Costumes as a Hobby

By: Mike

When the word costume is mentioned, related items come to mind such as plays and theaters but the one thing that everyone will think of is Halloween. Every Halloween throngs of families and their children hit the streets in all types of costumes whether to trick or treat or to party and celebrate. Such is the ways of Halloween and this is why Halloween and costumes go hand in hand.

Costumes to many people belong in Halloween or special holidays and this is reinforced with the usual selections of Halloween costumes, Christmas costumes and St. Patrick's day costumes etc. But to the few enthusiasts, costumes have become their hobby or even the core of their obsession. Just as costume retailers sell costumes in categories such as Renaissance costumes, Star Wars costumes and animal costumes, those costume hobbyists also "costume" along those same categories. However, to those that have ever come across convections or fairs where the costume hobbyists show off their costumes, one will begin to understand the hobby and its many fascinating details.

The main difference between those that dress up as Star Wars characters for Halloween and the Star Wars costume hobbyists are as wide as day and night. Where most of the retailed Halloween costumes are affordable, mass made and quite functional, the hobbyists' costumes are highly detailed, decked out in accessories, props, and almost all of them are custom made. If you think going to trick or treating with your friends all dressed up as Storm Troopers are fun and makes you feel like you are living in the Star Wars galaxy, you should see the Star Wars Storm Trooper Legions spread out across the country. Predominately in the larger states, there are "Legion Garrisons" composed of hundreds of Storm Troopers, practicing and marching day night ready to serve the empire at a moments notice. Where we live the life of Star Wars for one night on Halloween, those hobbyists live it everyday.

One might generalize those hobbyists as hardcore fans, or science nerds, but those are untrue and unfair stereotypes. A good example would be the or the old era costume hobbyists, or life actors as they are called. Where many dress up as a Renaissance era lady, a 20's era flapper or gangster for Halloween, those life actor dress up like that everyday. A fan of those era's style and fashion, they will go at length to make the most accurate clothing of that era and then wear them to every occasion they attend.

Recently a new type of costuming hobbyists joined the ranks of the old. This new type of costuming hobby is called Cosplay. Cosplay is all about cartoon characters, or to be more specific, Japanese cartoons, or called Anime. With the advent of Anime in North America, Cosplay has also spread across the country like wild fires, taking over convention centers, malls and schools alike. Like the older costuming crowd, the Cosplayers make their own costumes which are also very detailed and intricate. Unlike the older hobbyists, they are more open and upfront about their hobby which is why Cosplaying is so mainstream and better known.

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