It was a different kind of art show on Saturday night at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings. 

The museum opened its doors at 7 p.m. for costumed party-goers dressed to capture a wide variety of likenesses including those of BoJack Horseman, Bob Ross, Ms. Frizzle, The Magic School Bus and David Bowie.

With food, drink, tarot card readings, photo booths, a DJ and AlternaCirque's aerialist performers dangling above, the party offered a variety of entertainment options for the roughly 600 who purchased tickets, according to YAM executive director Robyn Peterson. 

True to the spirit of the YAM, Peterson wore a homemade dress comprised of cloth cut into various rectangles of primary colors that was meant to resemble a painting of the 20th century Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. 

Describing the first Masquerade Party, Peterson joked that the theme was "over the top," and commended the wild costume efforts she said were "a delight to see."

There were no gargantuan gangsters or live snakes this time around, but elaborate costumes still had a place at the fall fundraiser.

Vern Ball dressed as Hoggle, a dwarf from the 1980s Jim Henson movie "The Labyrinth." Though the character is diminutive on screen, in real life Ball's costume included oversized gloves and an enormous 8 pound mask which he said can get a little heavy about the neck as the night wears on. The size of the mask is such that Ball has to look out of its mouth to see. Ball said he owns a variety of elaborate costumes. He said Hoggle's head actually has a fan inside but he forgot to snag a 9-volt battery before setting out for the night. 

Not lacking in electrical power were Jonnae Slade and Kayla Erickson, who dressed as bio-luminescent jellyfish. Made earlier Saturday with domed umbrellas, LED lights and a little help from Google, the jellyfish costumes were Erickson's idea originally. 

"I just wanted a light-up costume," she said. 

"I just wanted to have fun," replied Slade. 

"What better way than as a jellyfish?" Erickson said, before opening and closing the umbrella slightly to mimic the jellyfish's swimming movement. 

Attending as a couple, Stephanie Danielson and Kris Doely were dressed as Ms. Frizzle and The Magic School Bus from the educational 1990s cartoon "The Magic School Bus." 

Tasked with representing a fictional human, Danielson had a bit of an easier task in creating her costume. Doely said he might have put in more than 30 hours during the week trying to create the cardboard school bus — complete with functional headlights — that he wore about his waist. 

The two said they attended the party last year and came back because it benefits a good cause and it offers a satisfying departure from conventional Halloween parties in Billings. "It's better than your run-of-the-mill costume contest at a bar," Danielson said. 

"Plus," added Doley, "you get to see some great art."  


Night Reporter

General assignment reporter for The Billings Gazette.