October's main attraction is usually Halloween, though this year I double-dipped and added something new: The Oxford Renaissance Festival. I was mostly looking for a substitute event I could cosplay at since I was making a cosplay for my partner with the idea to dress up together for Youmacon as well as Halloween, but when the problems with this year's Youmacon surfaced I decided it wouldn't have been worth the trip. But the ren-fest ended up working out really well - not only would our Game of Thrones costumes be suitable, but we had friends who were already planning to go!
The prep work ended up being two-fold: I was making a basic Robert Baratheon cosplay for my partner (top and crown), as well as alterations on my Cersei (because sadly she no longer fits). My alterations worked out OK; the costume is less accurate now and does not fit well so much as it is wearable, but it is wearable. I made Robert's clothes in 2 garments: an undershirt made of faux leather sleeves stitched to a moisture wicking t-shirt, and a jerkin/tunic layer overtop. The aim was to make the whole thing as comfortable and easy to wear as possible. I purchased a belt to accessorize with, and the only finishing touch needed was the crown, because what is a king without his crown? It's all made of craft foam and if you ignore that I skipped some of the fine details I think it turned out quite well for a rush job! Post-Hallowen I have to replace a few of the gems but it held up well to some hard partying.
Clay's costume was missing all the little details when we went to the Oxford Renaissance Festival, but I did at least get one good photo from Halloween which shows most of the finished cosplay. I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to keep wearing Cersei but I hope that we can maybe hit at least one con together next year.
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!
Like every year, I ended up with several Halloween costumes and events this year, and so one post will rule them all.
Firstly, on (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend, Mr Stark, The Video Ninja, Dream Land Photography, and I all went out to High Park to shoot some costumes, one of which was the Space Warrior outfit that I made a year ago. Unfortunately, it's been a warm autumn and the leaves hadn't really changed colour yet, but I'm just happy to have some photos of the costume. Next year's squad goals: a whole group!
Next up was a very last-minute decision to go to Unplugged for the day to give Bear Sailor Moon a hand with the masquerade, and with it came a very last-minute costume: R from Warm Bodies. R is a character which I've had on my cosplay list for a couple years; just waiting for the right opportunity. While the hoodie is way too big (that's what happens when you only have one hour for shopping) I'm pretty happy with the distressing and my makeup. Hope I have the opportunity to wear him again ^_^
(and while we're here, have a few Unplugged floor photos...)
Snailoween was the main event for October this year, with Kurumasha once again coming in for the weekend and we managed to pull together a (small) costume group! Kurumasha, The Video Ninja and I all went as characters from The Wicked + The Divine; I put the finishing touches on my Amaterasu, Kurumasha went as Badb, and I put the Video Ninja in a Baphomet outfit. It was great to be there with my peeps and spending the night dancing with friends - and to top it all off we took home a couple of small gift cards for the store ^_^
Of course I couldn't walk away from the season without dressing up on Halloween itself, even though dressing up is not a thing that people do at my workplace. So, I decided on a "stealth" costume - a non-uniformed Holtzmann. I think I did a decent job replicating her look using stuff found in a quick outlet-store shopping trip (and already accumulated for other reasons ~_^). I've got some sweet non-selfie pics in the queue for a later post.
OHMYGOSH, it's the second Tutorial Tuesday! I haven't quit yet! This tutorial was written up in response to a reader who asked about how I did the FX makeup on my Bioshock Splicer costume. I hope that other people will also find it a useful resource for working with gelatin for similar effects!
Take Note: this tutorial is not necessarily the "right way" to do things, nor the "best way", but is simply how I went about it when I made my own. Anyways, on to the project!
Time for an over-due photo post! I finally completed my Chell gallery over in the not-costumes section with the group photos including Calamity and Yavarice! So much fun, and I'm looking forward to cosplaying with them again ^_^
In my previous blog post, I said that I was going to wear Izabel to Fan Fare Geek Fest.... and I almost did, until I ran into the problem of being particularly sniffly that day, and a runny nose is not a good thing to combine with full facepaint. So I stuck with Erika for Fan Fare, and just posted the Izabel photos from Snailoween over in my Saga gallery. Really really want to cosplay her more though (and going to be replacing the wig very soon as well)
Haven't been posting any updates in the past few weeks because I've been working hard on Halloween costumes (and getting completely addicted to Hyrule Warriors if I'm being honest). I've been continuing work on my Izabel costume, and also added something new: making a simplified version of River Song's dress from "The Day of the Moon" episode of Doctor Who for my friend 'Manda, over at Thoughts From the Test Chamber.
Luckily for us, that dress is popular enough that there are a lot of images available online for reference. I wasn't going to be doing an exact recreation (it's far too complicated a shape to try to reproduce without one of the dresses themselves to use for guidance) but one of 'Manda's friends suggested using one of Simplicity's Game of Thrones/Hobbit patterns as a starting point. Having read all about the pattern in Andrea Schewe's blog (and already owning a copy), I thought it was a great idea.
The essential characteristics needed for the dress:
low V-neck with partially functional, partially decorative zipper closure
billowy skirt with hankerchief style hemline
drawstring cord on side hems for parachute look
bonus for functionality/accuracy: exposed zipper pockets on the hips
Alterations made to the commercial pattern:
added panels to the sides of the skirt (with the zippered pockets in them) to get the pointy hem-line and add fullness
added center front seam to the skirt to accommodate the neck-line zipper
(had to sew things together in a different order than the instructions because of the above changes)
cut and finished the hem-line in a gentle curve between each seam on the front, same on the side but left a channel in the hem for the drawstring.
I could have made several additional adjustments to the pattern for more accuracy, but working within time restraints meant that wasn't really possible, and more importantly the final fit was also better having done it this way. 'Manda added a purchased belt and accessories and looked so awesome as River Song. Even for a perfectionist like me, not everything has to be 100% accurate; I'm really happy with how this came out.
When we last saw progress on my Izabel costume, I had just finished stenciling the t-shirt. After that, I went to work on the wig.
I'm recycling the pink wig from my Fluttershy costume, and hoped to do 3 things to make it perfect: dye it a darker colour of pink, straighten the curl in it, and cut it to about shoulder length. I used some Tulip brand fabric dye I already had at home (since I know that fabric dyes can be used effectively on some types of wig fibers), but after trying my best I had to admit defeat - the wig did not take ANY of the hot pink colour at all. I could try again with FW ink or i-Dye Poly, but guessing from some online research there's a high chance that my wig fibers won't take new colour at all, so I'm not going to bother wasting my time and money. After all, there's nothing wrong with the colour it is now. Straightening the wig was another problem, because it's not heat-resistant, so I couldn't just run a flatiron over it. I ended up steaming it by carefully ironing it a section at a time, under a wet towel. It's didn't get all of the curl out, but was a big improvement. I did a quick cut to get the wig to approximately the length I want, and will be doing a more careful trim/clean-up on that before the next time I wear it. I also sprayed the wig with silicone lubricant - I was having a lot of trouble with tangles in this whole process (dyeing, washing, steaming, cutting...) so the silicone should help* prevent more of a problem while I'm actually wearing it.
I decided to make gloves and sleeves for my arms instead of using makeup - it's a time investment (especially in this case), but tends to be worth it if you plant to wear a costume more than once since it saves time getting dressed, provides much more even colour, you don't have to worry about it rubbing off, and there's no clean-up. I used a "power mesh" in the closest colour I could find to my makeup and really like the results. I might do a brief power mesh tutorial at some point down the road if people would like more info.
Izabel wears cuffs on her wrists which is pretty convenient for me to cover up that the gloves and sleeves are separate pieces (makes washing hands easy!). While leather would probably have been the most accurate choice, hot pink leather and learning the skills to work with it were not in my budget for this costume, not to mention it would have been uncomfortable. So I used fleece, and added some black to give the parts some outline-type definition so the details would be less likely to disappear. I'm not 100% sold on the black base layer, so I might change that, but I definitely got all the details I wanted worked in.
The character's exposed guts are one of her defining features, and unfortunately just the way things worked out, they were the last thing to get done. Mere hours before the Snailoween party I was sewing lumpy tubes out of all the different pink fabrics I have in my stash and KW Iron Man was being the best boyfriend and stuffing them while I cut and sewed. Keeping things simple, I just safety-pinned the intestines to a belt. They ended up being a lot more voluminous than I had been picturing which gave me problems with the fit of the shirt, but the longer I wore it, the more I decided I like how they sit.
So that's the costume done, though I still want to improve the makeup (including the prosthetic nose). I got a few nice photos from the Snailoween party which I will be posting next week and I'm hoping to get some more nice shots at Fan Fare Geek Fest II which is coming up this Saturday!
*the spray doesn't make things tangle-free, just helps the situation and makes combing it out easier.