Wed, Oct. 15, 2003
On a roll
In their sixth book, the Duct Tape Guys create Halloween costumes.
Pioneer Press

Looking for last-minute Halloween costume ideas for kids and adults? Don't fret. It's the Duct Tape Guys to the rescue. These slightly out-of-whack partners, whose motto is "duct tape is our life," offer all kinds of costume suggestions in "The Original Duct Tape Halloween Book."

In real life, the guys are brothers-in-law Jim Berg and Tim Nyberg (Tim is married to Jim's sister). They explain in the introduction to their sixth book that they've always loved Halloween, "mainly because it's the only time of year when people don't stare at us and think we're dressed strangely."

"Strange" is a good word for Berg and Nyberg, who wrote their first ode to duct tape nine years ago.

It all started one Christmas Eve, when they were visiting family in Sister Bay, Wis., and the power went out. So, they sat around in the dark, teasing Berg about his love for duct tape, which he had used to repair the washing machine, screens, pipes, a chair and the kids' bikes.

When the entire extended family started laughing, the guys decided to write a tongue-in-cheek book singing the praises of the tape Nyberg calls "the ultimate power tool."

"The Duct Tape Book" was such a success the partners kept on writing. Now, they travel the country doing stand-up comedy for corporations and the media. When they aren't on the road, Nyberg runs his own graphic design/marketing firm in Shoreview and Berg administers services to special-education students in Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

Having raised five kids between them, the guys know something about last-minute Halloween costume panic. So their "101 clever costume ideas" in the new book range from "big-deals" to "30-second costumes," along with some scary decorating ideas.

Most of their suggestions require duct tape "cloth," created by overlapping pieces of duct tape or taping it over light plastic sheeting or a garbage bag.

In the 30-second costume category, they suggest trick-or-treating dressed as used bubble gum. You do this by dressing entirely in pink or minty green and duct-taping an old shoe to your head. (A helpful photo shows how weird you'll look.)

You can become an alien by covering yourself in green duct tape, adding scales, tail and extra limbs as desired.

Or, with a little more work, you can make yourself into a headless creature. Just duct tape two boxes to your shoulders, tall enough so they're even with the top of your head. Pull a turtleneck over them, then a sport coat. (You should be able to see through the turtleneck, if it's thin enough.)

The guys also offer instructions for costuming yourself as a character from "The Wizard of Oz." They tell you how to become a human ATM or a "luge guy" (tape yourself to a skateboard).

They suggest creating a ghoulish surgeon by taping a mirror to a headband, wearing hospital scrubs and fastening a meat cleaver and plastic severed limbs to your arms with red tape.

For the truly brave — and possibly demented — there are instructions on how to turn yourself into a "human shower" by suspending a hula hoop over your head attached to a broomstick taped securely to your back. Tape a showerhead to the broomstick and attach a shower curtain to the hula hoop. Sing your favorite songs.

If you're really short on time, turn yourself into a Chia Pet by covering yourself in duct tape (sticky side out) and rolling in freshly mowed grass or green Easter basket grass.

And don't forget to create a heavy-duty trick-or-treat bag by duct-taping over a paper grocery sack with a color of tape that matches your costume.

This Halloween book is frighteningly nutty. If you want to visit the authors, go to You may end up screaming.

Book critic Mary Ann Grossmann can be reached at or 651-228-5574.