If last weekend's Boo and Brew Bash is any indication, Wichita is going gaga for Lady Gaga costumes this Halloween.
The annual costume party, a fundraiser for Dress for Success that always draws crowds to the Cessna Activity Center, took place a little early this year, providing a sneak peek into the pop culture figures that people are most likely to imitate this Halloween.
The party was overflowing with Gagas, including Intrust Bank Arena's Sarah Haertl, dressed in the singer's infamous bubble dress, and her friend Sierra Scott, wearing Gaga's hairbow wig and asymmetrical silver minidress. The two were part of a four-girl gaggle of Gaga girls who attended the party together.
The friends even went out to dinner at Uptown Bistro after the party, drawing a lot of startled stares.
"It was funny to see people's reaction down in Old Town," said Haertl, who spent hours constructing her 15-pound, restroom-unfriendly dress out of clear Christmas ornaments pinned onto a white dress.
Gaga was not the only over-the-top pop culture icon represented at the party. Other attendees arrived dressed as "Jersey Shore" characters Snooki and The Situation, and one large group of friends portrayed the whole cast of "Jon & Kate Plus 8."
There was an "Iron Man," two sets of Fred and Wilma Flinstones, and several "Top Gun" getups (including local disc jockey Brett Harris dressed as Maverick and accompanied by two busty "Fly Girls"). The group that won the costume contest came dressed as all the main characters from "Charlie Brown" — Snoopy, Peppermint Patty and the rest of the gang.
A survey of costume shops, both in town and online, reveals other costumes inspired by pop culture this year.
One of my favorites is the Jet Blue flight attendant who jettisoned down the escape slide, beers in hand, after getting frustrated with a passenger. I've seen two versions of this costume: The easy one requires a blue flight attendant's shirt, a blue tie and a couple of beer bottles to carry around. A more complicated version has a blow-up escape slide fastened to the front of the outfit.
Movies have inspired a few trends this year, too. "Alice in Wonderland" costumes are huge, said employees at Halloween Express on north Rock Road. "Twilight" characters Bella and Edward are popular choices, too, and the "Harry Potter" craze continues, both with children and adults.
From television, "Mad Men" and "The Office" costumes are big, and video games are even inspiring some revelers. "Super Mario Brothers" costumes are plentiful and popular.
If you do decide to go the Gaga route, take some advice from two who've tried it: Avoid the notorious meat dress.
Both Haertl and Scott tried and failed to put together replicas of the dress, using everything from steak to vegetarian bacon to plastic steak toys for dogs.
Each one failed in its own spectacular way.
"I even tried to Shellac the steak," Scott said with a laugh. "But that didn't work, either."