In 1972, as I was standing shoulder to shoulder with half a hundred sweating photographers trying to get pictures of some of the masquerade costumes, I noticed that the costumers all looked cool and composed and (especially) uncrowded, and I decided that I’d been on the wrong end of the camera long enough. All I had to do was convince Carol to make a costume for us to wear, and we’d finally be able to enjoy a Worldcon masquerade.
Well, oddly enough, she thought it was a fine idea, and we spent the next couple of months trying to decide what costume to make. We finally hit upon Lith the Golden Witch and the wonderfully-named Chun the Unavoidable from Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth.
Chun’s robe was covered with eyeballs, so while Carol made an elegant flowing black velvet robe, I got a few hundred ping-pong balls, pasted irises and pupils on them, and strung them on a series of glittering wires which she then attached to the robe. Then, to make the costume complete, I carried the eyeless head of Liane the Wayfarer.
Carol’s costume was a little more problematical. She would wear patterns of gold feathers on her arms and legs, and gold body paint, and gold leaves in her hair, and a gold loincloth, and she would carry a gold cage containing a frog, but what she mostly was was naked.
We brought along a brass bra in case she changed her mind (i.e., lost her nerve), but she had three or four vodka stingers an hour before we were due on stage and that was enough to curb any inhibitions she might have had. We had a wonderful time, posed for a trillion photographs, were interviewed on Canadian television (American news programs weren’t wildly anxious to run interviews with a topless witch back in 1973), and won the award for Most Authentic Costume.
There was no ‘Best In Show’ at Torcon II, but Joni Stopa, one of the judges, later told us that she polled the other judges and if there had been a Best In Show, we’d have won it. We enjoyed the experience so much that we would do four more costumes in the 1970s (and three would be even bigger winners).
[source: Mimosa #23 (1999)]