TIME celebrity

Neil Patrick Harris and Family Dress Up As Batman Characters

Time to go trick or treating!

No one loves a costume like a celebrity, and Neil Patrick Harris is no exception. Harris and his husband David Burtka dressed as the Batman villains, the Riddler and the Joker, while their son Gideon is dressed as Batman and daughter Harper appears to be Catwoman.

But despite all the preparation, Harris still couldn’t satisfy his 4-year-old kids’ eagerness to get out and do some trick-or-treating.

TIME society

Inside the First-Ever Hello Kitty Convention

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the Sanrio character

Embrace your inner child, hug the Hello Kitty plush on your bed, and check out photos from the first-ever Hello Kitty Convention at The Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles (Oct. 30 to Nov. 2). The highly anticipated event is pegged to the character’s 40th anniversary—her birthday is November 1!—and an exhibit on Hello Kitty at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM), on display through April 26, 2015.

MORE: Hello Kitty Exhibit to Open in L.A.

WATCH: Avril Lavigne Tear Up Tokyo for “Hello Kitty” Video

MORE: Apparently Hello Kitty is a Human Girl, Not a Cat

TIME Body Image

Thousands of People Want Victoria’s Secret to Apologize for ‘Perfect Body’ Ad

But can it make a difference?

More than 16,000 people have signed a U.K. petition asking Victoria’s Secret to apologize for an “irresponsible,” “body-shaming” ad.

The lingerie company sparked outrage for a new campaign celebrating “The Perfect ‘Body.'” The ad copy is a riff on the brand’s “Body” lingerie line, but since the slogan hovers above the supermodels’ bodies, people say it sends the wrong message.

Dear Kate, an underwear company “made by women for women,” insists that the lingerie industry as a whole can and should do better. “As if women need a reminder of our society’s homogenous definition of beauty, the ad features ten models with almost identical body shapes,” its website reads. “The creators of the ad probably didn’t think twice about the message it is sending, and to us, it’s irresponsible marketing.”

Here is Dear Kate’s alternative:

But can the petition incite change? Petition writers Frances Black, Gabriella Kountourides and Laura Ferris note that “we have yet to hear a single word from Victoria’s Secret! It can’t be much longer until they listen up and realise that they have some apologising to do.”

Victoria’s Secret did not reply to TIME’s request for comment.

But the “Perfect Body” campaign is in line with past marketing efforts. Victoria Secret’s previous “Love Your Body” campaign (which also incited backlash) provides a stark contrast to companies like Dove’s take on promoting an ideal body image.

Some companies just prefer companies opt to promote “perfect bodies” rather than “real beauty.”

TIME World

This Stunning Drone Footage of Island Surfers Will Make You Desperately Want a Vacation

Taken in Indonesia's gorgeous Mentawai Islands

Can’t take a vacation right now, because of silly obstacles like your job or money or your kids or fear of flying? Well, this video is kind of like a little vacation in itself.

It features drone footage captured in the gorgeous Mentawai Islands of Indonesia and comes complete with soothing but upbeat music. So grab your headphones and allow yourself a five-minute escape from it all.

(h/t Boing Boing)

TIME society

How the Average American Man’s Body Compares to Others Around The World

"When you look at the images side-by-side, you can really see the differences"

Pittsburgh-based digital artist Nickolay Lamm was on vacation in Catalonia, Spain, last year when he noticed something. “I think I’m being objective when I say that a lot of the people were just very fit,” he says. At least more fit than what he saw back home. And so Lamm decided to dive into body measurement statistics collected by organizations like the CDC to create models that represent the physique of the average man from different countries.

“Basically, I wanted to represent how we as a country are a little overweight when it comes to other countries,” he says. “Obesity is a huge issue, it costs our health care industry so much money, so I just wanted to create a simple way to illustrate something people probably know in the back of their minds, they just haven’t seen it all laid out so clearly.”

Nickolay Lamm

While the images first went public last year, they are making their rounds online again — right in time for Halloween. (A time when body image is at the back of people’s minds.)

Nickolay Lamm

“When you look at the images side-by-side, you can really see the differences,” Lamm says.

Nickolay Lamm
Nickolay Lamm
Nickolay Lamm

Lamm doesn’t know why exactly these images resonate with an audience, but people always seem surprised. “We see all these numbers and statistics,” he says, “but sometimes we just want to see it laid out.”

Nickolay Lamm

The artist is perhaps best known for creating the anti-Barbie. The soon-be-released Lammily doll is based on the average American woman’s proportions, rather than unattainable measurements that would make it hard for a real woman to walk or even just exist. He also hopes to create a male version of the doll after the product goes to market.

Lamm does note that scrutiny regarding body image is often directed toward women rather than men. “It’s interesting, I remember I was at a bar once and guys were comparing all the other women, but they kind of look like the images I made,” he says. “Who are we to judge when we aren’t looking perfect either.”

TIME celebrity

Here’s What Blue Ivy Is Wearing For Halloween

Jay-Z, Beyonce and Blue Ivy Carter onstage at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California.
Jay-Z, Beyonce and Blue Ivy Carter onstage at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. Jason LaVeris—FilmMagic/Getty Images

Beyonce and Jay-Z dressed their two-year-old daughter as Michael Jackson

The media can’t resist a celebrity in a costume on Halloween, and Blue Ivy is no exception. Beyonce and Jay-Z dressed their two-year-old daughter as Michael Jackson to celebrate the holiday.

Keeping with the theme, Beyonce went as Janet Jackson.

Not be outdone, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West dressed their young daughter North West up in a skunk costume. Of course, Kim documented the occasion on her Instagram account.

TIME celebrity

Today Was a Fairytale for Taylor Swift, Who Dressed as a Winged Unicorn for Halloween

Taylor Swift Visits "The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show"
Taylor Swift visits "The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show" at Z100 Studio on October 31, 2014 in New York City. Kevin Mazur— Getty Images

Or as she calls it, a pegacorn

Katy Perry may have won Halloween with her Cheeto costume, but Taylor Swift’s get-up is pretty good too. She dressed as a winged unicorn, or as she called it in an Instagram post, a “pegacorn.” For those who don’t know, pegacorn is a portmanteau of “pegasus” and “unicorn.”

Tay-Tay’s been super busy this week, so props to her for still finding the time to dress up and celebrate the holiday. We can only assume she also found time to bake some Halloween-themed goodies for her besties.

TIME Crime

Subway Robbery Suspect Said ‘Jared’ Diet Failed

Zachary Torrance says he didn’t lose weight

The man suspected of robbing a string of Subway sandwich shops in Alabama told authorities he did it because the “Jared diet” didn’t work for him, and he wanted his money back.

Jared is the name of a man who became a spokesperson for Subway after he purportedly lost a significant amount of weight by going on a diet consisting solely of fare from the sandwich chain.

Zachary Torrance, 18, was arrested at a Hueytown, Alabama, Walmart, after a citizen matched his face to surveillance footage. Torrance is suspected in Subway store robberies in Birmingham, Midfield and Adamsville, WVTM Birmingham reports.

[WVTM]

TIME Culture

Nik Wallenda on Why He’s Walking a Tightrope 50 Stories Above Chicago

Discovery Channel

TIME gets inside the mind of a man who will attempt to walk a tightrope across the Windy City's skyline, on live TV

On Nov. 2, Nik Wallenda will try to outdo the feats that seven generations of his daredevil family have done: the scion of the Flying Wallendas will walk a tightrope across the Chicago skyline, up an incline for half of the stunt and wearing a blindfold for the other.

This is the Discovery Channel’s latest bid to capture the world’s attention with live broadcasts of life-or-death events (like April’s planned ascent and wing-suit jump off Mount Everest that was derailed by a tragic avalanche). And this is Wallenda’s follow-up to dramatic tightrope crossings over Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon in recent years. Doing something ever-more daring, he says, is the way to be successful in the daredevilry business.

Wallenda will start his walk on a wire 588 feet above the Chicago River. First, he’ll traverse an incline the length of about two city blocks from one skyscraper to another, ending at a height of 671 feet—making it the highest balancing act in his family’s history and his steepest walk ever. From the second skyscraper, Wallenda will don a blindfold and walk a level wire 543 feet above the ground to his third and final pillar of safety.

TIME spoke with Wallenda about why he chose Chicago, what makes him risk his life and what he hopes viewers get out of watching him on TV or Discovery’s live stream.

TIME: Growing up in the Wallenda family, did you feel you had a choice about whether to join the act?

Wallenda: I actually felt like my parents did everything they could to get me out of the business. In fact, I know they did. I was going to study to become a pediatrician, because the business had struggled financially and my parents were having trouble making ends meet. And they wanted me to have nothing to do with it.

Why did you decide to do it anyway?

I started at such a young age. My uncle called me when I was getting ready to go away to college and asked if I wanted to be part of recreating the seven-person pyramid in Detroit, Mich. And I talked my parents into allowing me to do it, and when I got there, I realized there was an amazing opportunity. We just needed to change the direction of our business and we could be successful in it. I had struggled with going to college because I had so much passion for what I did, performing. I started walking a wire when I was 2. So that was really a turning point, the revelation that we just needed to change our business model.

Is that business model now centered on record-breaking?

It’s centered on continuing to keep the name in the spotlight. My great-grandfather did an incredible job of that, creating the seven-person pyramid and doing many amazing walks around the world. And continuing to keep his name in the spotlight. Really, that’s what it was about, never being complacent but continuing to push on and move forward.

And how will this feat be pushing yourself in a new way than all the feats you’ve done before?

In two ways. One is I’ve never walked up an inclined cable. I’ll be walking up a 15-degree incline for this event, which is extremely strenuous. It changes your center of gravity and how you balance and everything in that sense. In the second portion, doing it blindfolded, which is something I didn’t even realize was possible until a few years back when I started training, taking away that most important sense, which is vision as a wire-walker. It is definitely the most challenging walk I’ve ever done.

Once you have that blindfold on, how do you mentally and physically change your approach to staying on the wire?

Mentally, it’s the biggest challenge of all. I’ve done this so long, muscle memory sets in. That’s why I can do it. But mentally, overcoming those fears is my biggest challenge in life, for sure. Putting myself in a place of confidence, knowing that I can do it. Training in really tough conditions makes me confident that I’ll be able to do it over the city of Chicago.

Why did you choose Chicago, rather than, say, New York or San Francisco?

All of those are on my radar, for sure. Chicago’s something I’ve worked on for a while. My sister lived there for 13 or 14 years. I spent a lot of time in that city. I was absolutely attracted to the name the title the “Windy City.” And it worked out where Chicago was able to give us approval. We were able to get the buildings to approve and all of that. So that’s why Chicago’s next. I’m working on many more.

When you’re getting these approvals, whether it’s the mayor of the city or the owner of a building, what are their hesitations?

For the most part, there’s not a lot of hesitation. Of course they’re all worried about my safety. But I think I have an amazing track record of eight world records, as well as walking over Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. And of course that builds confidence in them. In the end, the media attention from around the world is only positive for the city. This special will air live in over 220 countries around the world. The visitors’ bureau can’t afford a commercial like that, for two hours long. I don’t think anyone in this world can afford to pay for a commercial like that. So it’s definitely great for them, just like it was for Niagara Falls … Of course, as a building owner, they’re concerned with liability. What if something happens? And really more than anything concerned about the safety of their building, which is where [all the] engineers come in.

As you said in the beginning, they’re concerned about your safety. Is there a scenario in which you fall and it’s not a good commercial for them?

I don’t know. You look at NASCAR, and people dying on occasion, and it doesn’t hurt their sport. That’s for sure. They still have every endorsee you could ever imagine. I don’t know for sure if it would be good or bad. My great-grandfather lost his life in Puerto Rico. And it surely didn’t hurt tourism in Puerto Rico. Would you say I’m never going to go to Chicago because Nik Wallenda fell there? I don’t think you would. So no, I don’t think it is a bad for them. Of course, I’m all about staying on top of that wire.

Obviously the commercial value is not the important factor if that terrible outcome happens. As much as you can imagine what you might be thinking if you did fall, would you have any regrets?

I don’t think so. I’ve lived an amazing life, and continue to live every day like it’s my last. And I think everybody should live that way. Of course, some of my training is about staying on that wire, and catching that wire, and holding on for 20 minutes. I’ve got redundant rescue plans within 90 seconds. It’s not as though I get up there carelessly. There’s a lot more science and engineering that goes into it than you could ever imagine.

Why do you want to do this and what do hope people get out of watching it?

Everything I do I hope inspires–actually, I know inspires many people. Maybe not all of them. But I hope to inspire people to continue to push themselves to become better at what they do. This walk is all about continuing to push myself to not become complacent but continue to work harder, move forward and become better at what I do. And I hope to inspire people that no matter what their challenges are, if they’re willing to work hard enough, they’ll be able to accomplish whatever their dreams are in life. Mine just happens to be a little more unique than most.

Is there an element of this, like soldiers going back into battle or thrill-seekers, that you just can’t live without, an energy from performing daredevil feats like this?

I’m not your average daredevil. I’m definitely not an adrenaline junkie. I certainly love my wife and my three kids more than anything in life. And if they asked me to stop tomorrow, I would. If they asked me not to do the Chicago walk today, I would not do it. So that’s not my life. My family’s done this for over 200 years. I’ve done it since before I was born. My mom was six months pregnant with me on the wire. I’ve walked the wire my whole life. And it may be hard to comprehend, but this is life to me. It’s not an occupation. It is not a job. Very seldom in my career do I get a rush out of what I do. It’s about the love and passion for what I do.

TIME society

Every Infant Should Dress as Ruth Baby Ginsburg for Halloween

Stop trying. This is the best costume of 2014

Considering reproducing? We now submit Exhibit A for why having a baby could be the right choice for you: This infant dressed up as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Quick, someone give this kid a Notorious RBG shirt immediately. The Ruth Baby Ginsburg Halloween costume should be every infant’s Halloween costume.

(h/t: Elle)

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