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

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!




Favorite Sci-Fi author – Sheri S Tepper

I discovered Sheri S. Tepper as an author when I was in middle school.  My mom had taken me to the Downtown Portland Public Library and in the Young Adult section I found the book Jinian Star-Eye sitting on the display racks.  The cover intrigued me, and the Title and short synopsis cinched it and I took the book home.  I tore through it like crazy and completely fell in love with the character of Jinian as well as the world in which she lived.  I ended up checking out the book several more times during the years in Middle and High School.  Honestly I can’t even remember how many times I read the book before I discovered that it was really book 9 of a 9 book series.

So begin my love affair with all of Sheri S. Tepper’s Sci-Fi/Fantasy books.  I have virtually all of them, though some of her first works are harder to come by these days.  Due to my school schedule over the last couple years, as well as the rest of life, I have fallen behind on reading her latest works though I am starting to get caught up.  Right now I am reading The Fresco, which is proving to be yet another excellent book.  While I love her style of writing and how she tracks the story from several different angles by jumping between characters from chapter to chapter eventually bringing them together as the story unfolds, I also love her underlying themes.  Her themes resonate strongly with me especially those about how we treat each other, what it means to be a creature that is truly part of our world, and even what it means to be human as well as how we treat the planet we call home.  I find that her works really cause me to rethink how we as humans are managing, or not, ourselves and what could be done to fix many of the social ills we suffer from.

If you are looking for a new author to try out in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre then I highly recommend Sheri S. Tepper, My favorites are Beauty and Gate to Women’s Country, though The Fresco and The Family Tree might be an easier jump in for some people as they take place on Earth.  I know I am one of her biggest fans, I named my daughter Jinian after the book that started it all for me.

Interstellar travel to become reality

Image courtesy gilderm

I am rather excited to find that some serious attention is now being given to the need for interstellar travel capabilities. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA for short, has teamed up with a branch of NASA to set the ball in motion. It is call the 100-year Starship Study. There will be a symposium on the subject in late September in Orlando, Florida and about 150 people will participate. They will be chosen based on panel proposals and speaking abstracts that are submitted through their site.

It is great to see that they are finally working towards this and so seriously too. If you check out the release from DARPA on this you can see how serious they are. There will be discussion not only on what new technology will get us to the nearest star but also how we choose who goes, how do we deal with the ethics of it, how do we sell the idea to the general masses, cryogenics, and a lot more.

In the end they are looking to seed a company that is created with the purpose of making this happen in the next 100 years. Personally I am hoping for some of the technology created along the way to improve my life. Mostly I really want a faster way to get from my home to Orlando, Florida for my favorite vacations as the plane ride is the only downside to my Walt Disney World trips. Maybe we will be able to say “Beam me up” by the time they head to the stars.

Orycon 32

We are busy starting preparations in our house for this years Orycon event in November, this year it is November 12-14 at the Lloyd Center Doubletree.  Orycon is a Science Fiction convention held each year in Portland, the theme for this year is The Dark Side of Fantasy

P.N. Elrod
Author Guest of Honor
Sharyn November
Editor Guest of Honor
Chad Savage
Artist Guest of Honor

The convention is something I have been attending for the last several years.  During the day there are workshops, seminars and discussions to attend on a wide range of subject from costuming (my favorite) to writing and even true science itself.  After dinner time many people get dressed up in a variety of costumes from the basic to the elaborate.

One of the big costume genre’s that has taken off in the last few years is Steampunk.  My husband and I are planning to join in this year, assuming I can get our costumes completed in time.  He is going as a mad scientist and me as a clockwork doll, should be quite interesting.

Last year we brought the kids along for ½ of the convention, the headed off to a sleepovers at grandpa and grandma’s house for the other half.  It was a the perfect compromise in allowing the kids exposure to conventions but still left us the second half of the time to act like we weren’t responsible parents.; especially at the evening room parties.  Though the Greater Portland Costumer’s Guild, held a milk and cookies party the night the kids were there and me and the kids spent our evening there or at the dance.

If it sounds at all interesting I would recommend it, currently the price for admission to con is $45 for the whole weekend, well worth the money, but the closer to con it gets the higher the price goes.  Hope to see you there!!