Somewhere – perhaps Facebook – I recently ran across a story about a man who attended Fashion Week dressed as Waldo:
If the link is broken, no matter, because what I really wanted to do here was capture the idea and describe what I really love about it.
This costume meets all of my costume criteria, for starters. The costume is very easy to wear. You can walk and move and sit and eat in it. This guy even has the cane, but you could lose that and still be immediately recognizable. He’s not spending much time answering questions about who he is dressed as.
The costume is quite easy – particularly if you are a tall-ish, slender man. Red and white striped shirt. Red and white striped winter hat. Dark pants. He had the round glasses and the cane – but I’m not sure that those are even necessary.
Most importantly, this costume it also adds the element of approach-ability. Everyone is excited to “find” him. He’s practically a celebrity. And since most folks really LIKE Waldo, they have no problem coming up to him, speaking with him, taking photos with him, and so forth.
My experience with dressing as Minnie Mouse showed me how willing people are to interact with you if you are dressed as a lovable, recognizable character. Much more willing than they would be if you were just dressed normally. It’s an odd thing that the same stranger somehow becomes safer because they are dressed as someone safe.
Several years ago, a friend of mine came to one of my costume parties dressed as Flo from the commercials for Progressive Insurance. As soon as she was in the door, I overheard someone say to his wife “Look honey, it’s Flo!” And everyone wanted to speak with her. They felt like they knew her – or at least that she was someone safe to talk to, friendly, and worth getting to know.