April 13, 2008 | Duluth
It took 28 minutes for Katy
Haugland and Brandon Lawrence to transform themselves from
regular people to geeks of the highest order.
Haugland, 21, and Lawrence,
23, came up from the Twin Cities to go to Saturday night’s
Geek Prom, the annual nerdfest that’s returning to Duluth
after two years of being held in St. Paul.
Geek Prom is as known for its
participants’ eye-searing costumes as it is for its
annual geek streak.
“It’s Geek nature,”
organizer Paul Lundgren said of the tendency to dress up.
Most of Haugland and Lawrence’s
costumes were coming from Haugland’s stash of costume
“Whenever people have
something they don’t want, it somehow ends up in my
possession,” Haugland said. “I’m not sure
Haugland became last year’s
Geek Queen in a physics-theme T-shirt, plaid skirt and deliberately
This year, she selected a ruffled
apricot monstrosity that had, in the 1980s, served as a prom
dress. It still had a spot of fake blood on it from the time
Haugland incorporated it into a zombie costume.
Over that, she chose a white
bib from her marching band days. Saddle shoes and argyle socks
completed the get-up.
Next, Haugland got out her
makeup kit, a $7.99 Target special that had 42 shades of eye
shadow and four types of blush.
Haugland painted her lips with
Divine Wine lipstick, swabbed on an unnatural shade of blush
and smeared on some eye shadow.
Then the time had come to render
her shoulder-length brown hair into something more offensive.
“I do have a curling
iron, and you can do some serious damage with that,”
After a few minutes of twisting
the iron through her hair, Haugland was unhappy with the results.
“I’m not pleased
with how this is working out,” Haugland said. “That’s
what bobby pins are for.”
This was to be Lawrence’s
first Geek Prom, so he didn’t have a template to work
“I’m kind of going
off what I know,” he said. “I’m going to
nerd it out as best I can.”
Lawrence opted for waist-high
pants that he rolled up into high-tiders, a misbuttoned white
dress shirt, a poorly tied tie and gray socks with orange
“hang loose” hands that were visible beneath his
“I’ve kind of got
a nerdy Thriller thing going on here,” he said.
It was still undecided who
would get the piece de résistance — a green-and-white
rayon jacket with chunky sun pattern.
“I was like 13 or 14
when I got this,” Haugland said. “Who would want
this, especially a 13- or 14-year-old?”
The end result?
“I could see myself going
to the grocery store like this,” Haugland said.