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For bouncers at college bars, Halloween costumes can be tricky

"Does it look like me?" asked Sarah Gelb, with a laugh.

Cardoso checked the age -- 22 -- and flashed a black-light against the hologram. The woman in the photo had long brownish-blonde hair. But the nose looked the same. The height and weight seemed about right.

"Have fun," Cardoso said, handing the card back to Gelb, who wandered into the bar with a sexy Bob the Builder and a nerd wearing a space T-shirt.

To get hired as bouncers, Cardoso and Dabh went through hours of training, classes about D.C. liquor laws, videos explaining what to look for on licenses from each state, a written exam and several nights of shadowing a veteran bouncer.

"We generally train our doormen on the three-point system: two eyes, one nose," said Tombs executive manager Kenneth Siegrist. "Your eyes don't move and without a nose job, your nose tends to not change."

Geoff Gibbs, who runs the Web site BouncerOnline.com, used to work as a doorman at California nightclubs but has since retired and become a "bouncer consultant." Halloween is one night when he advises bouncers to check every single ID.

"You can put on a wig, you can make yourself look older," said Gibbs, 45. "Even if they look 200 years old, on Halloween you have to check their ID. Especially if they look 200 years old."

Once inside, Gibbs said, Halloween can bring other problems: patrons getting a little too into their alter-ego, saying or doing things they wouldn't normally. And people who aren't dressed up getting annoyed with those who are.

"It's always a hectic night," he said.

Thursday night proved to be just a warm-up for Cardoso and Dabh. There were a few dozen people in costume and the duo turned away one guy with a fake Texas ID. Saturday night will be the real test. That's when the best costumes come out.


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