Maker Mayhem: Low Moments in How-To History, Part 6

Tin Foil Pigtail Wig: Because mom waited too long to buy you a Halloween costume. By Matt Maranian

There was a period in the mid-1970s that many readers of a certain age will remember, when Anita Byrant -- the insipid vocalist, former Miss Oklahoma, and infamous anti-gay activist -- was hired by the Florida Citrus Commission to appear in a series of TV ads designed to convince the entire country that orange juice “Isn’t just for breakfast anymore.” Although Americans never quite embraced orange juice they way they did soda or powdered drink mixes, the campaign did go some way in pushing orange juice beyond the breakfast table, but the marketing tactic to oversell a product certainly didn’t begin and end with the Florida Citrus Commission. Nearly twenty years earlier -- in the late 1950s -- the aluminum industry was trying to convince people that tin foil wasn’t just for wrapping food. This was a far more ambitious goal.

The Tin Foil Pig Tail Wig was perhaps one of the more desperate stabs at encouraging consumers to enjoy more tin foil than necessary, but it can’t be denied that this is an inspired application of a material that was otherwise relegated exclusively to frozen meat and leftovers. The design here is ingenious, to a point; a wig that forms to any head and never loses its curl, but looks nothing like hair. Ribbons tied into bows at each end are the only details that distinguish the pigtails from horns or tusks.

TinFoilWig2

Noted as an added safety feature, the instructions taut the fact that tin foil “reflects the gleam from headlights” on Halloween night. It’s unclear whether or not the added bonus of conducting electricity was an intentional feature, but the better metals such as copper or silver wouldn’t be as economical or convenient to obtain. The pig tails also evidently function quite well as antennae for paranormal communication; we see the tinfoil hat-wearing youngster photographed here flashing extraterrestrial hand signs, clearly half-crazed from the signals coursing through this aluminum helmet and into her vulnerable young brain.

“Need a costume in a hurry for a small girl?” this how-to asks us. Well, if she’s got the fortitude to withstand the inevitable ridicule, then take note. Just be sure to advise her to avoid extension cords and to run for shelter during thunderstorms. Her rubber-soled sneakers will not save her.

Published 10:38 am Thu, Jun 19, 2014

About the Author

Matt Maranian is a bestselling writer, designer, and bon vivant whose books include PAD, PAD Parties, and the first and second editions of L.A. Bizarro. He lives in Southern Vermont.

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