Did I plan a far-too-busy Halloween seaon once again this year? You bet! So without delay, let's get to the opener:
EPIC HALLOWEEN BATTLES OF 'SEVENTEEN!
I've been going to Toronto's main geek Halloween party - Snailoween - since 2012, and have been hearing about the closest equivalent in Ottawa via Kurumasha for almost as long. This year I owed Kurumasha a visit, and the parties didn't overlap, so we decided to hit up both. Because I'm such a party monster >_> *ahem* Thus, I figured that I would write about Halloween by pitting the two parties against each other!
Who are you wearing?
First off, Heroes & Villains had a theme this year; it was actually "Heroes & Villains That Came From Space", which I thought was brilliant. It gave people an optional costume theme, and they carried the space theme through all the decor, drinks, music, and even some of the prizes! I decided to be on-brand with my only "alien" costume, Izabel, which also happens to be one of my faves (but I don't get to wear her often). Kurumasha was AMAZING and pulled off a last-minute and also totally legit Alana to go with my costume ^_^
Originally, Kurumasha and I were thinking about taking some new Marvel costumes to Snailoween this year, but in the end neither of us had enough time to finish anything, so we picked something party-friendly from our closets: Chihio and Lin from Spirited Away. As a bonus, it was going to be easy to make a No Face mask for Dan to join in!
But what did you think of the actual parties?
I'll start with the down-sides of Heroes and Villains: the venue was very hot, and the music was very loud. So between music volume and wearing the big fake ears I have for Izabel, I couldn't hear anyone unless they were yelling into my ear (and then: ouch). And while my makeup (somehow) survived dancing in the heat, the uncomfortable air plus use of smoke machine did force us to leave early - which means that we missed our photobooth time. But still, they had a pro photobooth to take everyone's photo; that's awesome! There was a large variety of prizes, everything was on point with the theme, music was awesome, and the venue was cool, even though it wasn't cold ;) Bonus: a lot of people recognized and liked my costume!!
The following weekend, I left the Snail party feeling satisfied, but I saw a lot of complaints about it in the week that followed, and while at first glance I was dismissive (things like "the music/DJ sucked" are completely subjective) the more I considered it, the more I realized that this year was pretty disappointing. The new venue was too dark to see everyone's costumes, lacked seating, and was generally a boring big box. My experience with the washrooms was worse than the previous venue - and they weren't even signed! I hesitate to describe the drinks as "expensive", but they weren't cheap and with only one bar, the lines were long.
While I wasn't directly affected by them, the policy of absolutely no re-entry, no ticket sales at the door, and controlled entry to the patio area? That sucks. I won't comment on the catering since I ate right before the party so I didn't bother with their food. I don't know who was awarding the merch prizes this year but the table was still weirdly full by the time we left. And while music taste is subjective, I enjoyed it up until the contest a announcements, after which the DJ switched to painfully slow R&B type songs which I could not dance to.
Ultimately though, not many of my friends went to Snailoween this year. And despite H&V being both too hot and too loud for my taste (and the prizes mostly unappealing since they were all specifically local) I had more fun there and saw just as many friends. Weirdly... Snailoween couldn't compete. So while I don't know if I will be able to make it back to Ottawa for Halloween next year, I will probably be looking at Snailoween alternatives closer to home.
I didn't take many photos, but here are some from both parties:
Wait, there's more?
Well, less "more" than I planned... I had wanted to go to the Kitchener Zombie Walk in my R costume, but unfortunately I came down with a cold that weekend and had to duck out. I had also been planning a Halloween-y photoshoot but it needed to be rescheduled until November for a variety of reasons. But that brings us to Halloween proper.
SHAKES AT POP'S
As in previous years I wanted a subtle/stealth costume to wear to work for Halloween since I don't like being the only one dressed up. So of course I went with my latest trashy addiction and put together Betty from Netflix's Riverdale. Nobody at the office recognized it, but I went to Fran's Diner downtown for dinner with a few friends and had fun ordering shakes with Iamwintermute who wore her Jughead stuff, and TrickyLove also arrived in time to get the hat I made for him and also be Juggy! (though I forgot to get a photo with him T_T) Yay for friends indulging me ^_^
And finally, the big post-Halloween "party" - Dan the Video Ninja's Extra Life stream, AKA:
This totally counts as part of my Halloween-a-thon because it was Nov 4, and because I dressed up. So there. As I'm sure you already know if you're reading this, Extra Life is a 24-hour gamaing marathon fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network hospitals. Dan's done it 4 times now and I've dropped in to help out every year! I'm not sure it really needs more description than that, so my photos are below, and Below that is Dan's highlight reel from the day. Enjoy!
What can I say about Anime North this year? For better or worse, it was about the same as every other year - I spent the weekend with some of my besties including Kurumasha, Dan the Video Ninja, Yavarice, and Ragz among others; I wore fun, comfy costumes; I was a runner for the masquerade greenroom; and kept too busy to arrange professional photos. So instead of writing out a huge report, I think I'll let the selfies and other photos speak for themselves this time ^_~
Last year I had a blast walking in the Niagara Wine Festival parade, so I had to be back this year, marching with Cosplay for a Cure again! Almost all of our group this year was different than last years group, but it was just as fun (and we didn't get nearly as slowed down by mobs of children hahaha. I wore the Chihiro outfit that Shawna made for me with new shoes, new wig, and very new magic scrunchie. Nobody knew who I was, but I was still happy to be repping the brand in pink ~_^
I didn't get as many photos as last year but I hope you enjoy these!
No blog posts since Bravo? Whoops! How the time flies by!
I was going to post about Fan Expo, but it turns out that I don't have much to say this time. I spent most of my weekend working at the Cosplay Recovery Lounge, which was fun but didn't leave me with any stories to share. I also wasn't able to take photos - definitely not a selfie-con this time around. I spent a little time on Thursday doing some shopping, but other than that, when I wasn't at the Lounge, I was at home being exhausted (real-life job has been keeping me on my toes). However, I was extremely fortunate that I was able to meet up again with Asgard Barbie (and Mr Asgard Barbie) on Sunday for some fun #TeamPepper photos and then being a terrible tour-guide as we explored some of downtown Toronto's sights ^_^
Some other things happened this summer which I haven't commented on yet, like getting to co-host a Game of Thrones themed trivia night with the fab Bear Sailor Moon. While admittedly I was dying of heat in my dress that day, I still had fun and it was great to hang out with "Jon Ho" and meet BrigitFiddle among others!
August also included Mr Stark's birthday, which was a cosplay-filled affair. I pulled together a more complete version of Ammy from The Wicked + The Divine, and had fun spending foreverrrrr doing my makeup LOL
As for off-camera stuff, I've been working away on finishing Cersei for the last couple months, as well as upgrades or additions to the other costumes in my current rotation. That percentage counter over to the right is climbing, but it is so painfully slow T_T. Right now I'm trying to stop myself from working on anything else until Cersei is actually complete, but a couple new projects for other people have popped up unexpectedly and I might have to break for them :/ In any case, my instagram (@maishericostumes) is the place to look for current progress updates until I have more time to post collections here.
I've gotten back several sets of photos from photographers recently which I will be posting soon (I hope!!!) because they're gorgeous, so that'll be the next few blogs.
As for events: I thought that I was going to be finished for the year after Fan Expo, but I just can't turn down working with Cosplay for a Cure, so I will be with them at the Niagara Wine Festival parade again this year (Sept 24), as well as Hamilton Comic Con (Oct 1-2) and probably Forest City Comicon (Nov 5-6) as well! And can't forget about Halloween either. It's going to be a very busy fall!
YetiCon was a treat at the end of the spring - a reward almost for 3 months of conventions and events every other weekend. In other words, it was the vacation that it deserved to be instead of the usual chaos that conventions usually are for me. As a result, I'm not quite sure how to write about it - I mean, I had a great hotel room with lovely roommates, wore comfy and fun costumes every day, and did a couple photo shoots... but I didn't participate much in the rest of the convention activities.
Due to a large oversight on my part, Cersei wasn't ready to enter in the costume contest like I planned, and because I spent all of Thursday night working away on that dress, I spent most of Friday at the con tired and trying to unwind. Saturday Kurumasha and I watched the costumes contest and cheered on our friends, poked our heads in on a couple of panels, and spent the evening in the pool and hot tub. Sunday was the "adventure" day - I was channeling Flash while riding the Ridge Runner coaster in my sloth kigu and riding the gondola to the top of the mountain, and we also spent some time at the magical tea party where we met a miniature unicorn XD
I didn't carry my camera with me for most of the weekend and so I took very few photos, but I've collected a few below.
Dream Land took some cute photos of my "Chihiro", which I have added to my Spirited Away gallery. I also shot Chihiro with PPhoto (first time shooting with her; so excited to see the results!), and Kurumasha and I shot out Rat Queens elves with Elemental (like, the millionth time shooting with her - total fave). Both those shoots will be posted at a later date ^_^
Once again, Anime North happened. Once again, I was there.
I stopped by Thursday to pick up my badge and take advantage of the hotel being mostly empty to do a shoot with Dream Land Photography: another Kate Bishop-inspired outfit, this time because Lelola had given me an appropriate dress to use ^_^
Friday I wore my Flashback Tizzie (for the first time with the right necklace!!) and even though it was disgustingly hot, Dream Land once again made sure I look awesome in his photos. Once Kurumasha arrived we snagged some Rat Queens pics together at Cosplay for a Cure, and spent the rest of the evening wansing around the con looking for (and finding) friends.
Saturday I was very glad that I hadn’t planned to wear a wig with my Spirited Away costume because I probably would have ended up with heat stroke. I really have no idea how anyone in a big or elaborate costume survived the weekend! Walking back and forth between the hotel and the North building for the masq was hell. On the positive side, the bathhouse costumes that Kurumasha is 100% responsible for were great greenroom staff uniforms - she did an amazing job. The greenroom ran about as smoothly as it could this year, which was awesome. I hope we can only improve on that experience again next year! It was great getting to interact with the Novice competitors as I took them to workmanship judging; so proud of each and every one!
Sunday didn’t go as originally planned: I decided not to wear my wig with Alice because it was just too hot (only threw it on for a few photos), ended up behind the table at Cosplay for a Cure for a little while, lost the friends I was supposed to meet because my phone had no signal, etc. But I did at least manage to catch the masquerade awards to cheer on my friends and the novices that I met in the green room as they accepted their awards.
Overall it was a very, very positive weekend. In spite of the heat, in spite of a severe lack of sleep, in spite of sore feet and legs most of the time; I had a lot of fun seeing so many friends and so many good costumes. I pretty much got to spend the weekend with all my best friends (except for Mr Stark </3) and doing one of my favourite “jobs” working the greenroom. Even managed to get at least one shoot of each of my costumes this year, which is an accomplishment itself. Wish I had more time to shoot with people and socialize more, but the heat and my lack of phone signal really hurt that.
Selfie-con photos below - most are mine and the ones that aren't are noted ^_^
See you all again next year!
Assorted AN videos I snuck into!
And finally, I've updated my galleries with photos from Anime North: Hawkeye, Tizzie, Spirited Away, and Alice!
Sam Sparks 55%