If it hasn't been clear by our string of posts in the fine month of October, we are certified Halloween nuts. From decorating to costumes, spooky party fare to haunting libations, we honestly can't get enough of this lovely holiday. But be warned, this isn't a holiday you can fumble into willy-nilly, it's a celebration that must be adequately planned for. 

When planning for the celebration of All Hallows' Eve, one of the most important elements is obviously the selection of your costume. Nothing says "I go all out" like an over the top costume that shows significant effort, planning, creativity, or commitment. In a previous post we outlined our costume selections since moving to DC. Some years we've gone the couples route, others on our own, but if you can see anything from our costumes, we always try to do something that we enjoy individually because the whole point of Halloween is the fun.

This year Wendy was taking a bit too long to decide on her costume, so I decided to do a costume on my own. I actually started putting together my costume about six or seven months ago. Anything worth doing is worth doing right, and the proper amount of lead time is necessary when you want a good looking costume. So what did I decide to go as this year? I went with another sport theme (I do like the sports themes) and put together a very accurate 1960's Cleveland Browns costume.

This all goes back to a movie that was released in 2008 and that I saw in 2010 called "The Express." A true story about running back Ernie Davis, the first African American Heismann Trophy winner in 1962. Ernie Davis was signed to play for the Cleveland Browns and several scenes in the movie depicted the Browns in a 1962 game.

I've always loved period style costumes, so when I saw an auction listing for one of the jerseys and pants from the movie. I figured this would make a good costume so I waited and waited until it got to a low enough price that I thought was fair and I snapped them up. With that, I was on my way to a costume I knew I would love!

Once I had the jersey and pants, I needed the next most important piece of the uniform, the helmet. As luck would have it, in my youth I used to spend too much money on things I didn't need. One of those things was an old school Cleveland Browns replica helmet. When I went home over the summer I grabbed it from my parents' basement and brought it back with us.

Next I turned my focus to the socks. The signature orange, brown, and white socks that have been a staple in the Browns uniform since the team was founded. After an exhaustive search on the Internet, I caught a lucky break on eBay. A user had an auction for three pair of authentic game equipment socks. Lucky for me, the socks today's aren't significantly different than they were 50 years ago.

Shoes are the next critical element of a football uniform, and cleats from the 1960s are fairly distinctive. I started looking around for vintage cleats expecting to get a pair and then remove the studs from the shoes. However, as long as I searched, I couldn't find a reasonably priced pair. They were all over $50 plus shipping. After another very lengthy search, I finally found a pair of all black Converse that would fit the bill nicely. They aren't perfect, but they will absolutely do.

And finally, to round out that football look, I needed pads. Shoulder pads, knee pads, thigh pads, without them the uniform would just look deflated. One more time, I turned to the wonderful eBay. I was able to find a pair of vintage shoulder pads for about $10. They are worn and no longer flexible, and many of the leather items were torn, but they have that vintage look to them of large square shoulders.   

The thigh pads and knee pads are standard football pads that fit in pockets built into the pants.

Putting the whole costume together it turned out pretty solidly. The helmet is a bit tight, so it hurts my ears a little bit when I'm pulling it off, but otherwise, the whole thing is a pretty perfect fit.

No football costume is complete without a ball and a little Heismann pose.

So what do you think? Wendy says "Lame!" But I really like it. And like I said, the whole point of Halloween is putting together a costume that looks great, but also one that you like and makes you happy. This costume took several months and lots of searching to assemble, bit it gave me something that I really enjoyed putting together. I've wanted to be a Cleveland Brown since I was a kid, and I finally had my shot.

What are you going to be dressing up as this year? Is it a group costume, an individual, meticulously constructed over a long period of time, or bought as a simple package? No matter what, as long as you're dressing up, it should be a fun time. 

Comments 2

Comments

Whitney
10/19/2011 at 4:30 PM
Not being a sports fan, your costume doesn't "do anything" for me, but I sure do admire your dedication to the holiday.
Considering I'm moving provinces in 3 days, I haven't even given a single thought to what I'll be wearing! :(
Wendy
10/20/2011
Hahaha. Thanks for your support on this Whitney!

Good luck with the move. :-)
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