After his signing, Svengoolie took a little break while I headed to the main stage for the costume contest. At this point, things had gotten pretty rowdy outside with a fight erupting in front of the Port-o-Potties; some drunk guy yelling at a girl for taking too long. This eventually led to more people getting involved including the police. I met back up with my daughters who were huddled next to a building. It was a great way too “people watch” while staying dry from the light rain that began moments earlier.
The costume contest was divided into three categories; Fantasy/Science Fiction, Horror, and group costumes. The winners of all three would then compete for the best of the best. Elliott Serrano took the stage and kicked things off. First up was a man dressed as Ursula the Sea Witch from Disney’s The Little Mermaid (1989). Either this guy brought along 50 of his closest pals or there were a LOT of Little Mermaid fans out there! As soon as he walked out, a good portion of the crowd began chanting, “Ur-su-la! Ur-su-la! Ur-su-la!” which continued for several minutes. It was obvious the other contestants didn’t stand a chance.
Ursula handily conquered her own category with a zombie Bob Ross winning “Best Horror Costume” and the witches of Hocus Pocus snagged the title of “Best Group Costumes.”
The winners remained on stage while Elliott introduced Svengoolie. His job was to announce the overall winner of the costume contest based on the audience’s applause/reactions.
Before getting things underway, however, Elliott informed him that he was about to get a special surprise. This came via a group of pro wrestlers from Illin-iana who awarded him with a championship wrestling belt in honor of his 40th Anniversary!
Nest, Svengoolie brought Ursula, Zombie Bob Ross, and the Hocus Pocus gang center stage for the final judging. As soon as they were all assembled the crowd resumed their chanting. “Ur-su-la! Ur-su-la! Ur-su-la!” At this point, the actual “judging” became a formality as Ursula took the top prize.
Although the contest ended, there was yet another surprise in store for Svengoolie. Moments later, he was joined by a woman dressed as Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and Elgin’s Mayor David Kaptain. In honor of Svengoolie’s anniversary, the Mayor read a special Resolution declared this officially “Svengoolie Night” in Elgin while presenting him with a Key to the City. Once again the rambunctious crowd broke into a chant – only this time it was “Sven-goo-lie! Sven-goo-lie! Sven-goo-lie!”
And so ended another amazing Nightmare on Chicago Street! There was now but one Svengoolie appearance I’d be attending this month and it had nothing to do with Halloween but was all about the man himself – Svengoolie’s 40th Anniversary Celebration at the Museum of Broadcast Communications!
PS. Sorry for the length between chapters, the holidays had me hoppin!
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Thanks again for taking a stand against the undead at Nightmare on Chicago Street! Elvira was (secretly) played by Jacquelyn Marie Hastings. She’s a long time friend of the Zombie Defense Initiative and Svengoolie. You can follow her and all her costume antics on Instagram @jacquelynmarieh.