Receive this blog. Enter email here and Blogger will send you a confirmation email.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Wacky Wednesday #52: Bowling

Let’s bowl! Today I am wearing bowling pins and a few bowling balls. (Not real bowling balls, of course—they weigh 6-16 pounds each and I’m not that much of a glutton for punishment.) How did this costume come about? I saw plastic toy bowling sets in two different stores and took this as a sign that I should turn them into a costume. They tick many boxes for my costume requirements: they’re colorful, they’re playful, they’re unexpected on a dress, they’re inexpensive, and hopefully they make others laugh.

Bowling is something I like to do but don’t do often. I’m not good at it but I think it’s fun. I like that it’s not an exclusive, costly activity that only the wealthy can afford to do. So while my bowling score could be mistaken for winter temperatures in a snowy climate, I’m okay with that. For me, the fun of an activity is not about high scores—it’s about laughing and camaraderie.
I love the 1950s neon signs outside some bowling alleys—they are bright and stylized and playful. Roadside signs from that era are eye-catching. Here are a few of my favorites:  

Village Bowl, via

The Aztec Bowl sign above was preserved after the alley was demolished in order to build housing. It is near where I lived once upon a time, and I was so glad that they kept the sign. It gives the complex more personality to have a piece of the past incorporated into its design.

One aspect of bowling alleys that I really like is that they don’t tend to get makeovers every seven years, like hotels and malls do. They look roughly the same way they did in the 1950s. It’s all about the game, not about fancy fixtures, and I appreciate that fact.
To make this costume, I hot glued plastic bowling pins to a hat I made of felt. The pins came with two plastic balls, but I gave them a makeover with sparkly nail polish. Bowling balls often have a sparkly or marbled look and I wanted to give them this effect. I made my necklace out of small plastic bowling pins, and my dress I made from fabric in my sewing stash. I painted the back with the word “BOWL” in a style I’ve seen on bowling signs from the 1950s. The front of my dress shows a bowling alley. The Internet had lots of photos for me to use as reference. I used permanent marker and acrylic paint to create the lanes. 

I always try to make costumes for as little money as I can. For me, it’s part of the challenge: making something memorable by using my imagination, not my wallet. Today’s costume is no exception:

Cost for this costume:

4 miniature plastic bowling sets:                                   $ 4.30

Dress (from fabric and paint I already had):                $    0

Zipper                                                                                 $ 1.50

Hot glue sticks:                                                                  $   .50

Total spent:                                                                        $ 6.30

People really liked this costume. The hat seemed to entertain people, and several people I didn’t know liked it so much they hugged me. I’m fine with that, and it moved me that my humor reached people in this way.
P.S.  I thought I’d finished writing this post earlier this week. But I had a fun conversation earlier today and I want to tell about it here. Today at noon I stopped by a local bowling alley to take a few photos of me in my bowling dress and hat. The place was packed. I was surprised because when I’ve bowled it’s usually been with my kids in the daytime, and we must have gone at their quiet times. Today there were more than one hundred bowlers--two senior leagues, I learned. Some people smiled as they saw my hat, and all the bowlers were chatting and having fun. A woman approached me, introduced herself as Jayne and asked about my costume. Jayne and her friends were celebrating Willy’s birthday and wondered about my outfit. She thought the birthday boy might like to hear the story of my costume, so I followed her and then I sang “Happy Birthday” to Willy (who was very surprised but said this certainly would be a memorable birthday!).   

I love it when people ask about what I’ve made or tell me they like it. I’ve said it before: humor is something that brings people together. Seeing people’s reactions to my creation gave me a big boost. It reinforces what I believe: that people are meant to be with others. We may not need other people the way we once did, in hunter-gatherer societies where team work was essential. But we benefit greatly from being around others. Making each other laugh, or just saying hi to someone, bonds people. Bowl together, if that’s your thing. Or sing together. Throw a ball together. Laugh. Talk. Connect.  




  1. Fabulous! And now I want to go bowling... :)

  2. Very cute and colorful. I like the marquee photos too.

  3. Love this outfit, but what struck me most: this is WW#52! Congrats on a year of fabulously wacky wear. -- Diana D.

  4. Hey, Miss Diana! Yes, it's been nearly a full year. I didn't do the first few on consecutive weeks so I'm still a few away from a full year but I'm almost there. THanks!

  5. Love love love love love!!! This is my *favorite* costume & story blog-entry of yours yet!! I love how you visited the bowling alley, and people really took notice :-) You just put a perma-grin on my face, the whole time I was reading, despite the fact I have a colicky screaming newborn in my arms! 😄 That's a win!!

    1. Thanks, L! I think bowling has almost universal appeal and I am glad this one spoke up you...😀

  6. Incredible that you draw that out

  7. Another fun idea! I want to go bowling this weekend now!

  8. Adri, thanks. Now it's contagious!!!

  9. So fun! Hopefully your kids were invited to the bowling alley too? (I don't see them in the pics--lol). I could also understand if it was your chance to have a beer, a smoke and some good conversation with some serious bowling folk.

    1. Hi Kim--you are so funny! Nope, I snuck over there on my own before school pick up time.

  10. Sarah, This brought back memories for, me, of taking my clients bowling, for so many years! Some of my clients could not play, unless there were bumpers on either side of the lane! And those who did not need bumpers, were perhaps not CHAMPION bowlers. But everyone had fun, and that was the ultimate goal. With a a couple of giant pizzas, some fries, and a couple of pitchers of the bubbly- (of course I mean, soda), my clients would laugh, be social, develop their motor skills, and have a roaring good time! Your dress, with picture, looks JUST like those lanes we played on. And I LOVE the bowling pin hat! I don't think that Hedda Hopper, EVER created a hat like that! She would be envious!
    "Clear the lane, I'm coming up to bowl." Love, Aunt Eileen

  11. Aunt Eileen, thank you! You always make a point to give feedback...I like how vivid your memories are of bowling with your clients. It really is about fun, in my book, and I know they must have had a great time. Thanks for sharing!