Party lures ghouls, goblins, appliances Halloween show goes on without its ousted founder

November 01, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

It was risky business for the grape, who arrived at the party wearing a bunch of purple balloons when another little boy came dressed in a porcupine suit.

But it was even riskier business for the judges who had to choose between the cobra and the Maytag washer and dryer set, between the butterfly and the caterpillar, at the 18th annual Magic Show and Costume Party in the Westminster High School auditorium.

"This isn't fair," Angie Diehlman, a contest judge, said as she watched rows of auditorium seats fill with assorted goblins, pumpkins and princesses. "Everybody wins!"

In the end, only eight could win the selected categories: cutest, most original, funniest, most elaborate, scariest, most colorful, prettiest, and most realistic.

"Aladdin"-themed costumes were big with this year's crowd, which contained assorted variations on the cartoon hero and his lady love, the Princess Jasmine.

Original costumes were in abundance. One homemade creation was the washer and dryer set, as was one little girl's Chiquita Banana outfit.

Five-year-old Catrina Serfas' butterfly was named the prettiest costume while her brother Jake, 3, won in the most original category for his multicolored caterpillar costume. Jake demonstrated the full range of his insect talents by inching across the stage on his belly during the judging.

Mariah Neville of Westminster won the most colorful category with her peacock costume, while her brother George, 6, slithered his way to the top as the most elaborate as a shiny-scaled full-length cobra.

Other winners were: cutest, Nicole Kriete, 2, of Westminster as "Free Nicky," the whale; most realistic, Chelsea Efland, 8, of Westminster as Pocahontas; scariest, Chris Nileaid, 13, of Sykesville as the Grim Reaper; and funniest, Miranda Mingee, 11 months, of Sykesville, as Elvis.

The magic portion of the show was conducted by Washington-based magician Scott Grocki.

But he didn't let the party end without recognizing the man who began the show.

"I learned this trick from a magician I saw a long time ago, when I was 12 years old, at a show at Western Maryland College," Mr. Grocki said as he introduced his last, most difficult trick.

"After that show I asked him, I said, 'Mr. Ray-Mond, could you teach me some of those tricks,' and he took me backstage and taught me those tricks.

"Due to some regulations, he can't be with us today, but I'd like to recognize him because if it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have this show today."

Mr. Grocki was referring to Raymond M. Corbin, known professionally as "Ray-Mond," the founder of the Society of American Magicians in the county.

Mr. Corbin created the Halloween magic show and costume party with his wife, Doris, who died in 1976.

Mr. Corbin was ousted from the event after county school officials said he violated no-smoking rules at last year's show by carrying a lighted cigarette on stage as part of his act.

Mr. Grocki, in the tradition of Mr. Corbin, his mentor and friend, entertained and mystified his audience.

When he levitated his assistant, the audience "aahed" in amazement.

But when, within seconds, he switched places with the young lady after sealing her in a canvas bag inside a padlocked box tied into another bag -- all seemingly in view of the audience -- they were dumbfounded.

"First he untied her, and then he slipped in there and she tied him up and he got in the box and she came out," 6-year-old Kevin Sharp offered as an explanation.

But how did he do it so fast, and without leaving our view?

"Oh, I don't know that," Kevin acknowledged.

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