Dressing the part

Nanaimo couple puts effort into Halloween costumes every year

It’s not about how much money, time and effort you spend on a Halloween costume, it’s how much fun you have.

Teresa Lovric and Larry Grabeldinger know how to have fun – and come up with some killer costumes at the same time.

The costume hunting started a few months ago, when Lovric came across an online classified listing for a Cowardly Lion costume.

“His favourite character [from The Wizard of Oz] is the Cowardly Lion,” Lovric said. “We’ve been looking for a costume for years.”

The right costume presented itself, specially made for a school production of the Wizard of Oz. It was also big enough to fit someone with a size 12 shoe.

“It was perfect,” Lovric said. “It was like it was made for him.”

Before they met, they both liked dressing up for Halloween, sporting events and Christmas. The fun got more serious about seven years ago after an invitation to a Halloween party and they struggled to find a theme, until inspiration struck.

“He said, would I look like Shrek? I said, pfft, yeah,” Lovric said.

They headed to Fantasy Island Costume, a company that’s no longer in business, and the owners helped put together Shrek’s outfit, cutting a bear costume for the vest, a monk costume for the long shirt. Grabeldinger combined that with tights and his Navy-issue boots.

Lovric wore a wig, a crushed velvet dress and the crown made by the costume ladies.

“We painted each other green and went to the party,” she said.

They were such a hit that they headed out pub hopping after the party.

“One guy offered him [Grabeldinger] $20 to go to his house and see his kid,” Lovric said.

The next year they improved on their costumes, creating paper mache ears, and headed to Vancouver as part of a pub crawl.

“Everywhere we went, people wanted to get their picture taken with us,” Lovric said. “It was like we were Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.”

After Shrek and Fiona, they went as Fred and Wilma, from The Flintstones, and this year the Cowardly Lion and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.

Grabeldinger celebrated Halloween as an adult as far back as university.

“We used to go as Kiss,” he said. “I was the biggest guy, so I went as Gene Simmons.”

Lovric loves Halloween, too, collecting two large bins of costumes throughout the years, which she often used on her office co-workers.

“I would just take my bins of costumes to work,” she said. “People would participate because they didn’t have a choice.”

The couple is a few hundred dollars into the costumes this year, but stress it doesn’t have to cost much at all to put an original costume together.

Grabeldinger’s Fred Flintstone outfit was a piece of orange fabric decorated with a black Sharpie. They check online classifieds, like Used Nanaimo, and haunt Value Village for bargains.

If they’re looking for something specific, they head to Patties Party Palace, which will special order all kinds of items.

“Pattie knows us,” Grabeldinger said.

It’s not just at Halloween that the couple dons costumes – Grabeldinger is an enthusiastic member of the Rider Nation. He had his head painted to look like a Saskatchewan Roughriders helmet during Grey Cup in Edmonton, and other games he wore a bright green wig and a cape.

Heading to a game in Vancouver, Lovric, in her B.C. Lions jersey, attracted attention for painting Grabeldinger’s face green and white while onboard B.C. Ferries.

They did the same for the round-robin hockey game between Canada and the U.S. during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

“I got painted up for that, too,” Grabeldinger said. “It’s not just exclusive to Halloween but you have to be brave enough to go out there.”

Now with a baby grandchild, Grabeldinger and Lovric are sharing the fun with the next generation – and planning a costume with a red suit and a white beard.

Lovric and Grabeldinger plan to hit the Queen’s this weekend for the bar’s costume contest, which carries a top prize of $250.

“We’re too old to go to any other clubs in town,” Lovric said.

For more information on Halloween activities, please see the What’s On calendar.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com