Daniel Hirsch loves all things Halloween and last night he got one more reason to do so. At West Hollywood's world famous Halloween Carnaval, he and his partner, Amy Northcutt, won the best costume prize at WeHo's first annual Project Masquerade contest.

Designed and hand-made by Hirsch and Northcutt, the winning costumes featured two spot-on replicas of scary characters from Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. Hirsch came to life as the three hitchhikers and Norhcutt dressed as the psychic Madame Leota.

The final round took place at The Abbey Food & Bar, and the event was sponsored by the West Hollywood Marketing and Visitors Bureau. The winners got $250 cash, and the three finalists each received a night's stay at the London Hotel on Halloween night.

“We wanted a contest that showed and encouraged the creative process and how outrageous these costumes can be,” explained Andy Keown, director of communications at the West Hollywood Marketing & Visitors Bureau, who came up with Project Masquerade. “I've lived here for 13 years and remembered when the costumes were so outrageous — with so many people coming each year I wanted to bring that back.”

Finalists Julie Lancaster and Alia Wakid, who are nurses from Orange County, pasted and cut their elaborate pink and blue peacock costumes for their first-ever costume contest.

“We started working on the costumes early September and just finished this week,” Lancaster told us at The Abbey while she caressed the peacock's beak. “We entered the contest and now we're here!”

Unfortunately, their over-the-top costumes weren't the judge's favorites.

Finalists Alia Wakid, left, and Julie Lancaster; Credit: Patrick Range McDonald

Finalists Alia Wakid, left, and Julie Lancaster; Credit: Patrick Range McDonald

Hirsch, a professional make-up artist, was more than eager to show off his incredibly intricate creations at The Abbey. For him, it was much more than dressing up — it was like having a dream come to life. “I have a big tattoo on my right arm of different parts of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion,” he says.

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