Crowned by Michael Kors at the 2013 Hulaween for his stunning costume, Jon Recor knows a thing or two about Hulaween, its hype--and how the annual event lives up to it.
Q: How many years have you been attending and what are your thoughts on how it’s changed through the years?
A: This year’s event will mark the 10th year I’ve attended Hulaween. Every year it's more challenging to come up with costume ideas, but I must say, for NYRP, it is completely worth it! As a child, I always wanted a store-bought costume, but my grandmother always said it was more rewarding to create an original outfit. I hope these last 10 years have done her proud.
Q: Tell us a little about your costume from last year, which won you a giant voodoo doll--the prize for your creativity--and presented by none other than fashion icon and Hulaween costume judge Michael Kors!
A: The idea came from the year’s New Orleans theme. I thought, what could be more appropriate than Mardi Gras beads? That was part of the inspiration, and then I discovered a New Orleans-themed Christmas tree at Macy's that had a beautiful mask ornament. I decided to use that for the rest of my inspiration and if you look closely, the mask ornament is actually a part of my headpiece! My friends describe the costume as "showgirl meets a superhero"! Michael Kors called it the "Carnival Queen"! I'm impartial to either--I love both titles!
Q: How did you feel being on stage getting that honor?
A: For years I had watched others win, and I had even placed second a few years prior when I was dress in butterflies, but I had never won. The moment my name was announced and I was walking across that stage, told me that a little boy from West Chazy, NY could do just about anything when he puts his mind to it! All those years of hard work and dedication were well worth it! The night was just magical to me and it reminded me of how NYRP's work makes others feel. I’m honored to support such an amazing organization that I believe in. My favorite part of the evening is when Miss Midler and Michael Kors came over to our table and asked for a photo! It was unbelievable to me, I was so honored and thrilled when I saw it on her website a few days later.
Q: How about your costume the previous year? Tell us about that one--it was also so memorable!
A: Two years ago, I was a big red ball of yarn and my husband Daniel was an old French lady knitting! I was inspired by a trip to Montreal where I spotted a performance artist dressed in a fun hat with a cat on top. I thought, it would be great to see the cat play with a ball of yarn, and then I imagined that I could be a giant ball of yarn...I have never seen that costume before. The costume--as with all the costumes--took a lot of planning! When it comes to sourcing supplies, every detail is well thought out and must be as accurate as possible to the real thing. The actual building of this costume took about 36 hours. Each strand of yarn had to be attached individually. I was covered head-to-toe in yarn!
Q: What are people’s reactions when they see you walking around in such elaborate costumes?
A: I have a great memory of wearing this costume as Martha Stewart came over to our table and asked if she could have a photo of me. She asked me if it was made of her favorite brand of yarn…and to her surprise, it was!
Every year, I gauge how good the costume is by walking through the Waldorf-Astoria lobby. You know your costume is pretty impressive when people stop what they are doing, stares, and wonders what you are and where you’re going! It's always so much fun to watch the bewilderment on their face, and then of course they realize it's for Hulaween and want a picture. It's the closest to being famous I think I will ever experience!
Q: What is your costume going to be this year?
A: The only trouble with winning last year’s contest is, how to top it this year! All I can say is, it's all about film, considering this year’s theme is Fellini Hulaweeni!
PHOTO: Jon (right) and husband Daniel (left) dressed as old French lady and ball of yarn in 2012 Hulaween.
PHOTO: Jon and Daniel dressed as butterflies and a butterfly catcher.
PHOTO: Jon receiveing last year's award for best costume!