The Difference Between Halloween and Cosplay

sf85083-back-chin-lo-costumeCosplay is a contraction of “costume play” and simply means playing in costume or character. Participants are referred to as “cosplayers” and the costume can be a simple homage to their favorite character or performance art where the cosplayer attempts to acts out or become the character as closely as possible.

Cosplayers draw inspiration from their favorite manga, anime, comic books, video games, and films. Any entity from the real or virtual world that can be dramatically interpreted may become a subject for cosplay. It is not unusual to see genders switched – for women playing male roles and men crossdressing as women. The SyFy channel has recently been featuring the art of cosplay in their series The Heroes of Cosplay which gives you a great look into the world of cosplaying.

Cosplaying started at events such as science fiction, fantasy and anime conventions where they would compete in costume contests to win fame or prizes often performing skits in their very elaborate costumes to further identify with their characters. It has continued to grow and become more mainstream over the years particularly in Asia where cosplay influences Japanese street fashion.

While cosplayers may also get into character during Halloween or Mardi Gras, cosplay is generally considered different from these fancy dress holidays as the intention is to replicate a specific character rather than just look like them or reflect the culture or popular costume trends of the time. The characters are often chosen from TV series and movies (Star Trek, Star Wars, Disney characters costumes and The Lord of the Rings being very popular choices), books, comic books (The X-Men and Avengers for instance), video games such as Assassin’s Creed Costumes or World of Warcraft, anime and manga costumes like Sailor Moon, or may be an original design or fusion of different genres (such as a steampunk version of Captain Kirk).

as85034-assasins-creed-mens-costume-sideOnce cosplay costumes had to be hand made with quality varying greatly depending on the skill of the cosplayer (or their friends and mothers). As a greater variety of commercially made Halloween costumes became available, cosplayers would often use these costumes as a starting point mixing and matching or modifying pieces to more accurately fit their character. Now costume manufacturers are creating more and more readily available cosplay costumes (with varying degrees of authenticity and quality) though cosplayers often modify these costumes and add details such as wigs or hair extensions, body paint, shoes, jewelry, temporary tattoos, colored or special effect contact lenses, and prop weapons to complete the look.

With a Halloween costume, the effort usually stops at the costume, but a cosplayer will often spend weeks or even months perfecting their characters speech pattern, mannerisms, and other characteristics that make that character unique. Their goal is to be instantly recognized by other fans as the characters they portray.

Getting started into cosplay is pretty easy – pick a character from something you love and start collecting pieces of costumes that fit that character or is perhaps something they would wear if they had it. Or choose a persona you want to portray such as a goth, punk rocker, steampunk pirate or whatever and get shopping!

How far you want to take cosplaying is totally up to you, but above all, have fun!

Article by Lori Anne Brown – All Rights Reserved. Originally Published at


Halloween is coming fast! What do you want to be?

Halloween is coming so fast! Just 24 days away as I write this and I cannot believe it!

I know a lot of people think of Halloween as the time to get spooky and terrify the neighbors, but I always thought of it as more of a “let’s pretend” time.

My Arabian Princess costume wasn't this pretty

My Arabian Princess costume wasn't this pretty

When I was a kid, my costumes tended to be more of the dress-up type…the Princess, the pirate… I remember one year trick or treating as an Arabian Princess complete with bells on my shoes to jingle around the block. I was a ballerina more than one year thanks to costumes from the dance recitals I participated in (badly, but I got to do them for 4 years!).  And I remember trying on my Dad’s jackets trying to put together a Wild, Wild West costume complete with toy guns (these days I’m sure the guns wouldn’t be allowed).

It was a lot of fun even though my parents didn’t let me go to too many houses – the rumors of razor blades in candy were very prevalent when I was a kid in the 60s, so I could only go in the neighborhood and to the homes of people we knew. But that was okay – I actually enjoyed dressing up more than the actual trick or treating. I think I even liked that part more than the candy…well, unless it was chocolate that is.

Even as a kid I didn’t like haunted houses – not that I can remember there being any of them in the small town in New Jersey I grew up in. I never liked to be scared – let me play and pretend instead!

Costumes you could buy were pretty bad – those pre-packaged plastic masks and capes or other things that tore the first few minutes you wore them. Definitely not all the choices we have today! I was never fond of those so tended to rummage thru my parents drawers and closets trying to figure out something unique.

What is you fondest memory of Halloween as a kid? I’d love to hear it!

Last Halloween’s Top Costumes – Womens

Halloween 2009 didn’t have a clear cut winner for the Womens costume category, but here are some of the more popular ones.

In 2008, Leg Avenue introduced the Love Bite Vampire Costume (left) – and it would have been the top seller for both 2008 & 2009…if they hadn’t run out of them early both years! In 2008, I only was able to get about 4 before they were totally gone. Last year I pre-ordered around 20 of them and sold them all weeks before Halloween and was unable to get any more.  They are in stock with Leg Avenue right now and I’ll be ordering several again this year – but if you want this costume, PLEASE order early! I hate to disappoint you when it sells out. I have the bat topped arm warmers in stock right now too!

A similar costume, Leg Avenue’s Burlesque Dancer (right) became a substitute for the Love Bite when it sold out…at least until it also sold out about 2 weeks before Halloween! Personally, I like the Burlesque Dancer better – I love the back of the skirt on it! I think it would look great over a long black skirt (even black tights or pants!) for anyone not wanting a very short costume! Add some fangs and the bat topped arm warmers and it could easily be a vampire costume!

Of our premium costumes, 2 InCharacter styles ruled last year’s Halloween: The Fortune Teller Gypsy (far left) and the Wicked Queen (left). With this year’s new 2B Character more economical costumes, they’ve introduced a Gypsy Adult Costume (right) too that I think will be popular.

One of the great things about a lot of these costumes is that they have multiple pieces so can be mixed and matched to create all new, uniquely yours costumes and to extend them past one Halloween.

I do expect vampire costumes of all types to be a popular choice what with the Twilight saga, Vampire Diaries and The Gates on TV. We’ll have to wait and see what ultimately wins the crown as top costume for Halloween 2010!

Last Halloween’s Top Costumes – Mens

Our top selling men’s costume for Halloween 2009 was (drumroll)….

Lederhosen! Specifically the very cool Lederhosen Deluxe set at left made by InCharacter Costume.

Yup, Lederhosen. I guess we have a lot of male customers with sexy knees! And for Halloween as well as Octoberfest Celebrations!

One of the cool things about InCharacter’s Deluxe costumes is that not only do they use premium fabrics and trim details, but they come complete – this set includes the ultra-suede pants with vinyl suspenders, pullover shirt with lace up collar and jacquard trim, matching hat with feather and the white knee socks – all you need is the shoes & the beer (the stein is not available). They also come in a zippered garment bag so you can safely store it from year to year.

InCharacter sold out last year about 3 weeks before Halloween, so if you want this one this year, be sure to order soon! They will be back in stock around the end of July. We try to keep a few extras of them in stock, but they tend to fly out the door as soon as they arrive!

InCharacter has also introduced a new version this year (at right) – part of their more economical and nice, but not quite deluxe 2B Character Line. The fabrics aren’t as heavy and it may not contain as many pieces as their Deluxe costumes. In this case, it comes with the same items – the pants with suspenders, pullover shirt with lace up collar (but no trim), hat and white knee socks. Instead of a garment bag, it comes in a simpler hanging vinyl snap closure bag for storage.

Leg Avenue also makes their version of Lederhosen (at left) also very popular. Again it’s not as deluxe, but includes the hat, shirt, suspenders, and long shorts.

Will Lederhosen be the top costume this year? We’ll have to wait and see.

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