Each year Wendy and I put a ton of pressure on ourselves to come up with Halloween costumes that we, and guests of our party, think are equal parts amazing, hysterical, creative, and entertaining. We typically try our best to come up with a good couple's costume, and we always treat Halloween in the same way a sitcom does their Halloween episode -- always trying to outdo their previous year. Halloween is a major holiday in our home, so the pressure and any resulting effort should be expected. This year we decided on what we feel is a great costume idea, and we feel like we pretty much knocked our implementation out of the park. The best part is that it turned out to be a pretty simple set of costumes to put together but looked exactly as we had anticipated!

Behold, our submission for the 2013 Old Town Home Halloween Costume: Piper Chapman and George "Pornstache" Mendez from the hit Netflix Original Series Orange is the New Black.

Hopefully you've seen it and are a fan of the show (although admittedly it's not for the faint of heart), but if you need a point of reference here are the two characters we were trying to mimic.

Wendy and I actually decided on this costume idea back in the beginning of October. Our goal was to do a topical pop culture couple's costume that was not incredibly expensive or difficult to achieve, while also being familiar to a fair number of people. After extensive brainstorming and drawing a blank on what we should do, I came up with the idea when I was thinking back on some of our favorite TV shows and movies of the year. As I ran through the list (Homeland, Walking Dead, Dexter, Shameless, Mad Men, True Blood, etc.) that's when it him me to do Orange is the New Black, the drama about a privileged woman turned unlikely felon, and her experience in a female prison.

Right away I knew Wendy could be the show's main character, Piper Chapman, but I wasn't sure who I should be. Wendy suggested Jason Biggs' character, Piper's fiancé (who just dresses like a normal guy), but that seemed lame and too easy/not apparent. I figured I could either be another inmate in drag (maybe Red or Pennsatucky), or one of the prison guards.

Of the guards, the one that has both the most distinguishing characteristic and is also written as the most seedy/disgusting character is Corrections Officer George "Pornstache" Mendez, aptly nicknamed due to his creepy and 1970s porn-like mustache. By that description alone, it was settled. I was going to be Pornstache.

With our character choices settled, we started to plan our costume and collect the various items. And while this post is coming a little bit close to Halloween, if you want to do the same costumes there's a pretty good chance you can still order everything you need and receive it before October 31st (but you might have to pay for rush shipping on much of it). We'll break it down for you on a per character basis.

Piper Chapman

Wendy's costume for Piper Chapman only required a few critical items to really pull it off. One thing she absolutely had going for her is she's already a blonde haired female of roughly the same height, weight, and build as the character, just with slightly shorter hair. So we kicked off the search by looking for the most critical costume element, a pair of orange scrubs to build the base for the overall costume.

We selected a set of "Burnt Orange" unisex V-neck scrubs, purchased from an Amazon seller. And while this seemed like the best color on the monitor, it wasn't really an exact match to the color, and a true orange probably would have been better. However, either color is acceptable and the most critical part is the V-neck top and left side pocket.

Beyond the scrubs the only remaining "soft" parts necessary are a short or long sleeve white undershirt with a crew neck, and either blue slip-on Vans or black boots to round out the footwear section of the outfit.

The one of the very critical accessory item for the Piper Chapman costume is the very important identification card that each inmate character wears on their left shirt pocket. There are many somewhat clear views of what the badge looks like on the Internet, and while there are plenty of eBay and Etsy dealers that are offering them for varying prices, I couldn't find an example of a free one that we could easily print out online. Rather than purchase a somewhat expensive card we decided to make one for ourselves that you can use if you're looking for one.

I put together a nice layered PSD of the Piper Chapman badge, so if you're searching for an example or are trying to make one for yourself, be sure to download the image from the link or in the list of costume necessities below. If there's one thing I'm a real stickler for it's accurate props. You can pretty much trust this is almost identical to the real thing. The way I setup the layers it should be very easy to add your own photo and adjust the name and information to read as you'd like, as long as you have access to Photoshop. As you can see from our badge, we took an intentionally unflattering photo of Wendy that turned out almost mugshot like. It's all about being authentic. If you're doing it, be sure to use a plain background and wash out the subject with a harsh flash.

Once you have your badge looking the way you want it to look, just print it out on photo paper and tape or glue it onto a used gift card or other standard credit card sized card (like one of the many hotel access keys or VIP club cards it seems people always have laying around).

If you're looking for a plain old Alex Vause or Piper Chapman badges to round out your costume. Here you go:


Full Size Download


Full Size Download

Okay, so here's the rundown of items you'll need if you want to become Piper Chapman yourself.

One thing to note is regarding proper scrubs sizing. Wendy ordered a size medium set of scrubs, but since they were unisex they were a little big. Though the baggier look is probably rather appropriate, keep this in mind when you're ordering if you want your scrubs to fit. Ideally Wendy would have ordered a size small. Beyond this detail, pretty much everything went smoothly...almost.

On the day of our party Wendy decided her hair was just too short to be truly representative of Piper Chapman. Though we were short on time, she was absolutely right, so Wendy conferred with her friends that know a thing or two about fake hair (extensions or pony tails) and we headed out to a local beauty supply store to pick up a set of blonde hair extensions and clips to finish out Wendy's look. Wendy selected the color that was second up from the lightest blonde. It had a tinge of auburn in it and matched her hair quite nicely. The extensions were only $20 but made all of the difference in how her outfit looked as she and a friend carefully layered in the "real human hair" blonde locks.

With the hair extensions in place and the full outfit on, Wendy took a moment to pose for a mug shot or two in front of our diamond wall. I think she looks pretty much perfect in a very Orange is the New Black way.

George "Pornstache" Mendez

My costume to become Pornstache Mendez was actually a very straight forward prison guard costume, and I already had some of it on hand. But besides the outfit, the thing I really had to worry about was the hairstyle and signature 'stache of the character, but more on that in a bit.

I started by looking at a few photos of the character by search for "Pornstache" in Google Images. The funny thing is, I searched on that term without thinking, and I was pleasantly surprised to not be overwhelmed by a mass of porn stars with bad mustaches. However, a more advisable search is probably "Pornstache Mendez." Just an FYI.

From the photos I saw that I'd need a light blue polyester security guard style shirt, black turtleneck, shoulder walkie talkie speaker/mic, pair of handcuffs, basic blue dress pants, small key ring clasp, black leather shoes, and (optional) aviator glasses. I already had the black shoes and blue dress pants, so that was easy to check off the list. The other items, all found on Amazon.

I placed my order and it all arrived a few days later. Man, I love Amazon Prime. 

With necessary supplies in hand I directed my attention to the most pressing issue, the various hair aspects of the costume. I was just a few weeks out from the party so I put my best efforts towards growing some bitchin' facial hair. Though Wendy had said, "Just use a fake mustache," I knew we might have just had enough time for me to grow a real one. It wouldn't be thick and full like the character, but hey, why not give it a try? I mean, other than due to the fact it sort of completely disgusts my wife.

By the time we reached this past weekend both my hair and my facial hear had reached an acceptable length to give us something to work with. While I could have used an extra three or four weeks to really get the look I wanted, what I had would have to do. Wendy has been my hair stylist for going on 12 years now. She cuts my hair every three weeks like clockwork, but she's always just doing a single level clipper cut. However, for this cut, she needed to give me a bit of a high sided fade, leaving it really long on the top. We took to our salon (aka the basement) and Wendy proceeded to do her best at giving me the fade I needed.

It was going really well until Wendy made a bit of a fateful mistake. She grabbed the clipper and went to trim just a little more off the sides, but she had forgotten that she removed the guard and the only thing left was the bare blade. I heard the telltale sound of hair being cut, quickly following by Wendy saying, "Oh my god!" Yep, she'd just committed the cardinal sin of a hairdresser. No, not by making a mistake, but by verbalizing the mistake that had been made on the back of my head with an exclamatory remark.

Luckily, it wasn't as bad as it could have been, and it gave Wendy an excuse to practice fading a little more and give me a bit of a tighter look. Hey, no harm, no foul.

Next up I had to reduce my goatee I had been sporting for a few weeks down to the signature mustache for the costume. The key here was to get a good creepy looking mustache, flat across the bottom and nothing below the corners of my mouth. After removing the hair from my chin I started working on the signature "Pornstache" look.

Perfect!

We had to do a few more things to the costume to get it in good shape. First I had to iron on my flag patch on the shirt's right arm. This only took a few minutes but I had to be very careful not to damage the shirt with the heat from the iron. Since the shirt is 100% polyester it could melt/discolor very quickly.

Once the flag was on the arm, I needed the missing element on the front of the shirt, the name label. While the authentic shirt is embroidered with G. Mendez over the right pocket, and Department of Corrections in smaller print over the left pocket, we didn't have an embroiderer at our disposal, so we improvised. Wendy grabbed a few pieces of tape to block off the rough area where the lettering needed to go and she grabbed one of her white chalk pencils. 

While a white sharpie or fabric marker would have been better, we were working with what we had on hand. Wendy's got a very steady hand and excellent handwriting, so she was in charge of the G. Mendez. Since we were writing it by hand, it took a fair amount of time, and still didn't look perfect, we opted to leave the Department of Corrections writing off of the left pocket, worried it would just look cheesy. 

One thing that bummed me out a little is the fact I didn't have the U.S. Department of Justice Prisons patch on the left sleeve of the shirt. I found and ordered the patch from an online store, but hey took their time shipping the item (12 days), so it didn't arrive in time for the party. I'm very disappointed about that.

And with that, I assembled the complete outfit. The cuffs clipped onto my belt, walkie talkie speaker onto the right shoulder epaulette, and keys clipped onto another belt look. Oh, and the most important part, copious amounts of hair styling product to spike my hair as much as possible.

The end result? A pretty darn good example of Orange is the New Black's "Pornstache."

All in all, I'd say we ended up with two great Halloween costumes that achieved exactly what we were going for this Halloween. It's not always easy to come up with a good couple's costume, but I'm pretty sure we accomplished just that. I'm actually pretty shocked I ended up looking like the actor, Pablo Schreiber, as much as I did. It actually makes me feel a little bad for him that he has to walk around with that ridiculous mustache the entire time they're filming the show.

What do you think? Did we hit it out of the park on this costume? Do you have any favorite couple, or even single costumes of you own? What are you planning on going as this Halloween? If you're interested, here's a look back on our Halloween costumes over the years. There are some oldies but goodies in the mix. 

Comments 34

Comments

Kerry
10/28/2013 at 10:03 AM

You both looked great! We had a great time, and I loved my (virgin) Bourbon slushies!!!

Wendy
10/28/2013

Thanks, Kerry! We're so glad you and Chris could make it, and Lulu wanted me to tell you she voted for Chris as best costume!Alt smile I hope he left with the stuffed duck at the end of the night!

Rashmi Pappu
10/28/2013 at 10:05 AM
That. Is. Awesome.
Old Town Home
10/28/2013 at 10:20 AM
Thanks, Rashmi! I just wish our photos of the costumes were better!
Rashmi Pappu
10/28/2013 at 10:25 AM
they are great photos!
Alison Shimala
10/28/2013 at 10:25 AM
You guys nailed it- love it!!
Cara Burke
10/28/2013 at 10:25 AM
LOVED this!
Jill PP
10/28/2013 at 10:29 AM

You guys - this is fantastic. Alex as Pornstache is freaking scary.

Wendy
10/28/2013

It's good to hear from you, Jill! I couldn't agree more. I'm going to have nightmares about Alex and his creepy mustache. Alt smile

Old Town Home
10/28/2013 at 11:34 AM
Thanks, Cara Burke! So glad you could make the party, and I loved your little ghost sidekick!
Old Town Home
10/28/2013 at 11:35 AM
Thanks, Alison Shimala! What is Miss M going to be for Halloween this year?
Brandon Caputo
10/28/2013 at 11:55 AM
So sad we missed the party! After playing two and refereeing two football games on Saturday, my legs were not functioning anymore. They still aren't!
Dewey
10/28/2013 at 12:31 PM

Love reading your blog and what you're doing/done to the house. Thought you want to know that your blog feed is returning errors. I'm subscribed to your feed with NetNewsWire and when I click any of the feeds for your blog to "Open Link" I get errors like this:

There has been an error of some kind. Ack!

FeedBurner could not deliver this feed to you because of the specific problem listed below:
Feed Address: http://feeds.feedburner.com/oldtownhome/cf452a0b-282e-4dbe-acbe-7c1d2d87d101

HTTP Error (Code) and Message: (404) Feed not found error: FeedBurner cannot locate this feed URI.

Alex
10/28/2013

Thanks, Dewey. I checked it out and see the error you're getting. I'm not sure where that Feed link came from, but our main feed link should be working. Can you update your reader to use http://feeds.feedburner.com/oldtownhome/ instead of what you have? That should resolve the issue. Thanks for letting us know and for reading.

Alex
10/28/2013

Actually, I think I might know the issue. I'll look into it tonight and I'll see if I can figure anything out. Sorry, misread your initial comment.

Jan
10/28/2013 at 1:07 PM

Never seen the show but you clearly nailed the costumes! And Alex looks pretty darn good with a mustache, if you don't mind my saying so Alt wink But I'm biased--my hubs has one (although he's a blond). He's had it since college, long before he met me, so I wouldn't recognize him without it.

I feel bad saying this, but-- you DO look like Pornstache.
Great idea!

p.s.- I just finished her book and was astounded to learn that she was sentenced five YEARS before serving her time... essentially she knew she was going to jail, but didn't know when, and lived with it hanging over her head for years.

Alex
10/28/2013

Hey, I don't mind looking like him! He's a good looking guy without the stache (and Liev's half brother). I'll take it.

Mary
10/28/2013 at 2:19 PM

OMG, this looks so great! You guys nailed it.

Shantel Goodman
10/28/2013 at 10:00 PM
Love the show! Love the costumes!!!!
Diana
10/29/2013 at 7:58 AM

I thoroughly enjoy each and every post you put up on the blog. And posts like this one makes me think that the work you put into every detail is only matched by the fun you have! Great job with the costumes!

10/29/2013 at 8:36 PM

We dressed up as Duck Dynasty. It was tons of fun. Mustaches must be in this year!

Harvest
10/30/2013 at 10:04 PM

You two really nailed it on the costumes, but also on your looks! Thanks for all the hints. I'm going as piper. Happy Halloween.

Sara
10/31/2013 at 11:07 AM

Love, love, LOVE it!!! You really did nail it!

Kat
11/1/2013 at 8:27 PM

Hi! I came by your website while trying to look for Piper's name tag for a party i'm headed out to in less than half an hour. I really just wanted to say thank you for providing a download. You saved me so much time and stress looking for one. Your costume turned out amazingly!

I going to be bringing a screwdriver to this party as well. What a fantastic show.

Cheers!

maggie
11/1/2013 at 10:46 PM

Great costumes! Are you keeping the 'stache for Mo'vember?

JC
11/3/2013 at 7:38 PM

Wow, awesome job on the costumes! I haven't seen the show, but I've heard of it.

11/12/2013 at 1:47 PM

You're the perfect Pornstache! Great costumes you guys!

DARLENE M CARUCCI
9/21/2014 at 9:33 AM

Great job and thanks for the helpful tips!!!!

Sean Maguire
10/6/2014 at 3:38 PM

Holy crap. I can't believe how perfect this is! Dude - you especially - look so pornstachily creepy!!! Haha! I was looking for a pornstache costume because my wife and I had the same idea for this Halloween. You saved me! Thanks!

Kenneth Dietrich
11/1/2014 at 8:35 AM

thanks for all the helpful tips, the people all said i hit it out of the park also and i couldnt have done it without your help. thanks again, Ken

Nicole Marie
9/14/2015 at 10:05 PM

Nailed it!!! Thanks for the tips. I want to dress up as Piper this year and this will help tremendously!

Nam Huynh
10/11/2015 at 9:21 PM

This eBayer will print these badges on an actual PVC card with a badge clip just like on the show: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Custom-Federal-Bureau-of-Corrections-Inmate-Badge-Costume-Item-/291587201778?hash=item43e3f39af2

Glenda
10/18/2015 at 10:38 AM

I can't download the piper name tag link

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