For my son’s first Halloween, I decided to dress him up as frontman to rock band’s Panic! at the Disco, Brendon Urie – circa his Pray for the Wicked tour era. This may sound oddly specific, but this year has changed my life, much in thanks to the band and Brendon Urie, himself.
My son Wesley was born in December of 2018. When he came along, I decided to quit my career and become a stay-at-home mom. This came with its own set of challenges as a workaholic and social person. I discovered the online platform of Twitch, which is a streaming website for video gamers, crafters, and musicians. I found that the singer to one of my favorite bands streamed on this service and casually chatted to fans every day. I learned that this tight-knit community of fans were called Vros, named after a typo for the word “bro,” made by the band’s friend and photographer, Jake Chamseddine. This word came to be an all-inclusive, non-gender specific term used to describe the fans in the Twitch community. After being immersed in this community of Vros, I discovered new and amazing friendships, support, and love for not only me, but my family.
Fast forward several months and Panic! at the Disco is playing their last tour for the Pray for the Wicked album in an Atlanta, GA music festival, called Music Midtown. Along with about 10 other Vros, we made the pilgrimage and all met in person. We shared hugs, tears, and memories, along with catching the attention of Brendon Urie himself, who said later on one of his streams that he was so happy to see us all there.
Fast forward another month to October. I polled my new friends about I should dress my son up as for Halloween. Goul, mummy, and pumpkin were all floated around…but then as a joke, one of them said “would you really be his mom if you didn’t dress him up as Brendon Urie?” Well, in the spirit of a good laugh, I decided to embark on a silly journey of making him a rockstar.
Being a single-income family, it was important to not spend a lot of money on a costume. I headed to my local thrift store and found an $8 black baby suit jacket and a black t-shirt with the words “TWINNING” scrawled across in gold letters. I needed a black shirt and for the life of me, could not find a plain one. I purchased some sparkly gold fabric spray paint and some gold acrylic paint ($8) and headed home. I used some painter’s tape to tape off the collar, buttons, and bottom pockets. I spray painted the whole jacket gold and then began painting the elaborate pattern that adorns Brendon Urie’s tour jacket. Brendon is known for wearing some extraordinary suits, so I was a little nervous about attempting to recreate one of his most detailed blazers. After the jacket was complete, I wondered how I could mimic the signature leather pants. I used the last pair of jeans we had for my son, one size too small, and painted them with some slick black fabric paint ($4). I figured he couldn’t be a rockstar without a microphone, but Brendon Urie uses a shiny gold microphone…not generally something that can be picked up at a store. I trekked to Party City and purchased a prop microphone ($7) and painted it gold with the paint I used for the jacket. As if that wasn’t enough, I decided he needed a stage. I purchased some black foam board and white paint ($10) and painted a stage replica from the tour. Now, at the risk of sounding like an obsessed fan, I know that Brendon plays on a custom-made Fender Telecaster, aptly named the Uriecaster. How could my little rockstar compete without his own guitar? My husband drew and cut out a neck and body to a Fender Telecaster and I painted it to match the one used in real life, complete with band logo, artist signature, and 3D tuning knobs. In order to complete the look, I needed to get my son tattooed. Brendon Urie has an almost full sleeve of tattoos on his left arm filled with tour icons, a Frank Sinatra portrait, and piano keys. I bought some small pantyhose ($4), printed out photos that I had cropped and separated of Brendon’s tattoos and traced them onto the pantyhose with a fine tipped Sharpie and colored them in with fabric pens. I attached the tattoo sleeve with dress tape, which was a little tricky with a wiggly 10-month old. Now I couldn’t have my son get on stage, dressed to the nines, without an audience, so I gathered all of his biggest fans (stuffed animals) and made him an enthusiastic audience equipped with signs to honor our friends made at Music Midtown a month earlier.
I edited the photos to give a stage backdrop and lot of spotlights. I posted them on my Instagram and tagged the band. Within two hours, Brendon Urie’s personal assistant shared it to his page. Within four hours, Panic! at the Disco’s Instagram shared it to their page. By the end of the day, Vros from all over the world gushed over the outfit and how similar it looked to the real thing. Trick or Treaters and their parents were amazed at how dapper and cute Wesley looked.
I have been flooded with support and love from this community for almost a whole year and it was so nice to be able to give everyone a reason to smile. I am happy to share his photos and hope to inspire people to go after their crazy and hairbrained ideas for a costume. I had so much fun making it and even more fun seeing the final result…and at the risk of being redundant, even more fun sharing it with everyone that wants to revel in my little man’s rockstardom.