As Halloween rolls around again, I thought it’d be appropriate to finish off the tale of costumes and comic cons from last fall– namely, my brother’s and my first cosplay adventure, previously written about here.
Spanning from October to February, we basically re-detailed our Frodo and Legolas costumes from Halloween; an endeavor which included crafting two exquisite wooden knives for Legolas, crafting “hobbit” feet for Frodo, turning a thrift store corduroy jacket into Frodo’s red coat, and making a leather knife-sheath for Legolas.
We went into the experience with two free tickets and zero idea of what we were getting ourselves into. We walked around crowded Civic Center and tromped the downtown sidewalks in the personas of Elves and Hobbits for three days, ready for adventure. At the end of the last day, we climbed into the car, exchanged a single glance, and didn’t even have to say it: “We’re definitely coming back next year.”
So, here are just a few highlights of our first cosplay/ comic con experience.
1. Meeting many fellow Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit characters, including…
2. The Fencing workshop
We learned the basics of fencing, different kinds of equipment and then had a chance to try our hands at basic moves (stances, steps, saluting, and how to handle the fencing foil). We also got to watch an extended fencing demonstration.
3. The Costume Contest
Though this was my brother’s and my first time cosplaying, we decided that entering the costume contest would be a worthy endeavor. We entered into the amateur division– for cosplayers who have never before won awards in contests, or first time cosplayers– in the company of about 30 or so other cosplayers. We spent about two hours checking in and standing in line, to get about 1 minute on the stage in front of judges and audience. Neither of us won anything, but it was still a good experience and chance to become more comfortable in front of crowds.
4. Going public places in costume
Pensacon took place at the downtown civic center, and several events happened in other parts of the downtown area, so we did a good bit of walking back and forth. Sporting our costumes proudly, we traversed the local farmer’s market and the main street lined with shops, went out for barbecue, and then visited my workplace to show off our costumes to my coworkers. It was immensely fun to have a legitimate excuse for wearing a cape in public.
5. Making connections with fellow nerds
One of the greatest things about Pensacon was finding that, “Hey! We’re not the only ones!” Finding strangers with wonderful costumes was a great platform for meeting people with similar interests and great talents, and for having really interesting conversations. We discovered that there is a local costume guild, by meeting the Gandalf character pictured above. We found great resources for costume materials and quality costume weapons, leather items, and other Tolkien-ish props. We were able to admire well-made costumes and learn tips and tricks from experienced costumers and cosplayers, which will hopefully help us with our costumes for next year.
Finally, we really enjoyed the process of costume-making itself. We used costumes that we had created for Halloween, but did a lot of detailed work on them, to enhance their accuracy. For example, Frodo helped create the pair of Legolas’ knives completely from scratch. We found most of our materials for other costume components at thrift stores (an old coat which we altered to be Frodo’s coat, a $5 pair of grey boots, a 50 cent glass vase for the phial of Galadriel, 2 forest-green shirts/ jackets which became Legolas’ tunic, and an old courduroy sweater which became Frodo’s vest). The brooches were cut from old tin pans (indented and painted), and the cloaks were handmade from fabric we bought. One of the funnest parts of Legolas’ tunic was the mallorn-leaf-shaped overlay, which I actually crafted from an old Air Force flightsuit, and then embroidered with silver.
Here are just a few more of the interesting and fascinating cosplayers we met, including Katniss Everdeen, a Weeping Angel, Westley (The Princess Bride), Mary Popppins, Maleficent, Russell + Mr. Fredrickson (Up), and Xena the warrior princess.
I know that this post is long overdue, but, since we are planning to go back next spring, I thought that it was worth sharing. I plan to also post a couple tutorials from these featured costumes, as well as sneak-peaks of and posts on the progression of next year’s costumes.