Wow, super late post. I dedicate this post to my best friend, Lauren, who inspires me to be the best version of myself every day. Or sometimes, the best version of other interesting characters…
Now, I won’t get deep into the semantics of the differences between costumes and cosplay, but let me tell you: My creative instincts had to scratch this itch. (Ooh. Gross phrasing.) These past few years, I’ve become obsessed with amping up my costume/cosplay game. Even casual character “inspo” outfits need to be carefully curated.
FUN FACT + QUICK TIP #1: (Okay, I lied. I’ll get into it a little.) The primary difference between a costume and cosplay is in the root words. A costume merely refers to the look and/or outfit, while a cosplay is commonly understood as “costume + play.” A cosplayer brings the outfit to life by acting as the character or adapting its persona, attitude, mannerisms, and so on. It can be more demanding to cosplay, so be prepared to play your heart out. Do a test run of your outfit; wear it and jump or run around in it to make sure it’s flexible and breathable in all the right places for maximum funsies.
My significant other (SO) and I decided to venture into Waikiki for Halloween this year as Joy and Fear from Inside Out, with Sadness in tow in Bing Bong’s bag. It was actually my first time in Waikiki for Halloween! If you aren’t from Hawai‘i or O‘ahu, you should know that Honolulu can get relatively insane with Halloween. Well, as insane as we’re capable of being on an island. Chinatown and other areas downtown hold multiple events and close off the roads; many of our, err, more sprightly residents take a walk through Waikiki strip.
Sorry to say that I didn’t dress in any traditionally scary outfit! I was actually a little rushed (well, to me it was rushed) to make my outfit, and didn’t have time to order the proper supplies. I never buy ready-made costumes, as they’re so damn expensive. Plus, I prefer the feeling of wearing something I actually put effort into creating myself. Although of course, if it works for your budget, do as you please!
QUICK TIP #2: You don’t have to spend a lot or look too far to dress up. Sift through your closet. Make a board on Pinterest. Alter or rip up some old clothes, get some face paint and a cheap wig, wear your old prom outfits and be Kim and Kanye and baby North-North-West. Whatever! Remember back in the day when we’d cut eyeholes in some white linen sheets and call it a ghost? Or grab some good ol’ TP and wrap ourselves mummy-style? Still good! (Just make sure they’re not your good linens and TP.)
Since Fear pretty much dresses up as a regular business-casual dude, just more terrified, all my SO had to get was a “close enough” sweater vest from a thrift store. I attached a sparkly purple pipe cleaner to a hairclip, and he was set. Although you would not believe how difficult it was to find a sweater vest in Hawai‘i.
I chose a Joy costume because I could make it with whatever I had around me, too. Luckily, I come from a family of very artsy-crafty people. I turned a dress I already had into Joy’s dress by sewing some felt strips on for the flower design. Then, I employed my mum’s help to sew up Bing Bong’s bag from some scrap fabric; I painted the bag with some acrylics. I bought a blue bob wig from Party City and simply trimmed and gelled it to get Joy’s haircut. Finally, my sister sent me this Sadness crochet pattern to really amp up my look; she runs a craftsy business, and gave me the materials to make it! Huh, I had help all around, huh?
It’s far from a perfect costume, but it’s perfectly mine.
QUICK TIP #3: If you know you’ll be walking a lot, bouncing around, doing a jig, running like the Tenth Doctor wearing a suit and long coat at the Great Aloha Run in hot, hot Hawai‘i (which really happened, by the way), for goodness’ sake: Wear comfy shoes! Be sure to break them in, and consider some inserts to cushion your feet better. If your costume/cosplay requires heels or clunky shoes, bring some flats or even some flippy floppies for when you get tired. Also consider kitten heels or more supportive wedges as opposed to stilettos and such, if you can.
I chose to wear these super comfy oxfordish shoes. They’re close to my skin tone, I wear them for a lot of “a step up from barefoot” looks. I actually got them for my Bilbo inspo outfit as pictured above.
QUICK TIP #4: Stay hydrated. This isn’t costume-specific, but I live by it. Walking around in your costume, being around a lot of people, and potentially having non-weather-appropriate wear can take its toll. My SO was trying to out-accurate me (yay, I made up a term) and decided not to roll up his long sleeves. It was quite a warm, humid night with no tradewinds in Honolulu… Needless to say, he rolled them up half an hour of walking later, and purchased some electrolytes.
QUICK TIP #5: As Fear would say, stay safe. Stick with a buddy (especially if you plan to drink), always have a plan to get home safely, and stay visible—yes, even you, my adult friend. Your outfit may be insane, but don’t have a Hangover-esque night. I mean, unless you’re into that.
QUICK TIP #6: And of course, as Joy might say, have fun! Sometimes, it can difficult to find the courage to dress up as someone or something else for an evening. As an introvert, I had to build my nerve up slowly from light dress-up to full cosplay. Don’t think too hard about this. Wear your outfit proudly, and just live in the moment as you stand among some fellow cute, creepy, creative costumes.
Did you do anything interesting for Halloween, or had a lovely night in? Or do you prefer costuming/cosplaying on other occasions? 😉