A magical time is fast approaching. It’s Halloween time: a time when true-blue nerds have already constructed their costumes and wait in eager anticipation until the fabled night to finally show it off at parties and get their due praise for the year. While others who could care less put off costume selection until the day of and end up going as something a little less than imaginative. But I’d say no Halloween party is complete without some guy going in a black hoodie and claiming to be a ninja or simply switching clothes with his roommate and saying that they’re masquerading as each other. And while these less-than-original costumes can’t compare to the guy with the animatronic xenomorphic head who keeps shooting out his toothed tongue to snatch snacks out of people’s hands, it’s probably for the better. This is because a great costume doesn’t need to be a perfect representation or super elaborate to be amazing.
With a penchant for the ridiculous, I have often found myself in the nerd camp when it comes to costumes. I have planned and created costumes months in advance for every year I’ve been at college and this year is no exception. While my previous costumes have been a step above putting a holey bed sheet over my head and saying I’m Charlie Brown, I’ve never really considered my costumes to have gone into cosplay territory; that is, making a costume with the intention of trying to emulate a character. I have neither the skill nor the wish to exert the effort. It may be cool to show up in a handcrafted set of Master Chief armor with matching assault rifle, but I can barely patch a pair of pants.
And then there’s the physical demand of a complex costume. Suits designed with lots of plastic and rubber elements can get hot really quickly. I wore a motorcycle helmet as part of a costume one year, and that thing got hotter than heck after an hour. Luckily I could open the visor to breathe but I don’t envy the guy in the Godzilla suit who can’t open the monster’s mouth very far and who is probably sweating himself to death.
If your costume has props or weapons, partygoers will want to play with them and smack you around with them. If you’ve got a tail, it will be stepped upon (both accidentally and purposefully). And getting drinks could not be made more impossible with gloved hands trying to pour into a cup then aim into your masked mouth. No, Darth Vader hasn’t had too much to drink; he’s just trying to get a sip through his respirator while continually being hit with his own light saber.
In my experience, recognition is more important than complexity. It would be a shame to spend all summer constructing a Dalek costume only to show up at a party and have people calling you R2-D2’s weird cousin. Staying simple and clever is a good way to keep a costume within budget. Have a bathrobe and a towel? Go as Arthur Dent from “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Have a lot of blue paint and some cutoffs? Go as Tobias from “Arrested Development.” Recognition equals popularity. Popularity equals an amazing costume. Plus you don’t need an hour to get out of fifteen rubber pieces and spandex to go to the bathroom.
BY BENJAMIN LABERGE firstname.lastname@example.org