Last Halloween I spent only half a day as the world's most beloved video game character, Mario. While I attract a lot of attention in Korea for being white, incredibly handsome, and taller than most locals, being disguised as Super Mario made me the most talked about item in Korean history. Or at least in my opinion. Since I'm a sucker for attention, I decided to dress up as everybody's favorite heroic Italian plumber again this year, only this time at night in the crazy foreigner bar district in Seoul.

I readied my red stuff, grew out my beard (I can't do just a mustache, it makes me want to murder my face), and then shaved my beard into a handlebar mustache. After all my grooming, I jumped on a subway to meet up with Luigi, who looked pretty good given that he had pieced together his whole costume in about an hour while nursing an epic hangover.

We took the train, then the bus, then realized we were lost, jumped on a different subway, transferred to another subway, and walked a little. We finally found our meeting spot. Neither of us really put on our costumes, so we met up with our buddies and dressed up there.

Super Mario Halloween costume

There's dynamic change when you shave a beard into a handlebar mustache. Suddenly, you want to punch yourself right in the stupid face. People glare at you with ire. They hate you. Everybody wants to line up and punch you. They mutter things not quite under their breath so you can hear them make unkind comments about you and your heritage.

But once you put on a red shirt, suspenders, and a red cap with an “M” on it, there's another dynamic change. Suddenly, everybody wants to be your best friend! People stare at you in awe. They love you. Everybody wants to line up and take photos of you. After they walk by they loudly declare, “Wow that guy was so cool!”

Mario and Luigi Halloween costumes

Our group literally couldn't wait to finish up their meals and pay their bill. Luigi and I decided to grab some fresh air. We stood outside for ten seconds in costume before a group of Korean girls lined up to take photos with us. Thirty minutes later our friends who'd eaten and paid ditched us for the bars because a mob formed demanding photos.

I actually wanted to snap more photos, but unfortunately I'd been really shitfaced the night before and didn't charge my phone so my battery died about 15 minutes into the night.

Super Mario Brother with witches on Halloween

We finally decided to wave off the paparazzi after a bit. We figured out if we were walking and moving, people would just high five us or say, “You guys are awesome!” But the second we stopped to look around a line formed around us for more and more photos.

Another thing we learned was that people always spotted Luigi first because he was taller. By the time they'd ask, “Hey, where's Mario?” they saw me and ditched Luigi faster than people re-sold “Luigi's Mansion.” It's tough being popular or the second banana, I guess.

Super Mario game theory

The Mario Brothers made it to the first spot, a country bar that everybody except a girl and me hated. We slugged a quick drink and line danced and boot scooted out of there. Then we meandered around, wise to all the guerilla photo-taking tactics of Koreans in public.

In our group were two gay dude couples who figured the places with the best music, least idiotic aggressive dudes, cheapest drinks, and safest spot for our scantily clad ladyfolk would be Homo Hill, the gay part of Seoul.

I'm not gay (sorry boys) but I've been to my share of gay bars to hang with friends, dance, and have greasy gay dudes buy me drinks. However, I'd never been to Homo Hill (which is seriously what they call it). Being homosexual isn't exactly a fashion trend in Korea, but over here dudes happily danced with other dudes, girls, or themselves.

Super Mario with a drag queen at a gay bar

And, to my delight, no cover charges! But alas, they played a lot of stupid pop music and jacked up the drink prices. Some of the bars didn't even have bathrooms and somebody grabbed Luigi's junk. Our ladies survived nicely without having their barely-covered asses grabbed though.

After the gay bars we drank outside (like I mentioned before it's legal and sometimes encouraged) and then strutted to a Canadian bar which we knew would be cheap, easy, and empty. Well, it was cheap and easy, but as I bought a few drinks, the drunken DJ, or the drunk moron with a microphone, started making rude comments about the girls, saying stuff like, “Hey Mario! What's up with the girl with the bubble butt?”

The girls asked me not to beat his ass, even though I really really really wanted to. Instead, we walked downstairs. We sat at a table and recounted the events of the night, but then on the TV we saw Nazis marching, KKK parades, JFK's assassination, morticians' labs, and then a pole-vaulting guy impaled by his pole. I slugged my drink and waited outside because I felt positive I was going to barf.

Mario and Jigsaw Halloween costumes

I used to work in a bar and we always showed some stupid horror movies to set the mood, but this was like one of those Faces of Death movies where they show suicides, animals being butchered, and sick shit like that. I'm not into that, especially not after the two rounds of street meat I'd eaten a few minutes before. A couple of minutes later my friends came out to tell me the video also showed a pygmy dude pulling his own ballsack off. I don't regret missing that.

We'd had an epic time the night before (as I described here), and managed another one, but now we needed to head home. Our first taxi driver fell in love with one of our girls and cut us a deal on our ride. We tried to meet our favorite bartender, but he was off doing whatever (hopefully a girl).

The Super Mario Brothers enjoyed another round of cheap beers then we said our goodbyes and I caught another taxi. This driver didn't fall in love with me, but we did talk about running 10K races and this 50-year-old cabbie claimed to run faster than me. Which I believe, but it didn't help my feelings at all.

Two Super Mario costumes

I made it to my girlfriend's apartment without finding other people to drink with, and by that time I was actually pretty sober. I crawled into bed with her and she woke up to tell me, “You look so ugly with a mustache.”

I grumbled, “Just wait until I put the red hat with an ‘M' on it, babycakes.”

To which she replied, “You're not getting laid until you shave that stupid mustache off.”

“But it's me, MARIO!”

“I don't play video games and you're not playing with my boobs with those caterpillar things on your face.”

“Okey dokey!”

* * *

Now here's the part when I talk about the costumes I saw:

My Favorite Costumes: Super Mario and Luigi

I enjoyed myself so much and took more photos than I've ever taken in my entire life. Everybody loved us and high-fived us. Besides growing a stupid mustache for a month, the costume was comfortable and easy.


Costumes I Wish My Friends Would Have Done: Yoshi, Wario, Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, Donkey Kong, and Koopa

We would have had a complete set! Maybe we could have stolen some cars and played real life Mario Kart! But no Toad. He's annoying.


My Least Favorite Costume: Free Mammograms Box Guy

C'mon man. That was barely funny a decade ago.


Most Impressive Costume: A tranny bartender at one of the gay clubs wore some high heels that made him/her appear to be about eight feet tall

Yeah, you probably already noticed the photo above.


Costume I Was Most Jealous Of: Ryu from Street Fighter II.

I just thought it was cool.


Coolest Costume/Biggest Bitches: Beetlejuice and Delia

As I ate a delicious street meat sandwich I saw a girl dressed as Beetlejuice with his hammer hands. I said, “Wow! Beetlejuice with his hammer hands!” And she said, “Yeah, if you think it's so impressive, buy me a fucking sandwich Super Mario World.” Then I said, “I'm all out of coins! Time to see the princess!”


Best “I Didn't Know I Was Wearing a Costume” Costume: Carmen Sandiego

As we walked the city I spotted a Korean girl with a red fedora, a red trenchcoat, and a scarf. I grabbed her and demanded a photo. She freaked out, but since I looked like Mario, these things are okay. I slowly realized that she was terrified because she didn't understand she looked like an Asian Carmen Sandiego.


Most Popular Costume: Waldo

Seriously, dude, you used to be hard to find.


What I Thought Would Be the Most Popular Costume: Psy, the Korean pop artist from “Gangnam Style”

It's a Korean song. I'm in Korea. I figured everybody would dress up as him. I even wanted to grab some sunglasses and a baby blue suit. But I didn't see a single Psy! I did hear “Gangnam Style” about three times though.


Okay, until next All Hallow's Eve, keep on rocking Gangnam Style!

More in the series:
Halloween Headaches 1.0 (2008)
Halloween Headaches 2.0 (2009)
Halloween Headaches 2.51 (2009)
Pre-Halloween Headaches (2010)
Halloween Headaches (2010)
Halloween Headaches (2011)
Pre-Halloween Headaches (2012)
Halloween Headaches (2012)