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    Confessions Of A Halloween Costume Model

    One day of work can haunt you for the next ten years.

    When Josh Stone was 19, he wanted some quick cash. And so he turned to Halloween costume modeling, as one does.

    California Costumes / Provided by Josh Stone

    "I didn't have any misconceptions that I could be a model," he told BuzzFeed Life. At the time, almost exactly 10 years ago, he was a student at San Diego State University and working at Abercrombie. "I was just a tall, lanky dude. But for some reason I had this agency that called me like once a month."

    And one day they called with an offer — one day of work for $250 an hour. Of course, Josh said yes.

    When he showed up to the 8 a.m. shoot, Josh recalled, everyone "took it really seriously and I just kept eating bagels and being a sarcastic asshole."

    Josh Stone

    "I was making all these jokes about how ridiculous the situation was and NOBODY was saying anything."

    He said he was the only male model, although there were a handful of female models, and he laughed at the memory of his 19-year-old self: "I'm dressed as Big Bird hitting on some girl who's dressed as Wonder Woman, and getting totally shut down. And I remember trying with different costumes! To like, A/B test which one she would respond to. The answer was none."

    That one day of work has translated into a decade of Josh's friends and family spotting his photos in Halloween stores and around the internet.

    California Costumes / Provided by Josh Stone

    "Every Halloween, guaranteed, I get friends or even just people I've met a couple of times coming out of the woodwork to tell me they saw me at a Halloween store." And then there are the perennials, like his sister and mother. "Now my mom knows how to group text, and she also now knows how to attach photos, so she texts the entire family."

    His girlfriend told BuzzFeed Life that she "cannot begin to express how much I LOVE going to Halloween stores every year and looking out for him."

    He only modeled around seven or eight costumes that day, but has been put in countless more thanks to the magic of photo editing.

    California Costumes / Provided by Josh Stone

    His favorite was this count outfit.

    And even Josh hasn't seen all the photos that he knows must be out there.

    California Costumes / Provided by Josh Stone

    (This is not, shockingly, a real sleeve.)

    "I never felt like a piece of meat during the shoot," Josh said, "even though the entire time I was trying on all these ridiculous outfits and having borderline-racist makeup put on me coupled with outrageous Fu Manchu mustaches, but then I discovered that they started using my head with different wigs Photoshopped on that I never even modeled. That was probably the only time I felt exploited throughout this whole adventure."

    As for how he feels about it now, 10 years later, Josh said that he thinks the whole thing is hilarious. "It's not like I have any political aspirations."

    But he was briefly embroiled in politics: during the 2012 election, Mitt Romney made a crack about Big Bird that begat an insanely popular costume choice that year.

    Josh Stone
    California Costumes / Provided by Josh Stone

    The Big Bird costume Josh modeled happened to be one of the top search results at the time, he said, and so his picture wound up on all sorts of news programs and sites.

    Though it may live on on the Internet forever, his Halloween modeling career began and ended on the same day.

    Josh Stone

    "As much as I wanted it to be a full-time job," he said, "I work in cybersecurity managing a team of UX designers."

    Provided by Josh Stone

    Although, Josh added, "This is sad, but every once in a while I like reading the reviews of costumes I modeled to see if anybody mentions how handsome I am."

    Alyssa Wells

    "That hasn't happened yet, but I'm holding out."

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