Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Season of Masks

    UPDATE:  We've just been to the Kawasaki Halloween Parade for the first time.  We went of course in full family costumes hoping that we wouldn't scare people on the train and that we hadn't misunderstood the purpose of this parade and be the only spectators in costume.  The people on the train were unmoved by our appearance and we were surrounded on all sides by costumed folk, so we breathed a prayer of thanks and a sigh of relief and were fully able to enjoy ourselves.
    It was very lively with some really wonderful costumes, and over all it was hands down the most fun I've ever had at a parade.  I'm so glad we went.  My only regret is that I did not bring along an actual camera.  I just didn't want to lug that heavy thing around all day through tight crowds while wearing 6" heels.  So, we only have two or three photos, but in a pinch these snap shots from a phone camera will have to do to help us remember the day.


Last year's ensemble of the cast from Alien.  I had a behind the scenes role.
    October is here and I don't love Halloween.  It's the one holiday I could do without.  I grew up not celebrating Halloween at all.  It was roundly agreed upon in my family that as long as we could still pig out on candy this one night a year, then all the rest of it we could forego.
    Now I have my own family and I am in the minority in my distaste of this day.  Everyone in my creative little crew loves it, looks forward to it, and puts a lot of work into it.  My husband is quite the foam smith, usually starting work on the costume pieces and props in July, and the girls work on sketches and finding items to re-purpose.
    I came to realize that by not participating, I was missing out on some great family time.  While I usually take on a support role in the whole process, there are years when I can't resist the opportunity to explore the darker side of creativity and the challenge of visually expressing an idea. 
      My first costume idea was a Lizzie Borden and I felt that for this look only an genuine antique would do.  This dress is around 100 years old and I found this at an auction for about $80.  For antique dresses, one can conservatively expect to pay a dollar per year in age depending on condition and material.  So, at $80 for its age and being in pristine condition, I felt like this was a bargain.  I looked at the dress and felt it would most likely fit and it did...after I put on a corset.  Without the corset, I could never have buttoned the waist. 

    The second idea was for a steampunk schoolmarm.  I didn't feel like altering (and perhaps ruining) any antique articles of clothing, especially since there are so many great costumes out there.  So, instead of starting with the costume and then accessorizing, I started with the accessories and then chose my costume based on them.
    I already had this clockwork locket that I had made several years earlier and I knew it would feature in my costume.  Next, I decided I wanted a facial piece, something less complicated than a mask, but more interesting than just make-up.  Something that said "the science teacher had a mishap in the lab."  So, I went first to to begin the search and there I found a glass eye piece.  It arrived and I decided to do a test run to see how I like everything so far.

 Happy with those two items I pressed on and found the perfect heels at  a local thrift store.  Made by Charlotte Russe these heels had varying brown leather strips, wood heels and rivets.  It's like they were made for this costume!
    Last but certainly not least I purchased my jacket and skirt from Tambukiki on Ebay.  I saved those items for last because they seemed the most critical and I really wanted to be sure that I got something that was just perfect.

    The outcome may well be my magnum opus in costuming.  After making these two, I haven't attempted anything else.  I've been too busy bringing my families creations to life.  This year we'll be doing steampunk as a family so I get to bring this beauty out again.  But, who knows, maybe next year I'll come up with something even better.

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