Monday, September 10, 2012

Lighthouse for Sale

OK, it's a Halloween costume, but it's an impressive adult-sized working lighthouse, and I've won more costume contests in it than with any other of my wild, personally crafted Halloween costumes.

In October 2000, I took my lighthouse to the Halloween party at Salty Dawg on North Monroe Street in Tallahassee, and it was immediately apparent I had brought the right costume to the right place at the right time.

I was the only one wearing a lighthouse, but lighthouses were all I saw. Prints on the wall, menus on the tables, and the blackboard outside with daily specials all had lighthouses on them.

The Salty Dawg's owner approached me shortly after we arrived and complimented me on my creation. She told me that she was especially fond of lighthouses and asked me how much money I wanted for mine.

Without even thinking, I replied, "A THOUSAND dollars."

I regretted saying the words even as they came out, and have no doubt that her derisive "Let me know when you have a serious figure," response saved my career.

As in My Grandmother's Pennies, I would have realized a windfall that would likely have ended any further personal Halloween costume aspirations. I would have been content with the lowball value I had assigned to my costume, and spent the next several years bragging about how much my Halloween costuming career had been worth.

I won the Salty Dawg's costume contest that evening, and all other contests I entered that Halloween. Before I suited up as the "Pinball Wizard" with pinball machine and wizard suit next Halloween, I had amassed well more than a thousand dollars' worth of prizes, and got to keep my Lighthouse.

I won several other costume contests with the Lighthouse over the years, including at the Two Nichols Family Restaurant in the very shadow of the St. Marks Lighthouse. I won in Monticello, Florida, and the Monticello News carried our story first across the top. I have done especially well at beach and coastal communities. I won first place at Schooner's Last Local Beach Club in Panama City Beach, and I know we would be a major attraction at any of the "Save the Lighthouse" efforts I occasionally read about.

It is my signature Halloween costume, no longer for sale.

As of 2015, my Lighthouse Costume, with all my other costumes, permanently resides at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum.

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