, nightclubs at the Palms, The Venetian and Bellagio, Club Paradise, the Double Down Saloon and sidewalks near each hot spot.

Typical of the night, I met a woman dressed as Beatrix Kiddo from “Kill Bill,” and asked her, Taylor Seidler, if she’d seen any Kate Gosselins.

“Who the hell is Kate Gosselin?” she said, then she made out with her date, who was dressed exactly like the leather-bound “gimp” from “Pulp Fiction.” (If you don’t know, Kate Gosselin is just another reality TV scumbag.)

A guy dressed as zombie Eva Braun wasn’t really familiar with her, either. But he did get excited when an 18-year-old girl ran her hands through his zombie Eva hair and French kissed him.

Costume retailers also convinced newspapers across the country that vampires would be huge, because of the kid-skewing “Twilight” movie phenomenon.

Here in Vegas: On the one hand, The Venetian’s club Tao did draw insane numbers of party people partly by paying to trot out a few “Twilight” co-stars as club guests: Kellan Lutz and Ashley Greene.

On the other hand, such “Twilight” vampires seemed in short supply among the regular people — the 500 or so paying customers I eyeballed at Tao — or anywhere else on the Strip.

I realize this all seems pretty silly, tallying costumes. But there are some important media and anthropological observations here.

First of all, we journalists never do ourselves favors by quoting retailers but not their customers. Sometimes, we make that mistake (myself included) because we love combining pop culture with an event to look all-knowing. This happens a lot in my business. This happened constantly last week.

The Associated Press sent out a feature story for newspapers to run nationwide that declared: “Costume suppliers predict this year’s hot costumes will come from reality television, tabloid celebs and the high-profile deaths of two superstars.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong, at least on the Strip.

The AP story continued:

“‘Inspiration for Halloween costumes comes from the media, the movies, current events and pop culture,'” said Steven Silverstein, CEO and president of Spirit Halloween.

That quote is more accurate. Do you know how I know it’s accurate? I got off my chair, went out in the real world on my legs, and observed things with my own eyes. I know that’s a radical concept, since it’s what most of us were taught in Journalism 101.

Here’s what I saw across Vegas: tradition. The tradition of women dressed as sexy cats, sexy devils, sexy maids (French maids, Swiss Miss maids), winged angels, Pocahontas, Dorothy from “Wizard of Oz,” Alice from “Wonderland,” Little Red Riding Hood, Playboy bunnies, ghouls, African queens and Japanese schoolgirls.

Dudes: There were lots of “Ghostbusters,” quite a few Fred Flintstones, several “Beetlejuices,” many Batmans, plenty of Jokers, ghouls, “Star Trek” characters, devils and zombies.

In fact, my final score notched fewer Michael Jacksons (two) than Nintendo’s Mario (four), Nintendo’s Luigi (three), Teletubbies (four), and “The Hangover” character (four) holding a baby on his chest (as played in the film by Zach Galifianakis).

I spotted even fewer MJs than Lt. Dangle characters from “Reno 911!” (three), as made famous to Generation Y by actor Thomas Lennon.

My conclusion from all this is either:

A) The holiday/pop culture media was wrong again, posting headlines unfurling forecasts such as, “Michael Jackson, Lady Gag, Kate-minus-Jon” (in the San Jose Mercury News), and running MJ/Kate Gosselin predictions everywhere from the Chicago Sun-Times to the Boston Herald, the Reading (Pa.) Eagle, the Glen Falls (New York) Post-Star, and on and on.

Or B), Vegas party people are more creative and go more all-out with their costumes than most of the country. I mean, you should have seen the detail in these outfits.

In fact, check out my blog. I snapped 99 photos on the Strip. Dig on the Cookie Monster, the “God of War,” the guy dressed as Rene Magritte’s painting “The Son of Man,” the guy dressed as Magritte’s painting “Le Pelerin,” and the partier who wore a perfect Bender robot costume from “Futurama.”

Those were inspired outfits, definitely more thoughtful than plopping on a Kate Gosselin wig to satisfy we the pop culture-hungry media.

Doug Elfman’s column appears on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Contact him at 383-0391 or e-mail him at He also blogs at

Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jeffrey Martin Added To Nevada's Black Book
Martin was one of four men convicted of theft and cheating at gambling in 2016 in Clark County District Court and sentenced to prison. The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously Thursday to include Martin in the black book.
Raiders Stadium Timelapse
Construction on the new Raiders stadium continues in Las Vegas.
Buffalo Wild Wings security video
Security footage from a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in southwest Las Vegas captured a driver who repeatedly crashed into a vehicle in a failed attempt to squeeze into a tight parking spot.
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
Opportunity Village's Magical Forest added 1 million lights and a synchronized music show visible from all over the forest this year. The holiday attraction, which began in 1991, has a train, rides, food and entertainment along with the light displays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Navigating the new I-515 southbound to 215 Beltway ramp configuration
After opening at 5 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, the new Interstate 515 southbound to the 215 Beltway westbound freeway ramp configuration caused confusion amongst motorist. Here’s how to navigate the new ramp. (Mick Akers/ Las Vegas Review-Journal).
A record breaking donation of nearly $9 million to Girls Scouts of Southern Nevada
A record breaking donation of property valued at nearly $9 million was made to the Girls Scouts of Southern Nevada by the Charles and Phyllis M. Frias Charitable Trust. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal. @bizutesfaye
Kerry Clasby thanks the community for support after California fire damage
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about the lessons of accepting help as she has gone through the Woolsey Fire disaster, in which she lost many of her belongings. About 100 people were on hand for an event that raised about $7,000.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like