Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Politics and Costumes for 2008

As we head closer to the elections this year, more and more people will be getting together to listen to the candidates’ views or watch debates. Some may even attend election night parties. This is a perfect time to dress up and support your candidate OR poke fun at the opposing party. You have a myriad of choices when it comes to masks or patriotic accessories to dress up for your election event.

From paper to molded vinyl, there is a mask for just about every popular candidate past or present. All of the current candidates are mainly represented with paper masks except for some of the frontrunners that were well known early on in the election process. If you can’t decide on a candidate to represent, just opt for some patriotic accessories to support the country. Hats and apparel bearing red, white and blue are all available to support the USA.

Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, you can find the perfect costume to make your election event memorable!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Group Dress-Up for Halloween & Parties

Here is the scenario….you have been invited to a costume party and plan to attend with a group of friends. Everyone in your group scrambles to come up with a costume idea. It may seem like a daunting task, but why not plan a theme for your group to dress up together? Once you pick a theme, it really becomes easier for everyone involved to just pick a costume to coordinate with the theme. Are you having trouble coming up with some theme ideas? Listed below are several ideas with the number of people it would take to pull off the theme:

The Wizard of Oz characters…at a minimum, 4 people can dress the parts of the main characters. Additional people up to about 10 could cover the witches and some of the dreaded flying monkeys.

The Flintstones…this lovable family works best for 2 to 6 people. You can have a lot of fun with accessories for these costumes.

Super Heroes…remember the Justice League of America??? You can create your own Justice League with the hottest trend in costumes this season – Super Heroes. For the biggest impact, this idea would work best with 5 or more people but you could dress up with less people in one super hero theme.

Star Wars… Star Wars has been rejuvenated this year with the animated ‘Clone Wars’ movie so it is still a good choice when thinking of group costumes. You can do some research and decide what versions of the characters you want to use. You can use this idea for 2 to many people.

Bo Peep and her sheep…for 3 or more people, this idea is great for a female going to a party with several men.

Farmer Brown….everyone pick an animal that you would like to dress up as and go to the party as Farmer Brown and his barnyard animals. This is great for a large group and can be done with homemade costumes.

Gangsters…Gangsters and their girlfriends are always a good choice for couples. For a modern twist, the women can be more ‘gangster-ish’ than the typical flapper costumes that you might see.

These ideas should get the creative juices flowing. Pick your theme and then start dressing up! Arriving to an event dressed up as a group is sure to create a buzz so you will be the talk of the party.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Popular TV Costumes for 2008

Superheroes will definitely be the most popular among movie character costumes this year. Superheroes work as costumes for infants and adults alike but popular TV characters seem to be primarily focused on an age group. The most popular TV characters this year are focused on children and tweens. The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon dominate with popular TV shows and TV movies but there is still room for other popular characters. Which characters will be the favorites this year at Halloween? Check out some of the top picks below:

Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus
High School Musical Stars
Camp Rock Stars
SpongeBob Squarepants (popular with adults too!)
Dora the Explorer
Naruto
Power Rangers
Dog the Bounty Hunter and Beth

Thursday, August 21, 2008

2008: The Year of the Superhero

Hollywood has decided that the superhero is IT this year. The box office hits keep coming and they seem to all have one thing in common: Superheroes. Every superhero has a ‘super’ villain to make his or her work worthwhile. Superheroes will dominate the costume scene this year as the most popular choice of movie character costumes but one villain may prove to be the absolute most popular choice in costumes. Which superheroes will be the most popular this Halloween? Here are my top picks for the most popular movie characters as we head into Halloween and beyond:

The Joker from the movie Batman: The Dark Night
Batman: The Dark Night
Ironman
Incredible Hulk
Spiderman
Hellboy
Batman – the original
Superman
Spiderman – Black Suit
X-men - Wolverine
Fantastic 4 Torch

Friday, August 8, 2008

How to Build a Dress-Up Trunk Kids LOVE

Anyone with kids knows the captivation of dress-up play time. Children seem to get lost in their imagination as they play and pretend to be the character of their dreams. Many experts agree that the use of imagination is crucial in the development of children’s life skills. You can nurture your kid’s imagination by providing the backdrop for imaginative play time. Building a dress up trunk may seem like a daunting task but it is really quite easy and can be done on any budget.

The first step to building your dress-up trunk is to assess your child or children’s needs. Princesses may work well for 4 and 5 year old girls, but tween girls may be wanting to rock out like current popular rock and roll diva. Boys (and girls) may want superheroes and/or action heroes that they can dress-up in for fun filled adventures. Depending on your budget, it may be necessary to focus on one area that your child loves the most. Keep in mind that your trunk will need to evolve over time as your child grows. With 3 girls between the ages of 2 and 9, our trunk pretty much has a little bit of everything from princess to pop star!

Next step is to purchase or make the costumes and accessories for the trunk. When determining what to purchase or make, be sure to get several options because dress-up is usually most fun with siblings or friends. From my experience, three to five options works well. You can save money by making some of your own costumes. Seamstresses are not required for dress-up costumes. Many dress-up costumes are simply made with very little sewing needed. Stick on Velcro and double sided fabric tape can actually eliminate the need for sewing; all you need is scissors, fabric, and a little creativity. If you opt to purchase the dress-up costumes, there are many on-line and retail chains that sell what you will need. Don’t forget any accessories such as crowns, microphones, lasers, swords, etc that will make the dress-up experience more real.

The last step to your trunk is the ‘trunk’ part. Be sure to get some type of container to store all of the costumes and accessories. Plastic bins, three drawer plastic carts or even large bags will work just fine. A container makes cleaning up much easier and also keeps everything together so that it does not get lost. Decorating the ‘trunk’ can provide a fun and creative project for you and your child or children.

With these easy steps, you will have a dress-up trunk that will ‘WOW’ your kid(s) and their friends. The creative juices will flow and you will enjoy many adventures and shows for your effort.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

2008 Summer Olympics: A Perfect Time for a Costume Party

The 2008 Summer Olympic Games are quickly approaching. Set to kick off on August 8th, the 17 day event is the perfect time to plan a party with a special theme. The opening and closing ceremonies can provide the entertainment and splendor of the Games while also being the backdrop for a fabulous party. The official site of the 2008 Olympic Summer Games can provide plenty of ideas for party favors and decorations along with information on event schedules. Perhaps the hardest part will be deciding how to dress up for the big event.

Invite your guests to dress up for your party in their favorite sports themed costume. It may be tough to pick one favorite sport so a costume modeled after your favorite country might be a better option. If you or your guests still need more ideas, the Olympic Mascots could be the perfect choice. Five fun filled, child like characters called Fuwa embody the characteristics of the Olympic Flame and four of the host countries’ most popular animals – the fish, the panda, the Tibetan antelope, and the swallow. Each character has a main color taken from the 5 Olympic rings. Utilizing a traditional Chinese naming convention, each Fuwa has a rhyming two syllable name. Beibei is the fish, Jingjing is the panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic flame, Yingying is the Tibetan antelope and Nini is the swallow. When the Fuwa names are put together they say ‘Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni’ or ‘Welcome to Bejing’. One of these cute Olympic Game ambassadors could be a great option for a costume.

The final pieces of your party are the food and memorable favors. You can go with an easy favorite of pizza and drinks or you can put out a sporty spread of food. Chicken wings, chips and dip, nachos, and some healthy veggies or fruit are some options to keep your crew filled up. Another option would be a cookout with grilled items. To keep everyone busy before and after the Olympic events, you can set up mini ‘Olympic’ competitions around your home and send everyone home with their very own medal to remember the event. Have fun with this special event that doesn’t happen every day!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Costuming Hobby Rich with History & set in the Great Outdoors

One night last week I was clicking through channels and caught the tail end of a story about a local group that was going to participate in a civil war battle reenactment the following weekend. I was intrigued by the detailed costumes and accessories that were used by the people for the reenactment. I felt sure this was a small group of history buffs using costumes from local museums. To my surprise, after a little research, I learned that this hobby is enjoyed by thousands of people across the country.

Reenacting battles dates back to Roman times where the activity primarily served as entertainment. In the United States, war reenactment as a hobby first gained popularity in the mid to late 20th century. Popularity in the hobby has steadily grown to well over 500 units participating in some type of war reenactment. In the US, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars tend to be where hobbyists focus. Although cell phone towers may loom in the distance, camps are set up and battles are often reenacted in the same place where they originally took place. At camp during reenactments, there are sutlers (or suppliers), cooks, and just about every other role you can imagine; so this is a hobby definitely geared to both individuals and families.

There are a quite a few organizations that can help you get started in war reenactment. For the Revolutionary War The North Weft Territory Alliance, The Brigade of the American Revolution, The Continental Line, and The British Brigade all have informational websites to help with membership in a unit or as an individual. For Civil War reenactment, I found the most comprehensive information at the Civil War Reenactment Headquarters. All war reenactment is very strict about attention to historical details with units recreating everything down to the formations and drills of the original unit. Costumes must be true to the period. No polyester allowed! Because of the attention to detail, specialty sellers or Sutlers, sell true to period uniforms and accessories. Uniforms, artilliary, and even the camps must be exactly the way they were back during the actual battles. The costumes for this hobby can cost hundreds of dollars depending on the rank of the officer. In this hobby, the costume is not complete without accessories. Hats, guns, holsters, and other gun accessories really complete the look of an authentic reenactment hobbyist. Some units might even splurge on a cannon at a cost of about $30,000 in order to make the unit more authentic. Check out the following sutler sites for authentic war costumes: Fall Creek Sutlery, Mercury Supply Company, Coon River Mercantile, and Quartermaster Shop.

War reenactments take place all through the year with schedules of the most popular Civil War and Revolutionary War events (each organization listed above has a calendar of events) readily available on the internet. If you like costumes, try to take in a reenactment near your home. The history and fresh air are sure to please young and old alike.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Welcome!

Welcome to a new blog that is basically all about costumes. Look for weekly postings where we will explore the many ways costumes are being used by people like you. Come here to get tips, tricks, trends and general information about costuming. Open your eyes to costuming and meet new people, have fun with old friends, or just make memories. Check back often and let us know if there is something that you want to know more about in the costume world. Dress up and find that alter ego inside you!