Yep, it's another Halloween post. I have to admit, even I am getting a bit tired of hearing myself talk about how much I love it. You all can rest easy, however, because this time around I will be talking about another aspect of this beloved holiday, because there's much more to All Hallows' Eve than just the scary stuff. When we were kids Halloween was about 2 things: What costume would we be wearing and how much candy could we get trick or treating?
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By the way, this is the correct method of collecting candy. None of that Jack-O-Lantern nonsense.
Personally, I've never had much of a problem getting a Halloween costume ready. Such are the perks of being a cosplayer, I've got a whole wardrobe of costumes to choose from! From Renaissance to Steampunk, Sci-Fi to Fantasy RPG, Video Game to Anime. I'm more than prepared. It's a fact that anyone who is cosplays as a hobby gets giddy around Halloween time because there's no way for us to get stuck with a last minute option and we get to show off what we've created and crafted to the public and no one thinks we're weird. It's also a fact that when a cosplayer shows up to a 'normal' Halloween party, they blow everyone else out of the water.
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….Did I overdo it?
Now, there's another smaller reason for why I stick to my own collection of outfits when Halloween rolls around instead of heading to the local costume shop (Though they see me enough in the off season when I buy out all of their wigs and makeup). All of the popular or interesting costumes for women are sexualized. Have Phoebe mention a much smaller reason as to why she sticks with her own collection of costumes rather than the kind you can get in stores. All the more interesting or popular costumes for women are sexualized. Before I go on, let me say that I am not a prude in any way, shape or form and I firmly believe that everyone has the right to wear what they want, within reason.
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Took costume advise from Bjork, did ya?
Personally, I've never been too comfortable wearing very revealing outfits. I'm not too 'body confident' (Thanks a lot society!), everyone stares regardless of whether you do or don't have 'assets', and sexy costumes are always uncomfortable for one reason or another. So why can't there be both sexy and normal options for women? Why does being female mean I have to wear something that makes me freeze my butt off? Yes, we could just wear men's costumes, but that doesn't always work. Just ask my bff Margaret and her giant chest that refuses to be tethered down.

The truth is, us girls feel a great amount of pressure whenever we put on a costume no matter the occasion. The pressure to 'look good' in it, not be 'too slutty', or show parts of us we don't want others to notice is always on our minds at one point or another.

You may be wondering why I bother to have a hobby that revolves around costumes when this problem keeps showing up. It's because the cosplay community have taken great lengths to make sure everyone with a passion for their fandom has a safe and fun environment to play around in. A set of 'rules', so to speak, were put in place to ensure that this happens at every geek convention and get together and I believe the rest of the world needs to know about and practice them.  

Hear are the rules y'all need to follow this Halloween Season:
First, be whatever you want to be! In the world of cosplay, anything goes. Make your favorite character  from a different time like Victorian or Steampunk. Make them from male to female or vice versa. Take that obscure reference you love and make it into an ensemble. You're the one wearing the costume, wear what it is that YOU want!

Second, put a little bit of your own flair into the costume. Not everyone has the crafting skills required to make an entire outfit but they can put in a little detail or two to give it a more personalized feel. You'll be sure to strut your stuff when you're wearing something that you worked on yourself and make it truly your own.

Third, here's a phrase you should all learn. 'Cosplay is not Consent', but here we'll change it to 'Costume is not Consent'. If a girl decides that she does want to wear a sexy outfit, it doesn't mean she wants to be talked to or touched in an inappropriate manner. It's also true for a when a guy decides to do the same! Be respectful and courteous! Ask for permission to take a picture of someone in costume, don't be creeping on them with a camera in front of your face! Yes, in more close knit parties this may not apply, but it's still polite to ask them anyways.

Fourth and final, no shaming! This goes for literally every costume you come across. That bigger woman wearing the Ariel costume is having the time of her life dressed up as her favorite Disney princess! Don't make uncalled for comments about how she should've gone as Ursula (I've heard that one far too many times and it makes me sick). Don't berate that person who's wearing what is obviously a last minute costume. They may have had a different costume ready that got ruined and they had to improvise.

If everyone adhered to these rules at every Halloween party or gathering they went, they'd have the time of their lives like we geeks do when we go to our conventions and cosplay to our hearts content. Make Halloween fun and safe for everybody!

What are you going to go as this year? Tell me in the comments below!
 
 
Ever since I was 6 years old, I've wanted to go to Disneyland. I know. How original of me, right? But could you blame my kid-self? The idea of going to a closed off place that has somehow resisted the dull and anxiety-ridden pains of the real world would be tempting for anyone, let alone a grade-schooler. While I never got my trip to Anaheim I did get a decent enough substitute, not to mention an much more reasonably priced one. The local Renaissance Festival.
MN RenFest
About 1/1000 the price of a trip to Disneyland.
A few years after my dream trip was decided, I was taken to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and was successfully sated. I've been going at least once every year ever since and suspect I'll always find a way to visit. So you can imagine how dumbfounded I was to find out that our resident n00b, Lisa, had never set foot in a Ren Fair her whole life! Well this needed to be remedied, so I took her this past weekend and, let me say, I've never felt more like a parent my whole life.

            Her eyes were practically popping out of her head and her mouth hung open in silent awe. After only an hour of sightseeing she told me that she wished she had come sooner. When I asked her why she hadn't before I got a sheepish reply that had something to do with the cost, obnoxious renaissance actors, and the theme not being enough to hold someone's interest. This wasn't an opinion she came up with herself, this was after hearing about it from other people and it's an opinion I've heard of before. So many friends that I've recommended the Ren Fest to have voiced these same concerns and apprehensions. Well guess what, I'm going to explain why you should tell the naysayers to shove it!
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Live battles!
The Environment. The moment you approach the gates of any Renaissance Festival/Fair you know what you're getting into. One minute you're in modern society and in the next you're walking through a marketplace bustling with men and women dressed in tunics and bodices who greet you with a “Milord!” or “Milady!” On either side of you there are shops and stalls selling wares you certainly won't be able to find at your neighborhood strip mall, all while performers entertain the masses that surround them in the street. Every building you pass is distinctly Medieval/Renaissance in it's structure and design (aside from Port-a-Potties, of course). You are instantly transported to a new world and they  do it very well.
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Renfest performer.
The Entertainment. I'm thoroughly convinced anyone can find something fun to see or do at Ren Fest. Whether you feel like laughing at a comedy show, marveling at an impressive feat, or watching dances from far away lands. It's all here. There are various shows performed on stage everyday, but out on the streets you can't swing a peasant without hitting one of the many roaming performers. You also get entertainment you'd NEVER find outside of a Ren Fest. Live jousting? They've got it. Kilt or Beard competitions? It's here. Fencing duels? Of course! Riding freakin' elephants? Yep (At least in MN). You'll want to see and do everything you possibly can and will probably find that there's no way to fit it all in a day.
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Renfest cosplayers.
The Costumes. I mentioned earlier that those working or acting at the Fest wear a costume fit for the times, but they don't have to be the only ones. While it's certainly not required, guests to the Fest/Fair are free to wear their own costumes on the grounds! Being the nerdy cosplayer that I am, I've brought my share of outfits in order to really feel like part of the magic. Even better is that you don't have to wear a period costume! They have themed weekends that encompass pirates, steampunk, magic, or even fairies! I've also seen people dressed in anime, video game characters (Assassin's Creed is literally everywhere), and Tolkien-verse costumes. Yes, they may not be strictly keeping to the theme, but it's all in good fun. For me, it's amusing to think about how such characters would act in medieval/renaissance times. The interactions these cosplayers have with the actors and environment is nothing short of entertaining!

The Stuff/Food &Drinks. Seriously, guys. So much stuff! Not just renaissance related either! I could list off all of the things sold at my local fest, but then we'd be here for hours. Let's just say that there are about 250 artisans who come by to sell their wares. Yeah. The food is quite varied; you can get the classic turkey leg or you can get yourself some italian pasta or greek gyros! And, of course, there's plenty of booze to go around. As I'm not much of a beer or ale person, the option of having mead or hard cider is greatly appreciated. Might I recommend some Egyptian Mead or 'Gumption' Hard Cider? Delicious!
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Renfest food.
It's hard to put my finger on exactly what makes my local Renaissance Festival work. Everything I mentioned above certainly adds to the charm, but I'd have to say that the actors, artisans, and everyone who works there has a lot to do with it. Everyone I've encountered at Fest made me feel welcomed and like a part of this little world they created. They have a love and passion for what they do and are dedicated to getting some of that love and passion rubbed off on the rest of us (along with that fairy glitter). Well, I suppose that if my job was going from festival to festival and living in such a magical state of mind, I'd be pretty passionate too.

Have you gone to a Renaissance Festival/Fair? What do you like most about your local one? Comment below to let me know! Maybe I'll visit yours one day.