In disguise, charitable intentions

Ravens don costumes, raise more than $100,000 for Goodwill

November 01, 2006|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Sun reporter

Halloween tends to bring out the kid in the adult - even for 6-foot-4, 340-pound Haloti Ngata.

Dressed as a magician with a sharp tuxedo, top hat and wand Monday night, Ngata - at least for one night - was transported back to his childhood days, when he trick-or-treated through his family's neighborhood in Salt Lake City in search of his favorite candy, Reese's peanut butter cups.

"This does take me back," said the Ravens' rookie defensive tackle, who was inspired by the film The Prestige. His fiancee, Christina Adams, was dressed as a magician's assistant.

"I reminded myself that I was Spider-Man or a fat boy before," Ngata said. "I would take pillows and stuff them underneath my dad's clothes. It was a lot of fun."

Fun was the central theme Monday night as about 30 Ravens showed up for the Goodwill Gridiron Halloween Party at Dave & Buster's at Arundel Mills mall in Hanover.

Many of the players wore costumes - some elaborate, some simple - to support a cause and have fun doing it.

Defensive back Gerome Sapp and his wife, Tracy, wore matching white tank tops, blue jeans and hard hats as perhaps two of the best-looking construction workers ever to don tool belts. Defensive end Jarret Johnson looked like a massive version of the late Payne Stewart with his knickers and tam-o'-shanter.

Guard Brian Rimpf was ready to hook salmon in his fisherman's outfit, while 6-foot-8, 337-pound offensive tackle Mike Kracalik didn't seem to mind impersonating the world's biggest beer bottle.

The goal of the evening was to raise money for Goodwill, a nonprofit organization that, according to the company's Web site, "provides job training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities and disadvantages," but is perhaps better known for collecting clothing donations.

The Ravens have sponsored a Halloween party to benefit Goodwill since 2000, when former Pro Bowl tight end Shannon Sharpe was asked by Kevin Byrne, the Ravens' senior vice president of public and community relations, to become involved with the community.

For the first two years, Sharpe served as the primary host. When he left after the 2001 season, tight end Todd Heap took over.

"It's really cool to see the effect [the fundraiser's donations] have on people's lives," Heap said. "It helps people get jobs and helps them learn how to sustain jobs."

Added wide receiver Mark Clayton, who served as a co-host along with quarterback Kyle Boller: "With the position that we're in, it's important that we reach out and help whenever we can. To have this event and the support of the people on the team is a great thing."

Monday night's party raised more than $100,000, according to Byrne, who chairs Goodwill's board of directors.

Fans who donated money got a look at a side of the players that is rarely seen.

"Everyone knows that the cutoff age for trick-or-treating is 10 or 11," Mulitalo said. "This is a chance for everyone to dress up and relive those moments."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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Notable Halloween costumes

Best film adaptation -- Guard Edwin Mulitalo was imposing as the Phantom of the Opera. In his tuxedo, cape and mask, Mulitalo would have made any opera owner turn over the keys and say, "Lock up when you're finished."

Best TV adaptation --Linebacker Mike Smith and quarterback Kyle Boller went all-out as Ponch and Jon, respectively, from CHiPs. While each wore a tan-colored police uniform with boots and a badge, Boller went a step further with gloves, handcuffs and a nightstick. "CHiPs used to be my favorite show," Boller said.

Scariest costume -- Wide receiver Derrick Mason's homage to Scream raised a few hairs, but guard Jason Brown's mask, inspired by Killer Klowns from Outer Space, was frightening. Told he might scare some people in the audience, Brown replied: "I hope so. I want to make somebody cry."

Most uncomfortable costume -- Rookie offensive lineman Chris Chester's Spider-Man outfit was so tight that he could not zip up the back, the pant legs stopped at mid-calf, and the seams seemed to unravel every time he exhaled.

Best celebrity costume --With his Hawaiian shirt, sunglasses and long sideburns, offensive lineman Chris Pino looked like the spitting image of "The Rock," aka Dwayne Johnson.

Simplest costume -- In his guise as a rugby player, offensive tackle Tony Pashos wore a long-sleeved white polo shirt, a white baseball cap and slacks. Pashos said comfort was the top priority. "Some of these guys look great, but they're sweating a little bit, too," he said. "It gets hot in those costumes."

Edward Lee

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