Casual observers might wonder whether Eddie and Vinny Opp’s appearances on the front pages of the Banner the past five years started with the chicken or the egg. But our hard-core fans know the Opp boys’ repeated presence in the paper every Halloween began with a chicken and an egg.
Josh and Marin Opp of Hillsboro decked out their 1-year-old twins in white, fluffy chicken and egg costumes for the Hillsboro Business Association’s wildly popular trick-or-treating event on Oct. 31, 2017.
A photograph of the boys being pulled along in a little red wagon – with a sign that read “chicken coop” – appeared on the front page of the Banner three days later.
The identical twins graced the paper’s front page the next Halloween after Marin dressed Vinny as “Top Gun’s” Nick “Goose” Bradshaw and Eddie as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.
The Banner crew never intended to make the Opp boys the poster boys for their coverage of HBA’s annual trick-and-treating extravaganza, which attracts hundreds of kids downtown every year.
But Josh and Marin kept trotting out the twins in some of the most clever and creative costumes a person would see downtown every Halloween.
“We don’t really dress up ourselves, but we think it’s a fun event for the kids to be able to do,” Marin says.
Marin works as an audiologist at Essentia Health in Fargo while Josh serves as an administrator at the accounting firm Brady, Martz & Associates in Grand Forks.
The Opps moved to Hillsboro about 10 years ago to cut down on the travel time for their daily drives.
“It’s the only thing she’s ever met me halfway on,” Josh says with a laugh.
Josh and Marin hadn’t lived in Hillsboro long before their neighbors, Darla Preston and LeAnn Beck, told them that they needed to stock up on candy for trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. Candy collecting is serious business to children in Hillsboro.
“We didn’t want to be new neighbors who ran out of candy,” Marin says. “We probably had over 200 trick-or-treaters at our house that first Halloween.”
Eddie and Vinny were born a few years later in August 2016.
The boys were only a couple months old on their first Halloween, when Marin bundled up her sons in a pair of yellow blankets and snapped a picture of them as “Hostess Twinkies.”
One year later, the Opps pulled their sons around town for their first HBA trick-or-treating event, which was an eye-opener for the couple.
“It’s such a great community event. My hometown never did anything like that,” Josh says.
Eddie’s and Vinny’s chicken and egg costumes caught the attention of Banner photographer Cory Erickson in 2017 and the boys’ “Top Gun” outfits earned them a spot on the front page in 2018.
By the time 2019 rolled around – when Eddie and Vinny strolled around town as a cop and robber – Banner staffers realized the twins were about to grace their front page for the third year in a row. The Opps picked up on the repeated media attention as well.
“At some point we started looking for you guys,” Marin says with a laugh. “The photos are high quality and they’re usually the ones that we end up sharing on social media.”
Josh takes no credit for the origins of his kids’ costumes. The planning that goes into the boys’ Halloween get-ups goes entirely to Marin, he says.
Marin admits she spends months coming up with ideas for the twins but she keeps those plans to herself. Josh is strictly on a need-to-know basis – and he doesn’t need to know.
“People at work ask me all the time what the kids are going as for Halloween this year but she doesn’t tell me,” Josh says. “She knows I’ll spill the beans.”
Growing up, Marin’s mom made Halloween outfits for her daughter and Marin tries to keep that tradition alive. She considers herself a thrift shopper and tries to piece together outfits for the boys without relying on Amazon or Target.
Marin confesses she’s decisive when it comes to costume selection. Once she gets an idea in her head, she follows through with her Halloween picks.
Putting Eddie and Vinny in Superman and Clark Kent costumes remains the only idea she remembers considering before ruling out over the years, she says.
The couple prefers funny costumes rather than scary ones, which was evident when the boys went as Lloyd and Harry from the movie “Dumb and Dumber” during HBA’s trick-or-treating event in 2020.
Eddie and Vinny appeared in the Banner for a fifth straight year in 2021 when they dressed as Marv and Harry – the Wet Bandits – from the movie “Home Alone.”
Last year marked the first year trick-or-treating for the boys’ little 5-month-old sister, Millie, who tagged along as “Kevin” in a stroller.
Marin has costumes picked out for the twins and Millie for this year’s HBA trick-or-treating event in Hillsboro, although she’s not sharing those plans with the world until Monday.
But she says the outfits are inspired by characters who appear in well-known live-action movie.
Josh owns a clown wig and costume but he and Marin haven’t considered dressing as a family for Halloween. Still, he says that’s an option if they get inspired by the right idea one day.
“We’ve never even thought about it. But you never want to say never,” he says.
Eddie and Vinny turned 6 a couple months ago and their parents know there will come a day when the boys decide they’re too old for trick-or-treating – or don’t wind up on the front page of the Banner.
For now, they’ll keep enjoying the family bonding that comes with spending time trick-or-treating with their kids, raking in the candy and appearing on the cover of their local paper.
“We know it will come to an end one day,” Marin says. “I’m just hoping that it coincides with the point when I run out of ideas.”