He admits it sounds a bit odd; a guy who unexpectedly lost his dad four months ago starting an online contest encouraging people to dress like his departed father for Halloween.
But Billy Mays III is already enjoying the entries coming into his Hallow-Clean contest, where he has asked fans to e-mail a photo of themselves dressed like his famous pitchman father, infomercial king Billy Mays. The elder Mays died in his sleep June 28 at age 50, after building a career as one of the most successful TV pitchmen in history on his high-volume delivery and distinctive look.
"I realized the number of people dressing like him this year was going to be like, triple the (typical number)," he said, noting he's gotten 10,000 hits on his Web site www.wheresbilly mays.com since gossip site TMZ.com featured the story Monday. "I figured we might as well have fun with it."
The costume is easy; khaki pants, suspiciously black beard, blue shirt, and a product to pitch. Fans are encouraged to have fun and realize the results will be judged by the younger Mays and friends who helped film his commercials (even so, zombie costumes are not only allowed, but encouraged).
Entries with pictures, contact information and mailing address may be submitted via firstname.lastname@example.org or Mays' Twitter account @wheresbillymays.
The deadline for entries is Nov. 4, with winners announced Nov. 9. First prize includes one of the last autographed photos of the elder Mays, a DVD of the first season from his Discovery Channel show Pitchmen, a tub of OxiClean detergent and a pack of Mighty Putty adhesive.
Mays said even controversial references to his dad — such as a recent episode of the animated satire South Park featuring the elder Mays among a host of dead celebrities haunting a child —- helps him feel better about his father's passing.
"It's, like, reassuring to know he really did something with his life," said Mays, who said he's buying the contest prizes himself and not making money on it.