Normally I’m mostly indifferent to babies. They cry and poop a lot and ruin plane rides, and generally don’t bring much to the table until they reach pageant age. At least, that’s what I thought until last week, when Joe King sent me this picture of Mr. T Baby, aka B.A .”Baby Asian” Baracus (which I believe he found over on iruntheinternet). It quickly set the internet on fire, racking up more than 12,600 Facebook shares as of this writing, as well as mentions on Bravo’s Andy Cohen Live and Gabriel Iglesias’s Facebook page. And for good reason. The way her chubby little arms and baby barrel chest mimic that of the former A-Team star make her pretty much the cutest thing ever. I mean, if you can look at these pictures without smiling, you should probably go get a job gassing puppies at the pound because you’re dead inside.
Recently, I was able to reach out to Mr. T Baby’s father and lead costume designer, Brandon, from St. Paul, Minnesota, to get the full story behind the costume (JOURNALISM!). And much like the now-famous picture of his daughter’s first Halloween costume (it was last year, she was one and a half), the whole story made me smile. So with his permission, I thought I’d share with you this Halloween treat.
(Helpful tip: you can click to enlarge any of the photos).
On how the idea for the costume came about:
Yes, I made the costume myself, totally homemade… I guess I have artistic vision, but can’t really say that I have artistic talent. Luckily, for Scout’s Mr. T outfit, the homemade look seems to be more eye-catching than a professional outfit. It probably took about two weeks to gather the outfit and about two hours to do the mask. I got most from thrift stores but the camo shirt and pantyhose came from Sears, I think. The mohawk, army belt and camo pants were from Goodwill and such. Yeah, the idea was mine… Since Halloween is my favorite holiday, because it sort of promotes creativity and imagination, and it was my daughter’s first Halloween (she’s our first child), I knew I just had to come up with something spectacular. Though my wife and I were fans of the A-Team, the idea actually came from her natural chubbiness! I knew with the right clothing, the chubbiness could turn in to major muscles, and when I looked at her, I just saw Mr. T.
I LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER!
On the challenges of creating the costume:
The only real challenge of course was giving her a better “tan” and “beard” and “mohawk.” I didn’t want to color her face, so I somehow thought of using some pantyhose and using a black sharpie to draw the facial hair. I tried all kinds of things to create a mohawk, but they just didn’t work right. Finally, while at a thrift store, I happened upon a black stuffed animal cat. So I basically, amputated the cat’s arm and sewed it on the top of the mask, and voila, Mohawk!
On what his wife thought of the costume:
My wife is pretty patient with me and knows I really get into my projects, I’m sure she was probably expecting a cute costume before I sprung the idea of Mr. T. Luckily, my wife used to watch the A-Team as a kid too and loved it, so yes, she was on board.
On what makes the costume so adorable (EAT YOUR HEART OUT, MIKE WALLACE! I LIVE TO ASK THE TOUGH QUESTIONS!):
Like many things we loved as kids, this costume is sort of nostalgic, and Mr. T is just an American icon. But I do think the baby factor is hard not to love… Because the photo is good at capturing the innocence of a baby.
On this year’s plans, whether this should effect my decision to have a child, and a big teaser:
Well this year will be Halloween number two, and it’s probably the last year Papa will get to choose. So I tried to come up with a good one. All of our friends have been asking, but it’s Top Secret! [The capitalization here is Brandon’s. I suppose it’s too much to hope for that he means Val Kilmer in Top Secret, because, while more obscure, that would be amazing. -Ed.] It won’t be as spectacular as Mr. T., but hope it comes out well. I’ll try to remember to send you a photo on halloween. I don’t know that [being able to dress them up in awesome costumes] is the best reason to have a child…
I know some parents just love dressing their kids up, but for me, my daughter is just amazing by herself. Thanks for all the nice compliments. I’m glad so many people liked the costume.
So there you have it, folks, everything you ever wanted to know about Baby Mr. T. I only hope you enjoyed hearing that amputated stuffed-cat arms make great mohawks as much as I did. Because I enjoyed it quite a lot.
I consider this interview my most important work.