Pizza Samurai Halloween Costume

UPDATE: WE WON! DUH! Will Won two free Hot N Ready pizzas a month. BOOM! That ought to cover about 10% of his Hot N Ready habit.


[Photographs: Alan Young]

This Halloween the Richmond, Virginia–area Little Caesars held a Halloween costume contest. Today they will award one year of free pizza to the maker of the best costume made out of Little Caesars pizza boxes—plus some serious bragging rights. When I saw this on Facebook I immediately recruited my friend, Will Blanton, and teamed up to design and build what we are sure is a winning costume. Picture it: a suit of armor for the ultimate Pizza Samurai.


I thought of Will because he is not only an extremely talented artist, but also because I'm pretty sure Will has an addiction to Little Caesars Hot N Ready pizza. So, I knew he would appreciate the prize. Seriously, he has a problem. There was a time in his life when he had amassed a tower of well over 50 empty pizza boxes in his kitchen. I think it is under control now.

Will loves pizza, but his love is careless. He is a strictly cheese- or pepperoni-pizza lover. He likes the chains. He doesn't care about white pizza or hole structure or San Marzanos. He doesn't know what a Neapolitan-style pie is, and I'm sure he doesn't care. For Will, and many others, pizza is just a favorite go to for sustenance and fuel. It is not a fine art.


I know many of you Slice'rs might be thinking, "Oh, man, there is way better pizza than Little Caesars!" While I have to admit I have a soft spot for LC in my pizza-shaped heart from childhood, I will admit I'm not in love with it, either. It is like Will said, "Not everyone is in a passionate, committed, long-term relationship with pizza like you are, Lauren. Pizza is just a fling for me." Apparently Will is into easy, cheap flings.

In any case we got to work on our epic epicurean costume and we were determined to win. The folks at my neighborhood Little Caesars on Forest Hill Avenue provided us with a fat stack of boxes to get our costume going. Of course we got a few Hot N Ready pies for inspiration and sustenance. Over the course of a week we set to work whittling down those boxes into a suit of armor. We researched authentic samurai gear and tried to make our suit as accurate as possible. It ended up being more similar to the Gusoku-style armor that became popular in the 16th century. (Do I sound like I know what I'm talking about?) Our costume included:

  • Kabuto (helmet)
  • Wakidate (helmet antlers)
  • Shikoro (nape guard)
  • Do (curiass/torso armor)
  • Kusazuri (tassets/skirt)
  • Hidate (thigh guards)
  • Sode (shoulder armor)
  • Kote (forearm guards)
  • Tekko (hand guard)
  • Suneate (greaves/shin guards)
  • Wakisashi (short sword)


We worked off and on for about a week cutting and scoring the cardboard pizza boxes and stitching and gluing it all together. The whole time we speculated on what "free pizza for one year" really means, (Is it one a day? One a week?) and what the other entries would look like.

When it was finally finished we took it to Maymont, a local wildlife habitat, historic estate, and fantastic public park. We got Will suited up and made our way down Maymont's sunny paths for a photo shoot among the pagodas and koi ponds in the Japanese gardens. Our pal Alan Young is a great photographer and lent his skills to our silly mission.

The reactions of passers-by were awesome. Shock, disbelief, joy, confusion. It was all there. Tourists and locals marveled and laughed. Kids and adults and even a groom doing an engagement photo shoot wanted their pictures taken with this Hot N Ready N Deadly samurai.

We're feeling more confident than ever that we have made a winning costume but only time will tell. The Richmond Tri-Cities–area Little Caesars Halloween Costume Contest Winner will be announced today on their Facebook page.

I'm not gonna lie. If we don't win, I might throw a pizza tantrum. Come on! Look how awesome it is!