For University of Tennessee student Jake Hunt, his leprechaun costume has been like a pot of gold.
The costume has been a lucky charm for the red-headed Hunt in drawing attention on St. Patrick's Day.
"You wouldn't believe the number of people who come up and want to have their picture taken with me," said Hunt, a 2015 WCHS graduate. "I wore it to a Predators game and tons of kids came up to me. Probably the weirdest request I received was from a guy who wanted to hold me in his arms for a picture. I like talking to people and I like having fun so I agreed to let him do it."
Hunt first debuted the costume three years ago on St. Patrick's Day while a senior at WCHS.
"My dad had a green suit and I thought I wanted to take it to the next level," said Hunt. "So I bought the other stuff from the party store and went from there."
Hunt says he took a dual enrollment course at Motlow that St. Patrick's Day morning, then went home to put on the leprechaun costume before heading to WCHS for his afternoon classes. He says the response was overwhelming.
"People loved it," said Hunt, who added some people have asked him if he's a real leprechaun.
On Friday, Hunt wore the costume while visiting his mother at Hickory Creek Elementary. Her second-graders went wild.
"I talk in character with an accent," said Hunt. "And I've brushed up a little bit on the history of Ireland. The kids loved it. I had three of them draw a picture of me while I was talking. It was really sweet. It definitely brightened my spirits and theirs too."
A leprechaun is a mischievous fairy in Irish folklore. The elusive creatures are said to have a hidden pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
Usually depicted as tiny, bearded men wearing a green coat and hat, leprechauns avoid much contact with humans. If captured, they are said to grant three wishes in exchange for their freedom, wishes which often turn out to backfire because of the leprechaun's devilish nature.
Hunt was a hit while walking down Main Street on Friday. Passing motorists honked, waved and hollered. One lady asked Hunt to hold her dog while she made a picture.
Hunt said he planned to wear the costume in Nashville on Friday night while visiting a friend at Vanderbilt.
A huge fan of the Tennessee Vols, Hunt didn't rule out the idea of wearing the costume during football games in the fall.
"I'd do anything to bring them good luck," he said.