We've got a special guest on our blog today: Awesome cosplayer Holly Conrad!
To cosplayers, Halloween is really just another day of our constantly costume-filled lives. We dress up often, but we welcome the masses of intoxicated and not-intoxicated costumed revelers that join us in this wondrous hobby for one night of the year. When it comes to costumes, we know how to party better than anyone else. And by party I mean get glue gun burns and never sleep because of too many conventions, but I digress: Here are a few tips for you this Halloween on how to fancy up your costumes, cosplay style!
A quick recap: Cosplay is the art of dressing up as a character you love, going to a convention, and having fun in the process. It involves a lot of searching, crafting, building, DIY, and good old willpower. Taking a bit of inspiration from cosplay and bringing it to Halloween is easy! From adding props to choosing to dress up as a character you love this season, there's a little room for cosplay in any costume.
One way to spruce up your costume this Halloween is props. Costumes don't always have to be incredibly complicated. A beard (or fake beard), a plaid shirt, and a roll of Brawny paper towels and you're suddenly the iconic tree-chopping Brawny paper towel man! Grab a blue dress and a TARDIS Light-Up headband and you're now a TARDIS! Props can make a costume awesome, and they're easy to find! ThinkGeek has a TON of awesome props. A Star Trek phaser and a red shirt and you're suddenly a crew member of the Enterprise! A Star Trek phaser, a red shirt, and some basic blood and zombie makeup and you're a dead crew member of the Enterprise! Not just good for Halloween, but also your local Bar-Trek (though I have a group of friends that partake in Spocktoberfest as well). You could also just carry around a jar of PEKAAAAAHHHHNS. I'm sorry.
Cosplays often are inspired to do different versions of certain characters as well. Like a superhero, but he's a guy and you're a gal? That's okay! Get creative and do a "crossplay" of the character, another word for the same character, just a different gender (or whatever you want them to be, really). Be creative and think outside the box, or literally make a costume out of a box. Boximus Prime and Egg from the Box Trolls being two great examples. If you're really in a pinch, use whatever is around your house. Make a Sharknado out of bubble wrap and tape, steal your incessantly-dapper roommate's clothes and go as the Men in Black (actually don't do that one...).
Thrift store shopping is also a great way to spruce up a costume. You can get great clothes to tear up and trash for zombies, apocalypse survivors, or those that-didn't-make-it-to-the-singularity costumes. Look for an old prom dress or wedding dress to tear up and zombify, you'll look party-ready and also super deadly scary. Top that off with a NERF machete, foam sword, or some other non-injuring weapon and you've got yourself not only a sweet costume, but an outfit ready in case your friends decide to finally start that Game of Thrones meets Road Warrior LARP.
Or when all else fails, you can always wear a Horse Head Mask!
Born from a family of artists and out-of-the-box thinkers, Holly Conrad cites her first cosplay experience at the age of four when she strapped a pillow to her back and called herself a koopa. Mentored by her grandfather, Dorse Lanpher, a pioneer in visual effects animation with Disney and Don Bluth Productions, Holly grew up in Redlands, CA as a gifted illustrator, artist, and self-taught costume designer.
After graduating with a degree in Medieval History (and Sorcery) from University of California, Santa Barbara, Holly switched career paths and began working in special effects shops for clients like Disney, Universal, Machinima, Warner Brothers and productions like Robot Chicken and Titan Maximum, the latter of which won an Emmy for costume design. In 2010, she co-founded a company with her best friend Jessica Merizan called Crabcat Industries. Crabcat focuses on promoting an inclusive teaching community to build costumes, props, and practical special effects as well as new-media entertainment with the brands "Try This At Home", "Commander Holly", and "Jessica Marzipan".
Holly is stationed in Los Angeles and lives with her husband Ross, an animator, and her precocious cats Doctor Orpheus and Mojo. She is currently on the SyFy show Heroes of Cosplay with her partner in crime, Jessica.
Check out more of her awesome work on her website!