CHICAGO - Blackhawks games are a lot like screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Same strange cult phenomenon - only instead of people getting dressed up in crazy outfits to scream random things in a crowded movie theater, people get dressed up in crazy outfits and scream random things in the packed United Center.

It's not hockey here. It's Halloween.

On Sunday, more than 22,000 fans watched the Blackhawks bludgeon the Flyers, 7-4, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Some Chicagoans were even clothed normally.

The rest looked like they were auditioning for the role of the chief in The Village People cover band.

The FSF - Freak Show Factor - for Sunday's game was at threat level midnight (that's a special barometer developed by the crack scientists on Page 2's payroll). Everywhere I looked, there were Blackhawks fans with feathers in their hair and war paint smudged on their sweaty faces.

Outside the stadium, three twenty-something guys with Native American headdresses hopped around like their feet were on fire. They did that while tapping their mouths with their hands and shouting "woo-woo-woo." I believe that's called a pain dance; that's how it felt to watch them.

Not far from the meathead tribe, a kid waited in line with his father. The boy couldn't have been more than 10 or 12 years old. He wore a red Jonathan Toews jersey and red and black face paint. Dear old dad had on the exact same get-up. That's good parenting. It's like the song goes: "Teach your children well."

The best of the lot - or worst, depending on your perspective - was a tall, slender man in his mid-to-late 20s who was standing near the Michael Jordan statue a few hours before the puck dropped. (Incidentally, even the M.J. bust plays dress-up for Blackhawks games.) He was wearing moccasins and a one-piece, khaki-colored jumpsuit with red, green and yellow stitching on the arms and chest. The outfit was made from some sort of fuzzy, plush material that might have been velour. I could be wrong, but I don't think Native Americans ever wore velour. Well, maybe the ones from Jersey.

To complete the ensemble, his shaggy brown hair was held in place by a headband with a single red feather sprouting up in the back. It made him look a little like a cross between Tonto from The Lone Ranger and Alfalfa from The Little Rascals. In that way, it was a staggering achievement in cross-dressing.

Blackhawk Bobby - that's what I started calling him in my head - was standing by himself. He might have been waiting for friends, or perhaps he was scanning the crowd and searching for a few Flyers fans to scalp for fun. I didn't ask, and I didn't stick around. There was a grown man who woke up Sunday morning and decided that, yes, he would in fact walk out of his home and attend Game 5 dressed head-to-toe like a living, breathing Cigar Store Indian. People like him eventually evolve and stand on street corners with bullhorns and signs that say "2012: the end is nigh." They should be avoided in the interest of personal safety - unless you've been drinking, at which point their special brand of crazy can be entertaining. I was sober and moved on.

Where do you go to get that sort of ridiculous gear? Is there one particular store that caters to the wide and disparate needs of the insensitive ethnic stereotyping crowd? Lame Bryant, perhaps? Turban Outfitters?

Dressing up to support the team isn't unique to Chicago, of course. In Dallas you'll find plenty of people wearing Cowboy hats, though they might be actual Cowboys. You can never tell. In Boston, I once saw a man in a kilt at a Celtics game, but I'm still not sure if one had anything to do with the other. And Oakland Raiders fans have long looked like extras from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. I'm pretty sure their parole officers encourage them to wear spiked shoulder pads and dog collars and the like. Keeps them occupied and out of trouble for a few hours, which is a nice relief to Bay Area liquor store owners who use that time to step out from behind the bullet-proof glass for some fresh air.

Chicago isn't Oakland, however. Some of the Blackhawks fans appear to be gainfully employed. I'm not sure what would motivate otherwise sane people to spend time, money and energy on transforming themselves from regular fans into costumed caricatures. Don't any of them have family or friends who can stage interventions or at least hold up mirrors and show them how they look?

On a positive note, if the kitschy, historically inaccurate, 1950s-era Western ever makes a comeback in Hollywood, Chicagoans can count on tons of work.