The Big 10 with Jeff D'Alessio, Oct. 12, 2014

The Big 10 with Jeff D'Alessio, Oct. 12, 2014

'Tis the season for pumpkin picking, haunted housing and trick-or-treating. With Halloween almost here, we asked these familiar faces to tell us about their most unforgettable childhood costume.


President, University of Illinois

"Growing up in Texas, I was in the first grade and I was to be in a Thanksgiving program dressed as a pilgrim. My mother, who sewed the clothes worn in our family, made the pilgrim outfit. A notable feature, of course, was the big black Pilgrim hat with a buckle in the front.

"I wore the pilgrim outfit, the hat balanced atop my head, in the local Halloween parade and won the prize for Best Dressed."


Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Peoria

"My favorite costume, when I was in the first or second grade, was a devil suit with a long black tail and bright red horns. I am still working on getting rid of a bit of the devil that it is still in me."


Judge, 6th Judicial Circuit

"Mom was quite the seamstress and it showed on Halloween. However, the best costume she made was actually the simplest. It was 'The Thing' — a crazy green fabric tube with eye holes and a wild mop of red yarn hair. It was a hand-me-down from my older brother and we both agreed that it garnered not only lots of compliments but also our best candy hauls ever."


WCIA weathercasting legend

"I was 10, growing up in a small town in Wisconsin with my three brothers and Mom and Dad. My dad, since I was the only girl, always called me his angel, much to the chagrin of my brothers. So the Halloween of my 10th year, I decided I wanted to be an angel.

"My mother, who made our costumes, outdid herself that year. She worked tirelessly to make this beautiful, floor-length angel robe of gossamer blue with gold trim and a halo of golden glitter. But the wings ... they were magnificent: white and feathery with sparkles sewn in. I truly felt like the angel Gabriel.

"I should have known then and there that weather would play a big role in my life. Trick or treat day started out cloudy, cold and rainy and by afternoon the temperatures plummeted and the rain became a mixture of rain and snow. My parka did not fit over my wings or halo and somehow the beautiful robe didn't look quite so good with boots. I was crushed but my dad took a picture of me and he carried his 'angel' in his wallet for years and years.

"Now, he is my angel and watches over me every day."


UI men's basketball coach

"I'd have to say my most memorable Halloween costume was when I went as Mr. T. I loved watching 'The A-Team,' so I bought the Mr. T starter kit, which included a gold chain and mohawk."



Marching Illini

"I was 5, growing up in North Liberty, Ind. My Grandpa Houser loved skunks for some reason — especially the smell of them. Weird, I know. There was a nest of baby skunks near our mailbox. My mom thought they were so cute and thought, 'Wow, let's dress Barry up as a skunk so he can be cute, just like baby skunk.' She says everyone loved the costume — as they giggled in the background.

"It must have worked — I had two pumpkin buckets for candy. Wow, this explains a lot."


Monticello Theatre Association

"When I was in sixth grade in Taylorville, my friend and I dressed up as a crayon box and a crayon. I was the box — a bright yellow and green Binney & Smith 48-pack.

"We were trying to outdo our fifth-grade appearance as a pair of dice. I think we just liked painting large cardboard boxes."


Pride of Unity High, Purdue basketball

"That's me in the orange, circa 1986. I was 9 and so fired up to wear that to school for our little Halloween walk. My dad was able to snag it all for me — from the pants to the pads, the whole thing.

"You don't realize how heavy those helmets are. I was already the tallest kid of the class. Then you put all that on, and I'm, like, a giant."


'85 Bears star, Pro Football Hall of Famer

"Actually, I still garb up and scare anyone I can. Frankenstein is not hard. A Dracula look is effective. But back in high school — when I was very fast — I would run up on kids, adults, people at stop signs as a 6-foot-5 vampire. Blood everywhere. People would s—- themselves. Sometimes I'd do it a week early, before the occasion had subdued some.

"I miss it. Now, my kids get to be my henchmen while I divert trick-or-treaters' attention. Hah. Forever young."


Champaign school board

"This was back in San Jose, Calif. I was 13. I wore a ninja custom. It was unique because my parents took it upon themselves to buy the outfit — and a pirate sword along with it. Don't judge. It was the only Halloween that I was confused who I was.

"I was a little bummed that I didn't have the complete outfit. However, it turned out to be a win and I was quickly over it because some of the kids thought I was some kind of new Power Ranger."


Former UI linebacker, future minister

"I had been playing Pop Warner football since the ripe age of 8. Our team was able to keep our football equipment at home with us throughout the duration of the season. Conveniently, Halloween always fell in the midst of the spirit-filled youth season. So, on Halloween, from fourth grade until I arrived to high school, I got dressed in my full uniform — thigh pads, cleats, game socks, even eye black.

"It was quite normal for my neighbors to see me in full uniform on a weekly basis, so I figured: What better way to celebrate Halloween than with a bit of reverse-reverse psychology?"


Anchor/Reporter, just left WCIA-TV for Indianapolis' Fox 59

"I remember I was so excited to be Belle from 'Beauty and the Beast' when I was 5 years old. My little brother was 3 at the time and wanted to be a bumble bee. Well, I guess my mom wanted him to be a bumble bee.

"Anyway, as we ran around trick-or-treating in Bourbonnais, we quickly became known as Beauty and the Bee."

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