Stories

The Ultimate Costume Duo

By Stephanie Lew, Buffalo Exchange Tucson

Buffalo ExchangeHidden in the semi-small city of Tucson are Molly and Carl Johnson. Your average happily married couple brings awe-inspiring couples costumes once a year (and sometimes more) to the streets of the desert. Mostly homemade or random pieces put together, this couple says no to the prepackaged costume and yes to the creative craft of DIY. We asked them for an inside look at the ultimate costume duo.

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Please tell us a little bit about yourselves (who you are, what you do and fun facts):

Our names are Molly and Carl Johnson and we’re native Tucsonans who have been together for over eight years.  Molly is currently going to school studying psychology and art and Carl is studying audio engineering.  We have two dogs, Devo and McRib.  They also have Halloween costumes, but theirs stay the same every year.  Devo is always a yellow-clad member of the band Devo and McRib is always a McDonald’s McRib sandwich.

Buffalo ExchangeAt what point in the year do you start to plan your next costume?

We have a running list of ideas that we update year to year. We usually make a final decision in July or August. This gives us plenty of time to start gathering materials.

What kind of process goes into creating your amazing duo costumes?

Well, it varies by costume. Sometimes we buy second-hand clothes that work great, or that we can alter to fit our needs.  For more complicated costumes, we have to hand make some, if not all, of the pieces.  For example, our “Back to the Future” costumes were put together mostly with pieces we bought.  On the other hand, Batman and Robin were almost totally hand crafted. Usually, it ends up being a combination of the two.

Buffalo ExchangeAre there arguments over who is going to be who?

No, there never really is.  We like to play off our size difference for most of the costumes, so it’s pretty clear which role each of us will play.  Sometimes we will disagree on what duo to be in the first place, but we always pick one both of us are happy with.

Buffalo ExchangeWhat was your first duo costume?

The very first was “Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat.”  We had been dating for about six months and Molly decided a couple costume was in order.  Back then we didn’t plan nearly as far out, so the costume was put together/made in two days.

What kind of advice do you have for other duos out there?

Pick a duo that is recognizable by most everyone from your friends to your parents. Also, don’t just buy those cheap ready-made costumes at party stores.  You can put together a much better looking costume for even cheaper if you buy clothes secondhand and learn a few crafting methods from online tutorials.

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Do you have any stories you’d like to share from when you were in costume?

Last year, when we were Woody and Buzz Lightyear, we got to hand out candy at Trail Dust Town’s Safe Halloween event.  There were lots of young kids who thought we were the real deal, which was really fun! We posed for lots of photos with the little ones and we only made one kid cry!

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Can we have a hint at what to expect this year?

Let’s just say we’ll have to practice our bald cap and makeup skills for this one.

American Horror Story or The Walking Dead? And why?

We’ve never seen AHS but have heard good things.  We keep up with The Walking Dead, but if you really want to be scared by a TV show, watch the “Zeke the Plumber” episode of “Salute Your Shorts.”

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Stephanie is a connoisseur of shoes and small brass figurines. Born and raised in Tucson, AZ, she is the Art Director for Buffalo Exchange. Her favorite words include “Yikes” “Banana” and “Paradox.” You can see adorable photos of her dog here @StephLewPhotog

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