Sunday, May 9, 2010

My work so far...

I don't have a background in any sort of design or crafting. The only semblence of an artistic background is my knack for drawing, drilled into me from an early age by my hugely talented brother. A wider approach to art was taken when I pursued it as a secondary school subject, but my interest unfortunately faded (thanks in no small part to a teacher who seemed to constantly have it in for me). This particular hobby came about as a result of making my first Halloween costume in 2006.

I think most people go through three phases of Halloween enthusiasm. There's the obvious first stage, when we don witch and devil masks and go trick or treating. But inevitably we grow out of that as angsty teenagers, and Halloween becomes a non-event for a few years. This is until we hit that magical age of legal drinking, and start going to pubs and clubs. My favourite memory of Stage 1 was my first attempt at a homemade costume. It was a portrayal of Todd McFarlane's 'Spawn' of which I was a huge fan at the time (somewhat inappropriately!). On the one hand I'm disappointed that no photographic evidence remains of this; but on the other, it is probably a pale shadow of the glorious costume I've built up in my memory banks. Stage 2 was largely forgetful; save for that one year when two friends and I made characture masks of F1 drivers and went trick or treating (putting our knees in our shoes outside each door, in a vague attempt to convince people we were young enough to pull it off).

Stage 3 brings me to the beginning of this blog's content. It was October 2006, and I had just come of drinking age. When I realised, the week before Halloween, that going to a party would actually involve making a costume, it didn't take long to decide that I was going as my all-time favourite movie character: Ash Williams, of Evil Dead fame.

In 2006 Halloween was a Tuesday, and I believe it was the Thursday previous I started making the costume. The first step was a quick shopping trip, attempting to find 1) the right coloured shirt, and 2) a toy shotgun. After finding both, it was time for my first build.

It was a fairly rushed attempt; I was fairly happy with the outcome though, and very happy with the fanfare I received at the party (Freakscene in Cork has become the tradition).

In 2007, I decided to start earlier and be a bit more ambitious. I had well and truly caught the bug.

I've no idea what my thought process was that led me to thinking about Halloween in August, or how I came up with the idea; but I knew what I wanted to be: Predator.

This was a longer and more arduous process but I was delighted with the outcome, particularly because it landed me the prize for Best Costume at Freakscene.

No sooner had Halloween 2007 passed when I started thinking about its successor. This was only natural, because spending that long on Predator inevitably got me thinking about whether or not it was possible to do Alien.

I initially convinced myself I was crazy for even contemplating it, but seeing the spectacular work of others when I went searching online really inspired me. This, combined with procrastinating from studying in May (in my final college exams no less) resulted in a prototype Alien foot. After 5 months of working (culminating in having to stitch myself into the costume on Halloween day itself) I had done it. This was a group costume, with my friend Mark going as an amazing Power Loader. Together we scooped the prize for Best Costume, successfully defending my trophy.

I was to relinquish that title to Mark in 2009 (well, in principle; he actually didn't hear himself being announced as winner for his Discworld's 'Luggage' costume and it defaulted to somebody else). This year I had not been able to dedicate the same amount of time to my build as I had done for Alien and Predator, due to my research masters running throughout the summer. It was a pretty rushed job which started in mid-September, (a combination of words scuffed at by most people!). Keeping it in the movie-theme, I went as the undisputed greatest villain in film history: T1000.

Despite not winning I was happy with how it turned out (given that I was still painting on Halloween day itself). The fanfare wasn't as extensive, but I got a decent enough reception all the same.

That brings me to 2010. I'll be posting up updates as they come; I'm determined to dedicate more time to this year's build than last year's. I've not fully decided on a costume, because of issues that I have yet to work out.

I'll be posting up detailed accounts of how I created Alien and Predator in particular (I'll try to give a description of Ash and T1000 too, but lack pictures). I can only hope they are as informative and helpful to somebody as other costume blogs have been to me.

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