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EAST VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS

THOUSAND OAKS : Contest Brings Out the Creepy--and the Cute

October 31, 1994|JEFF McDONALD

With a two-inch skeleton dangling from his right ear and a plastic hook for a right hand, 3-year-old Nicholas Meffley looked every bit the pirate.

He had a red bandanna on his head, a hand-painted mustache above his lip and enough makeup to impress the judges, who promptly awarded him first place for the scariest-dressed 3-year-old.

"He's trying to look scary," said his mother, Nicole Meffley of Thousand Oaks. "He really likes the movie 'Hook.' "

More than 100 children showed up at The Oaks mall in Thousand Oaks on Sunday for the 15th annual Halloween costume contest, a colorful mixture of court jesters, witches and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers sponsored by the Conejo Recreation and Park District.

"Snow White seems to be big this year," said Tee Devine, one of six judges who handed out first- and second-place prizes for the scariest, most original and cutest costumes. "We've seen a couple of spiders, too."

Choosing the winners from the dozens of entries in each age group is no easy task, Devine said.

"It's the worst job because they're all darling," she said. "We look for personality and clever costumes. But it's hard to narrow it down."

Eleven-year-old Heather Arsenault of Thousand Oaks painted her fingernails black and added bells to a purple and black court-jester suit she bought at a local department store for her Halloween costume.

"It's kind of like the Joker in Batman," she said, waiting for the announcer to announce the winner in her age group.

"This whole thing is a lot of fun," said Mary Arsenault, Heather's mother. "It gives them a feeling of competition, but they all win."

Anastasia Rodriguez of Camarillo, all of seven months, was one of the youngest contestants. Her father, Juan, dressed the girl in a pale green jumpsuit with a felt sunflower around her neck.

"She didn't make it," said Rodriguez, who works at Camarillo State Hospital. "There's always next year. But maybe not. I don't want to put any pressure on the kid."

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