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!