Halifax's hottest Halloween costume: Couple goes as broken crane
Viral video footage of the collapse of a Halifax construction crane during post-tropical storm Dorian looked like a scene from a big-budget monster movie, so it only makes sense that it would become the perfect 2019 Halloween costume.
There have been a few examples posted on social media, using a combination of a cardboard box for the South Park Street building and some form of latticework for the yellow crane jib that came to rest atop it during the storm in early September. The idea was especially appealing to Dalhousie University engineering students Nicole Bell and her partner Adam Higdon, whose tag-team approach with the latter as the building and the former as the crane, became a big hit on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Bell, currently working on a masters degree in civil engineering, lives only a few blocks away from where the twisted wreckage lay until its recent removal began over Thanksgiving weekend. As with most Haligonians, the fallen crane was an object of fascination for weeks, long before she and Higdon got the idea to turn it into something more personal.
“We walked by it every day, on our way to the Sexton Campus, so I’d see how the removal was slowly coming along. It’s finally down, and that’s great, but ever since the storm it’s just been right there,” she says.
“The other day, we watched them take the last large pieces off the side of the building, and we said, ‘Oh, there goes our Halloween costume!’”
The couple got the idea to immortalize the crane in costume form two weeks ago when they were driving past the site. Every year they like to get creative for Halloween parties and try to pick something unique and topical, like the time she wore a shirt with the logo of a popular streaming service and he was a bag of ice, combining to form “Netflix and chill.”
“We usually go for recent pop culture-type things for our Halloween costumes, and Adam turned to me and suggested going as the building and the crane, and I thought that was perfect,” says Bell, who went out as Mary Poppins with Higdon as Bert the chimney sweep last year.
“I was talking to a couple of other people and they said they had friends who’d be doing that as well, so I figured that there would be a large number of people doing it. It’s just a matter of how well it was done.”
As with all versions of the costume, the building is a no-brainer: just paint a large cardboard box grey with black windows. But Bell knew she’d have to get crafty with the crane part.
As a seasoned costume maker, all it took was a trip to Michael’s for supplies and it all came together.
“I just cut up some yellow felt and hot-glued it onto a black shirt, and then we cut up some cardboard and sewed it together for the arm of the costume,” she explains.
“We thought about using Popsicle sticks when we were shopping at Michael’s, but in the end we went with felt, cardboard and a lot of hot glue. One of my other friends was going as Miss Frizzel from The Magic School Bus, so we ended up with a lot of yellow felt.”
Aside from its topicality as part of an event experienced by all Nova Scotians, and the various tributes and memes that followed in its wake, the crane felled by Dorian also made a great costume choice given Bell’s chosen field of study, and the fact it was a hot topic of discussion among Dal engineering students for weeks.
“All of my friends here on campus have been talking about it, like how they can’t just take one side of it off because the other side will fall, and so on,” says Bell.
“We’ve all been wondering about how they would do it, but we knew that they would have to cut it up, and when you start doing that, things start falling apart. The way it fell meant it was going to be really unstable, so what was going to happen was a big question mark.
“It’s amazing they got it down so safely, without any implications to anything around it. But it’s sad that everyone had to get evacuated from next door, and I’m sad that the beer garden and the dairy bar were affected by it.”