“Masquerade! Paper faces on parade . . .Masquerade! Hide your face, so the world will never find you!” – “Masquerade” from the Broadway musical “Phantom of the Opera”
It’s no secret to anyone that knows me (…heck…even with people who DON’T know me….) but I LOVE dressing up like Elvira, the Mistress of the Dark. Yup! Donning that big black beehive wig and that long black dress has expanded for me wayyyyyy past the confines of just candy corn and jack o’ lantern season! And you know why? Because honestly….it’s FUN! And it doesn’t just bring me happiness when I do it, but it seems to make other people happy as well….which in turn makes me even happier…and then they tell two friends….and so on…and so on…….and you get the idea. (Shampoo, anyone?)
I’ve always enjoyed playing dress up (it’s one of the reasons that I love Halloween so much) but dressing up as Elvira for Halloween 2014 seemed to initiate (or perhaps wake up) a spark of interest inside of me for the world of cosplay (or costume play, as those who appreciate speaking in full words and not just shortened text-like acronyms might say). For me, I love the overall process of choosing a character that interests me (like Elvira) and then proceeding to take on the challenge of transforming myself slowly, step by step, piece by piece, into my chosen person of interest. I do a ton of research and pay close attention to every detail, learning the right way to do the make up and hunting down each perfect piece or accessory that will help me to achieve that PERFECT look, all the while working to achieve that moment when someone looks at me and no longer sees me…. but only sees my creation.
(Whew! Deep moment there! And you thought cosplay was all fun and games. Well it is, but….oh how my mind wanders as I contradict myself….)
When I look at it that way, I guess it really is a form of art! Some people have oils and canvas, others pastels or watercolors. As for me…I have my face and the make up aisle in Rite Aid (and some coupons, too, if Im lucky. Hey…..no one said creative expression was gonna be cheap!) Elvira is the only character I have completed from start to finish so far, but I have a few others in mind to try, too. In the meantime, Halloween gave me the perfect opportunity to strengthening my dress up and make up skills in more traditional Halloween ways.
As with many hobbies, cosplay can become a passion where some people will spend months (or even years) and TONS of money on their costumes to make sure they have the highest quality possible while others (like myself) rely more on creativity and resourcefulness to achieve our lofty costume goals. But regardless of how you approach this hobby or for some, even a lifestyle, in the end the final product of what you manage to achieve comes from your heart and your imagination…and maybe a trip to Party City and an order or two from Ebay.
Perhaps some of us are truly blessed to have never lost the gift of allowing our inner child to come out and play or the courage to express what makes us happy to the whole world. Perhaps some of us just enjoy a bit of an occasional “masquerade”. Perhaps some of us enjoy a bit of time away from their problems and a small break from their normal every day life and routine. Whatever you’re reason might be….as with anything….if it doesn’t hurt anyone else and it makes you happy….why not allow yourself to indulge just a bit! There is no harm in a little escape from reality every now and then….just as long as you remember your way back….
This year, for the first time ever, I went to New York Comic Con (otherwise known simply as NYCC…oh those handy dandy acronyms again!) Hey, if dressing up is your thing…then THIS is the place to do it. Not everyone can appreciate the fun and escape that dressing up as your favorite character (comic book or otherwise) can give to you, so these annual comic conventions that take place all over the United Stated throughout the year offer a unique opportunity for like-minded people to mix, mingle, take some cool pictures and pick up some cool stuff. It was one of the BEST experiences that I have ever had! I made a video of my time there so everyone could experience first hand the fun I had….and perhaps encourage them to try it out for themselves sometime, in costume or otherwise.
So…until next time, my friends…
Ta ta and toodles,
~Tracie Dee ~