York artists share their most creative costumes


Between the costumes, the decorating and the party-throwing, Halloween presents an opportunity for everyone to be creative. Coming up with a truly great costume does take some original thinking.

In this vein of thought, The York Dispatch contacted some of the area's most artistic people to ask them about the best costumes they've made over the years.

The stylist: Tifani Ennis, a photographer and holistic healer who lives in Wrightsville, has turned her costume-styling talents into a business opportunity.

Last Saturday, she hosted a Halloween open house in Lancaster with Lost Sugar Disco, a production company she co-founded. They styled costumes for people and rented out outfits for $25 each.

About 10 people walked away with original Halloween costumes.

"We had an intergalactic freak show, the king and queen of space, we did Miss America ... and this really awesome cyber witch," Ennis said.

Did it put a dent in her clothing collection?

"Not at all," she said. "We have so much stuff."

Four years ago, Ennis said she spent Halloween in New Orleans. She dressed up as a circus ringleader.

In a striped skirt complete with a bustle, a jacket she made spooky by affixing a skull to the back, boots and a marching-band hat, "I swear I led the whole show that night!" she said.

Ennis fondly remembers her aunt helping her create a "cosmic queen" costume two years ago. Her transformation into the "queen of the universe" involved a sequined wrap skirt that rested on a giant bridal-type crinoline, she said.

This year, she and her friend Tiffany Abel are planning to go as cheerleaders for time and space, she said.

They'll wear cheerleaders' outfits with the words "time" and "space" sewn on — Ennis will be space and Abel will be time, she said.

For the first part of the night, she said, the two will appear as preppy cheerleaders, but their costumes will take a dark turn later when they show up at a punk show wearing bondage masks. "We're bonded to time and space," Ennis said.

The idea stemmed from two "cheerleaders for Jerry" the friends saw while attending a Grateful Dead show, Ennis said.

"I think (costumes) are a really wonderful way to express myself and my creativity ... and show the world the truth — the freak that I am," she laughed.

The painter: Olivia Lippy, a senior at York College studying therapeutic recreation, takes a more food-oriented approach to her Halloween costumes.

"My favorite was probably sushi," she said.

Lippy, who paints in watercolor and oil and has shown her work at The Parliament, made a cylinder shape with cardboard, used a yellow terry cloth to form an egg, and painted foam pieces to look like avocado and raw tuna. Pingpong balls that were painted orange and cut in half formed the fish eggs. The rice was made of packing peanuts, and textured garbage bags formed the seaweed on the outside.

To top it off, Lippy wore wasabi earrings and chopsticks in her hair.

Two years ago, she was a bottle of sriracha, her green cap made of a plastic container and green construction paper.

Lippy said she's not sure what her costume will be this year.

She dyes her hair a different color every month, she said, so that will play into it.

She was considering dyeing her hair green and going as Beetlejuice, she said.

But that idea isn't up to her standards.

"I was thinking, ah, that's not crazy enough," she said.

The gallery owner: Steve Billet, co-owner of i-ron-ic, an art gallery in York City, said he went as a kid's bed eight or nine years ago.

"I always go for the shock value," he said. "You couldn't tell what the costume was until the judging."

Billet said he wore a camper mattress on his back. Cabbage Patch Kids were pinned to it to look like they were tucked in.

When he was standing up, Billet said, the mattress was folded over and he sort of looked like he was carrying a backpack, he said.

But when he went down on all fours before the crowd, he said, everyone realized what he was.

"It was function before form," David Smith, Billet's partner, added. "It's always form to function — for people who wear glasses, that's the most difficult part."

Billet's worst costume, he said, included lots of red face paint. In a hotel room at Disney World in Florida, he said, he transformed himself into the devil, complete with sharp teeth, horns and a scaly chest, covering his body with the red paint.

"I was thinking, 'Yeah, who paints themselves?!'" Billet remembered.

It turned into an expensive costume.

"I got red paint all over the place," he said.

— Reach Julia Scheib at