Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween in Taiwan Part 1: How to make a bat costume

Christine and I in all our bat glory at the Leopard Garden hostel in Taipei

This project is adapted from:

Materials needed:
Black hoodie
Black umbrella
Wire cutters
Needle and thread

Construction Time: 2 episodes of It's Always Sunny and 2 of Big Bang Theory

Step 1: Buy materials.
Go to your local Carrefour. Stop at the little umbrella stand just outside of the front doors. Tell the saleswoman that you and your friend want to buy 2 plain black umbrellas. When she gives you a blue umbrella, tell her no, you really do want a black one.  Repeat process as she tries to sell you a silver umbrella, a black and white polka dot umbrella, and a decorative navy umbrella. Finally convince her to sell you the two cheapest black umbrellas she has. Enter Carrefour with your new umbrellas (which you will soon be cutting into pieces) feeling very accomplished.

Search the entire clothing section of Carrefour (including men's and children's) for a black hoodie. Find only raincoats in adult sections. Try on the largest kid's hoodie you can find. It has giant shoes printed all over it and it's too small. Give up on trying to find anything as simple as a plain black hoodie on such short notice in Taiwan. Try to improvise. Decide to buy a black men's dress shirt to sew your wings on instead. Ignore the cold stares of the other foreigners as you and your roommate try on articles of men's clothing in the middle of the supermarket. Try to find a hat that you can glue bat ears to. Give up after the salesperson tries to give you the white hat off of a mannequin. At least you have your umbrella and a shirt.

Step 2: Disassemble umbrella
Attempt to unscrew the little metal wires holding the umbrella spokes to the center of the umbrella. According to the directions, they should just "pop" off. Lies! After trying for about 15 minutes and only getting 2 of the 3 off this way, give up and try to just cut the third wire with the new wire cutters you just picked up at Carrefour. Quickly come to the realization that you are now the proud owner of the most useless wire cutters on the planet as they cannot cut even this one small, cheap piece of wire. Conclude that you perhaps should have spent more than one US dollar on your new tool. Go back to struggling.

Okay. Wires successfully removed!
Cut umbrella in half along the seam, removing one spoke on either side. Attempt to cut off the metal ribs in the middle of each spoke (the ones that used to connect it to the slidey part of the umbrella stick). Curse your cheapie wire cutters again. Resort to prying the ribs off with a combination of a flathead screw driver, your good for nothing wire cutters, and pure brute strength.

Showing the umbrella who's boss
Tie remaining spokes on either umbrella piece back together at the top with the wires you so painstakingly removed earlier.

Step 3: Sew umbrella to shirt

Watch It's Always Sunny as you sew. Trust me, it makes all that hand stitching much more tolerable. Try not to stab yourself in the finger too many times. If you do, it's okay, your costume's black. The blood probably won't show.


Step 4: Run amuck all over Taipei in your swanky new bat costume
Amuck, amuck, amuck!

You and your 15 foreigner friends in costumes have to get from your leopard themed hostel to the Halloween party you're attending somehow. May as well take the subway.

On Ximending
Our entire group with a random Taiwanese guy who wanted to get a picture with us. Can't blame him,
it's not everyday you meet so many well dressed foreigners.
Suave hipster cowboy Ari always gets the girls
Just a bat on the subway. Casual.
"Happy Hallo Ween" everyone!
At the party!
This week, I'm super excited to get to wear my costume to school! More Halloween fun in Taiwan coming soon.

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