Welcome to the last of my Halloween posts. As this is coming out so close to Halloween, I figured I’d talk about an activity that most of us did as kids and some of us continue to do: Making a costume.
A few weeks ago, the Barrie Public Library held a Comic Con. My lovely wife who works at the BPL asked me if I could help out. She also let me know that many of the staff and volunteers were dressing up for the occasion which gave me the opportunity to do something I’ve been interested in for a while. I got to cosplay.
I’ve always admired cosplayers, at least the ones that put effort into their costumes. Many of them put in a ton of time, energy and money into their outfits and it shows. While I’m not a huge anime fan, seeing the costumes that appear at Anime North every year can be mind blowing. I’ve been tempted to cosplay for a few years now as I’m curious what it’s like to be running around a convention in costume. What are the interactions with other fans like? How long until I get overheated? Is it fun?
My friend Ed Campbell (aka Snowhawk Cosplay) has been cosplaying for a few years and he seems to have a lot of fun putting together his costumes and showing them off at various conventions. I thought I would give it a go.
So the first step was to figure out a character that I liked enough to dress up as and also had a outfit that was within my skill level as a costume maker (ie skill level zero). After going back and forth on a few ideas, I finally ended up on Casey Jones from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
I’m a big TMNT fan and Casey has always been a favourite character of mine throughout his various incarnations. I really like the current version in the IDW comics and the classic Mirage Casey is also really cool. But I had to take time and budget constraints into consideration. Which version could I pull off? I decided I would do something that Ed has done with many of his costumes. My version of Casey wouldn’t be incredibly accurate to any one version of the character. I would make my own.
The first step was procuring a mask. I thought of making my own as I do have a paper version of the classic comic book mask ready to be fiberglassed but due to various events, I didn’t have the time to work on it or remake it if I screwed up. Luckily, due to the last Bay-Turtles film, there was a mask that I liked the look of and readily available to purchase. For all it’s faults, the one thing I did like from seeing images from the sequel was the look of Casey’s mask (sorry Mr Amell, I’m sure you were great in it but the first film was so bad I was never going to watch the sequel). I also decided to keep my hair as opposed to wearing a wig as Amell’s Casey had short cropped hair and I hate wigs.
I couldn’t come up with a jean vest (like the Casey from the 1990’s film) but in a weird twist, I found a grey, denim shirt that I thought felt fit the character really well. Being that Casey is a former athlete, I thought my weight gloves would also work well.
I debated whether I would have a golf bag to carry an arsenal of sports weaponry for Casey. It’s a bit to lug around but it really completes the character. A deal at another local thrift store made the decision for me. They had a great sale on all sports equipment so I grabbed a golf bag and a golf club for a grand total of $2.50. The bag itself is a newer model, light weight and easy to cart around. I decided to go light with my arsenal and stick with the golf club and a plastic road hockey stick that I picked up from Walmart.
Oddly, the hardest part of the costume to figure out was the shirt to wear underneath my sleeveless denim shirt. Originally, I thought I was going with a plain, white t-shirt but it looked too plain and that the costume still needed something. Then I got an idea. I grabbed my New Japan Pro Wrestling baseball shirt. It brought a little bit of colour to the costume, a little bit longer sleeves and it still had a sports theme to it.
With my costume assembled, I made my way to the library. I can now see why cosplaying can be a bit addictive.
Being a family event, the BPL Comic Con was populated by kids, many of which had no idea who I was. But there was a few adults and teens that knew who I was right off the bat. The interactions with these people were kind of nice for the ego as I was complimented on the work I had done. I’ll also admit, when you’re in the mask, wielding a hockey stick, you feel pretty bad ass.
I can also see how the costume making process can become a big hobby. Originally, I was thinking of just doing it at the BPL Comic Con and that would be it. Maybe wear it for Halloween and then pack up the costume. But after the con, wearing the costume for a day and talking to Ed Campbell (who did a great panel on how to create affordable cosplay costumes on a budget), I have a bunch of tweaks that I want to make to it for a second round. Next time, I’m thinking a slightly bigger convention in order to get the full cosplay experience.
So that’s it for Halloween, I hope you enjoyed this spook-tacular month.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!