Scott Grocki just couldn't seem to get it together after causing his girlfriend Jennifer Dean to fall apart in front of more than 1,000 people yesterday at Westminster High School.
But once he picked up the pieces, he was able to straighten out her head -- and her stomach, her feet, her knees. . . .
The 17th Annual Magic Show and Costume Party had begun.
Where else could a man put a woman in a box and separate her body parts with hand saws without her getting the least bit uptight?
It could only have been here, where a ninja talked on the telephone to a Queen of Hearts in the next booth while an endless line of Draculas, princesses and witches milled in the isles in search of candy, a friend or a good place to see the show.
And where else outside the county office building could you see Elmer Lippy dressed, as he said, in the costume of a county commissioner?
"Magic is a way to relax," said Raymond M. Corbin, known professionally as "Ray-Mond," the founder of the Society of American Magicians in the county.
He and his wife, Doris, who died in 1976, started this event to give children an alternative to trick-or-treating because parents began finding strange things in their goodies.
"I call it a labor of love," he said. "It comes from the heart and it makes everyone happy."
No one could have been happier yesterday than the winners of the costume prizes -- except maybe their parents.
"She wanted to be a tomato, its her favorite food," said Beverly Duvall of Eldersburg after her 4-year-old daughter Meghane, -- mistaken by the announcer as a strawberry -- walked away with top honors in the cutest costume category.
The Grubb sisters from Finksburg won for funniest costume. Kelly, 8, and Kimmy, 5, dressed as a troll bride and groom.
Kelly's white tuxedo was a big hit, as was Kimmy's lacy white gown.
Their mother, Cindy, said the idea just came to her.
"Well, I saw the masks and figured I could do something," Ms. Duvall said. "I figured the troll bride and groom would be a cinch for original costume."
Eleven-year-old Jason Eckhard, standing before the crowd dressed as a spool of gold thread, was judged as having the Most Original costume.
"I've seen quite a few unusual costumes come through here today," said Don Smith, who works for the county Department of Recreation and Parks. "We're really proud of the turn out."
Other winners were: Most Colorful, Catrina Serfar, 4, a bird; Most Elaborate, George Neville, 5, a knight on a horse; Ugliest, Jeremy Wilhide, 10, a headless kid; and Most Realistic, Nathan Potee, 3, a tube of Oral-B toothpaste.
More than 450 children participated in the costume program, which was also sponsored by the Department of Recreation and Parks and the Westminster Lions Club.
The children couldn't get away without a piece of advice from their elders.
"Watch out for all the candy you'll be eating," Mr. Lippy said. "Or your teeth will be like the stars: they'll come out at night."
Dressed as Batman, junior magician Jimmy Abell placed Amberl Bly into a box and danced without leaving the audience's sight for more than a second as he moved around the stage.
As the music ended, the crowd gasped as the dancer removed the Batman head piece. Amberly shook her hair to her shoulders and let Jimmy out of the box. They bowed and left the stage.
Now, that's magic.