Creating Costumes – Halloween Special 2004

By Dave K & SovietAirman

Everyone dresses up for Halloween, or at least they did when they were a kid. And what was it that you wanted to be? Outside of the traditional clowns, death and vampires, most kids would want to be a character from their favourite TV show, which was usually a cartoon, or comic book. These days there are kids dressing up as characters from anime and video games as well. So we’re going to go into a little more depth on how you can properly make and choose your costume. And give you some pretty pictures along the way.

Step One: Choosing the Costume:

When choosing a character it is best to realize limitations, if you are short and stocky then picking a tall and slender character may not be the best choice. For example it would be better to dress up as Gimli the Dwarf from Lord of the Rings then as Legalos the Elf, if you’re short stocky person. Doing this has too advantages, first it stops people from laughing at you. But second it gives your tall and slender uncreative friend an idea as too what to be. This leads into the next point; if at all possible have you and your friends dress up in a group. A group of people who are all related is much more interesting then if you all dress up as unrelated characters. Now a Trekkie example, (please it’s just an example), is how a group dressed up as the cast of The Next Generation is going to garner more attention then a group dressed up as people scattered across several shows. (Although a girl dressed up as 7 of 9 might attract quite a bit of attention). If you’re going for a character that wears several outfits, usually you should pick the most common outfit. However, you may want to pick an alternate if the most common outfit is just too hard to make (Say for example you want to be a character who wears full plate armour, that’s very hard and expensive to try and replicate). Finally, realize that this is just a costume and set a limit on how much you’re willing to spend. This leads into the next step.

Step Two: Putting the Costume Together

Putting the costume together is incredibly difficult to give advice on. At times it is possible to actually buy the costume, but we’re going to assume that you’re making your own costume in this case. First thing you should do is see if you have anything lying around the house to help, perhaps the costume has a belt or a tie that you already have. Save yourself the trouble and use that. Now if you’re doing something mildly odd but it still is normal clothing more or less, I would suggest going to a used clothing store of some sort like Salvation Army or Value Village (Don’t know if that’s a Canada only brand). Generally you can find something similar at these stores for less then what fabric would cost. With a little bit of cutting and sewing you can easily make it look right. Now if you’re doing something completely uncommon like a tunic (you won’t find many of those for sale at the GAP or any other store), then you’ll probably be stuck doing a bit of sewing. It is possible to create a tunic out of a mini-skirt and jacket made from the same material but that’s pretty hard to come by, (except for leather but that is expensive and difficult to work with). For sewing instructions look around online there are plenty of sites. Hair is always something to consider, wrong hair can ruin a costume. Always consider how long your hair is. Wigs are always possible but you may want to style your own hair for a more realistic affect.

Step 3: The Cosplay

The term cosplay comes from the combination of the words costume and play. Assuming you have a costume now (or that you will for whatever occasion you’re making it for). The final Step is the actually play itself. This is where you get into character. The whole purpose of dressing up as a character is usually because you like the way they look, but often the way he/she acts. So when you dress up you start acting like the character you are. This isn’t necessary, but it a greater purpose to dressing up and it often leads to a lot of fun. This is not to say you must stay in character at all times, obviously you should stay within reason.

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