Cheap and Easy Sci-Fi Convention Costumes

Costumes galore…

One of the aspects of the Science Fiction convention we go to each year, Orycon in Portland Oregon, is that people dress in all sorts of great costumes.  And while most of them are more inclined to be grouped with a genre, such as Steam Punk or Pirates, there are others that pick a specific character from a movie or television series and dress as them.  Depending on the movie this could be either super simple or terribly challenging to manage.

Here I will cover a couple ideas that have struck me this weekend that I think would be fairly easy to accomplish, even on a tight budget.  And for some of them the reference is back in time about 20 years and will make people have to stop and ask you who you are supposed to be.

The Jetsons

The JetsonsSo The Jetsons may be an animated cartoon, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use it for costume ideas.  Any of the family members, outside of Rosey the Robot, would be fairly easy to dress up.  You just need some clothing in the right styles which may be found at your local discount retail store or resale clothing store.  If it isn’t the right color don’t worry, just get it in the lightest version you can and use some RIT Dye to dye it the color you need.

George Jetson – White, long sleeved, high collared shirt with the collar up and added black cord for trim work; Blue pants that are tighter fitting, and a dark green, wide belt should do the trick.  Then just a matter of getting your hair the right color and a standard guys style.

Jane Jetson – A bit harder to manage, but a tighter fitting, flared skirt dress dyed purple and add a collar of starched white triangle.  Then a pair of purple tights and a center part medium hair do in light red and you are good to go.

Judy Jetson – A red sleeveless, short crop shirt with the added red, starched triangle collar and a pair of snugish red pants and you are good to go.  The hardest part of this one is the white, high ponytail hair – afraid I am not sure how to manage that one, but if anyone has any good ideas please share

Elroy Jetson – White t-shirt, and some green overalls complete with green shoe covers and you are almost there.  Add in a red, starched full-circle collar and the baseball hat adorned with the antennae and you are good to go.  Standard boy cut hair in yellow is the last touch.

Inspector Gadget

Inspector Gadget
From www.mycomicsandstuff.com

Here is another cartoon from my childhood that crosses over to the sci-fi realm, guess it isn’t too much of a wonder how I got into this stuff huh?  Since the setting of Inspector Gadget was modern day, at least for the 1908’s when it was created, the costumes are pretty easy to manage.

Inspector Gadget – A gray double breasted shorter length trench coat, if you can’t find double breasted then get single and replace all the buttons with a matched set to make it look double breasted.  You will also need a gray belt, and may need to add belt loops for it if the coat didn’t come with some.  A blue pair of pants, and some gray shoes.  Oh and don’t forget the dray hat, brown gloves and black fly-away hair.  Since you obviously can’t do all the gadgets you could pair it down to jazzing up the gloves with the Gadget Phone look and that should do the trick.

Penny – A basic T-shirt in red and you can add the white stripe or get a shit shirt and figure out dyeing it red in top/bottom stripes.  Then green pants and some red shoes, which may require dyeing white shoes or making shoe covers.  Then some basic blond pigtails and you are good to go.  If you could locate something that could be her watch or her computer book that would help the costume along to make it obvious you are in costume, especially if you had the computer book worked out.

That’s a wrap…

So ends another costume idea blog post.  I hope you enjoyed this way-back, flash-back to my youth as much as I did and if you get a chance to work out any of these costumes for your next dress-up event send me a picture and let me see how it turned out!

 

 

 

99 Cent Costume Workshop – From Orycon

99 Cent Costume Workshop

Every year that I have been to Orycon (which is the last several) the Portland Costumer’s Guild has put on the 99 Cent Costume Workshop.  I am sharing this great idea so that other groups might stumble upon this post and decide to do the same thing at their convention as well.

So what is it?

Well the guild brings in multiple boxes of scrap material and other various bit and pieces of electronics and other stuff.  All of it are things that no one really wants anymore.  Some of the fabric is sizable, like a half to full yard, but most are smaller pieces like remnants from a pattern cutting.  All of these items are dumped into a mound on the floor in the front of the panel room while the attendees gather in the chairs for instructions.

Once the appropriate time has come and everyone that needs to be there from the Guild is there the “workshop” begins.  Each year there is a different theme and we are instructed to not only make costumes from the items in the heap, but also generate a short back-story for our character.  While there are not many kids that go to this workshop it is a shame as my kids have really enjoyed going to this every year.

We are given about 45 minutes to generate our costumes and stories.  In addition to the various scraps of fabric, ribbon, electrical cords and the like we are provided with glue guns, duct tape, and scissors to assist our endeavors.  There is a good amount of teamwork that happens as people see where others are going with their costumes and either offer to help them or find items in the heap that would add to their décor.

Is it a contest?

In a manner of speaking it is, but the prizes are generally low key.  The first couple years I did it the Costumer’s Guild gave out prizes that they made during the event pulling from the same material that we used to make our costumes.  Of course to do this requires you to have enough base material to draw from.  One year they decorated CDs, another year it was hats, and one year it was these odd disk shaped things (see the picture from 2009 below and look at what my kids are holding).

There are also usually other prizes that are given out for things like “Best Costume”, “Best Back-story”, “Best Robot”, “Best Animal”, and “Best of anything you can think of”.  Usually there are enough small prizes like kid’s books, candy bars, or light switch plates that everyone gets something.

And then when all is said and done there is the packing up of the event and the endless encouragement from the Guild to take home anything you want from the heap.  This is because if they wanted this stuff it wouldn’t be in the heap in the first place.

Themes and Pictures from Years Past

2010 – Alice in Wonderland

This time we were to make characters that would be auditioning to be in Alice and Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

This is my daughter in her completed Multi-Color Cheshire Cat Costume

My son made himself into a robot which would protect Alice from the Red Queen.  He did pretty much all of this himself, I only assisted with a small portion of the hot gluing until he figured out how to manage that himself.

My entry was of Little Blue Riding Hood who was rather upset about having being beat out by Little Red Riding Hood for the other gig and decided to try out here instead.  Sadly as I was wielding the camera I didn’t score a picture of me.

2009: Alien Dreams

We were all aliens whose alarm clocks had sadly woken us each up from a great dream, and as we rushed to get ready for our day we had just enough time to piece together the great inspiration of our dream that we had been having prior to waking up.

Here are the three kids that attended the workshop in 2009. Left is Z, who dressed as a kind of robot complete with his weaponry.  Right is my son, who was a statue that was protecting someone (this picture does not show the great lampshade head armor he had engineered).  And Center is my daughter who was a teenage princess complete with her cell phone crown.  [Note: I just finally got the piece of material she is wearing as her dress removed from her dress up bin this last weekend]

Sadly, again, there is no picture of me and my great costume from this year that I have a copy of.  I was so busy helping these 3 with their costumes I didn’t have time to work on my own.  So in the last 5 minutes Guild members and the kids were throwing together a costume for me.  It included a dress type look, complete with two Earth idols, one of each from the great icons of the planet as understood from space, Indiana Jones and Sponge Bob.  I believe I still have both of them around somewhere.

Beyond Orycon

I think that this is not only a great idea for a Science Fiction Convention like Orycon, and I sincerely hope it will be back again this year as me and my kids look forward to it all year, it can also carry over to a birthday party or other gathering.  I can see this working well for a pre-teen or teenager Birthday party.  I can even see it working at something like a bachelorette party where you make wedding gowns.  The possibilities are virtually endless.  So have you been to an event like this one?

 

Bioshock2 Little Sister Costume

Little Sister Costume

So despite the business that comes with the end of the school year, especially when you have two scouts and a mom who is graduating college, I have managed to find time to discover the ultimate in cute costumes for my daughter. A bit of back story if you will, my daughter is of the girly-girl type. Thankfully she is not over the top, but compared to me she is quite girly. Though she is not beyond a bit of dirt, she is girly but not too princess. Think Fairy-Pirate-Princess, a nickname she got from her step-father.

Anyways back on topic, so I found that I can order the dress from Bioshock 2 for her. Granted I could make it, but due to the time constraints put on my by work and motherhood I am not sure I have the time. That and I would like a new costume for me this year too. So she wants the dress and in purple. My girl also wants us to make her feet and hands look bloody so she plays the part. I can just see her creeping people out, “X their eyes daddy, X their eyes”.

I am also considering getting her the Big Daddy doll to go with it.
What could be better?

This will be a good Orycon!. Add to it that this year’s theme is The Lighter Side of Horror.

Instant Con Costume Eyeshadow

Instant Eye ShadowSo being perfectly honest, make-up was one of those things I never did really figure out. Sure I know the basic idea of what goes where, in what order, and how to apply it. But I never went through middle school looking like a peacock with all the other girls, and so never really got the hang of it. This doesn’t bother me in my day to day life, especially since I grew up with both a mother and grandmother who never wore any either. The only time it gets to me is at convention time. When I get in costume for Orycon I would love to do up the make-up, especially with my wench costume. So I think before next convention I am going to order some of the instant eye shadow kits that are out there.

The one here is from a company called ColorOn and they have a wide variety of choices from the mild modern to the pretty out there like this one. Though, even the more out there ones have a home, as I am sure there are some convention costume out there, perhaps for Kumoricon that scream the need for this set. But it seemed to me to exemplify what these kits can do for an outfit. After all, the devil is in the details. Now I just need to figure out which of the many purple based kits would go with my costume best.

Ring for your Geek Guy

Gear Ring
Check out this ring, it is sure to bring out the geek in your guy. I am thinking about getting this for my husband as an accessory for his Steam Punk costume for Orycon. The price is a little steep but totally understandable considering how cool it is. Not only does it look neat, but if you go to the site you can see how the gears moves as the outside rings spin. I got the link courtesy one of the guys in our gaming group who, thankfully, felt the need to share.
The ring is made by Kinekt. They carry a couple other products as well, but it is this ring that seems to be their feature item.

Bringing your kids to Orycon

Pirates at Orycon 31
Pirates at Orycon 31

Kids and Con

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges I have in being a gamer parent is how to incorporate my kids into my gamer life. Specifically without boring them and without them driving me crazy. Orycon is exactly one of those challenges.

I didn’t discover Orycon until my husband and I got together. By then I already had two kids and was fully into mom mode. The first couple of years that we went we did not bring the kids. I was still getting my feet wet and they were pretty young, we weren’t sure if they could handle it, or us handle it either for that matter. Last year we finally took the leap and brought them with us, well for 1/2 of con that is. They came with us on Friday (was a no school day which helped) and stayed over night. We arranged for my mom to pick them up just before dinner on Saturday which worked out great. Splitting the time like that let us enjoy a night of costumed fun with the kids, but also left us with Saturday night to enjoy the costume time and room parties without the little ones in tow.

Orycon Child Policies and Care

Orycon has some good, and clear, policies about kids at the convention which can be found on their website. They also have child care that is offered and they make a good effort to keep it secure which I think is great. Now while looking up the links to paste here for you, I discovered that they have made a change this year to the policy on unattended minors. This year kids 6 and up may be unattended if they have the ability to behave themselves, otherwise I believe they are escorted to child care at your cost (at least the child care part was there last year). Also the kids have special badges that include a spot for parent name and phone number on the back of them, just in case. If you want to take that a step further you could take a lesson from the Oregon Country Fair and use a sharpie to write your name and phone number on your child’s arm. Presumably, short of a cannibalistic kobold attack at the con, they shouldn’t be able to misplace their own arm.

Kids and what to do

I will say that there are only a limited number of sessions that young children, elementary school and younger would find interesting. At least that was the case last year, I am hoping for more this coming year. I suspect next year I will run at least one so I know there is something for my kids to get into. As an exception to this general statement, last year the Greater Portland Costumer’s Guild put on two events that my kids really enjoyed and are hoping to attend again this year. Those were the 99 cent costume workshop, an event where under limited time and supplies you are to construct a costume that fits the rather loose theme provided, awards for everyone at the end. Also they enjoyed the Friday night milk and cookies room party, this year I am going to bring some cookies to it. I sincerely hope both events happen again, and earlier enough that my kids will still be there.

99 Cent Costume Workshop
99 Cent Costume Workshop

Don’t forget the costumes

The kids also enjoy dressing up in costume and seeing all the costumes that people put on for the event. If you decide to bring your child I highly recommend bringing 1-2 costumes for them as well. In fact just let them stay in costume the whole time, how often do they go someplace where that is alright? Since Orycon is only two months away I will be adding another post afterward about how it went this year with the kids.

Ack!! Here comes the rain

Well it has happened, rain again in the fall just in time for the little ones to head to school today. And with the rain comes the realization that once again I am behind the 8-ball in getting these costumes done. I am half done with the hubby’s gentleman’s shirt, which leaves his vest and jacket left to go. Of course he will need to Steampunk them some after that, well even just buttons are something I am waiting for him to decide upon.

Then it is on to the Fairy Costume for my daughter which will be much simpler (I hope) then what I am working on now. She is going with the Tinkerbell costume from Simplicity, but is doing the water fairy (or so she tells me) but in purple. My son is not sure if he wants to be a stunt man, or his Lego Universe character (we are Beta testing).

And lastly there is mine, always put mine last so I don’t have to feel bad if mine doesn’t get done in time, at least everyone else will be doing good.

If anyone has some good, and reasonably priced places to buy gears, keys, watch parts, and other random accessories of a Steampunk nature that would be great!!

Gamer Shirts

gamer shirt
Another girl gamer shirt I own

What Sci-fi Convention trip is complete without appropriate t-shirt, hoodies and other clothing to wear during the day before costume time his in the evening? Even more so for gaming cons like Gamestorm. My personal shopping favorite for my con day wear comes from Cafepress, sure the prices can be steep, but the slogans can be priceless.

Take this story for example. My husband, who loves to play a thief, was playing in a cleverly run game by one of my favorite DM’s in which he was playing a paladin. And not just any paladin, a teenage, male paladin. The group started out as orphans and ended up saving the world and being a key force in the war. Now as if a standard paladin isn’t bad enough to deal with, try one that is 16, trusted by the army, and is wielding an artifact sword of his deity. So while this was going on (and back when we were still dating), I found the perfect shirt at Cafepress on the front it had hearts and a unicorn and said “Crazed Paladin Groupie” and on the back it said “So worth the atonement spell…”. So I bought the shirt and dressed in it and plenty of glitter (even glittered my kids too) and we made a special, surprise trip to his game and brought his favorite peanut butter cookies. He was quite surprised and rather enjoyed the “groupie” attention he got that day.

Nothing I can wear to my day job, but it has caught many peoples attentions at conventions, which is the point. The number of shirts, hats, hoodies, bumper stickers, coffee mugs, mouse pads, and even underwear you can get at Cafepress is nothing short of shocking and they cover a vast array of topics. I have also found great shirts there for the gamer guys in my life. Happy hunting and I would love to hear what great gamer clothes you have found out there on the web.

Gentleman’s Shirt – It all starts with shopping

The start of my first Steampunk costume begun yesterday. After long debate and much discussion the husband settled on patterns a couple months ago. We went to Fabric Depot , my favorite sewing central store in the Portland Metro Area, and a couple hours later we came out with yards, and yards of fabric, trims, and notions. We had picked up the patterns during a fortuitous stop at our neighborhood Joann Fabrics, turns out Simplicity patterns were a dollar each that day and we had no idea when we decided to stop by while out shopping for other things. Armed with the patterns I worked up a list of what we would need using Excel so I could have it do the adding for me. The lists proved quite useful at the fabric store.

So back to the Gentlemen’s shirt. This is a basic white shirt, well almost basic, the material has decoration in a white on white paisley pattern. The pattern is Simplicity 2895 and should be quite nice if I can pull it off. We are using the shirt and vest from this pattern and a long coat from another pattern (posts to follow when I get started on it). In the end this will be a costume for a Steampunk mad scientist. Should be quite nice. If I am lucky I will get all my costuming done before Halloween, as that is always the goal, though I am off to a slow start. Hopefully I will make good progress on the shirt the rest of this week and can start on the coat next week.

Rochambeau in the dark with this d3

Cruising the web tonight for another great new die to add to my DM collection I hit upon a site I have never been to before, Game Master Dice. This site carries a wide array of dice, from your standard sets to metal and even semi-precious dice. And if that isn’t enough they also carry an array of fuzzy dice, inflatable dice, and glow in the dark dice. I can’t help but think of my LARPing friends at Gamestorm and Orycon when I saw this d3 that glows in the dark. No longer will low light situations prevent you from playing your LARP and the rock-paper-scissor replacement for dice rolls. Heck this might almost be enough to draw me into a game.