I think it’s safe to say that, for most people in the United States, spending time making a costume and wearing it out is an annual event reserved for the last day in October. It would be unusual for people to dress up in costume more than that, right?
Well, geeks aren’t known for taking their fandom lightly, and they’ll put on a costume for just about anything. For some, it’s an all-encompassing hobby. Most of the costume enthusiasts in the geek community make their own costumes from scratch, requiring more talent than I could even imagine. In order to get a movie-accurate costume, they’ll have to find just the right fabrics, create the perfect pattern, find the matching accessories and put it all together. Add to all of that finding the right costume to fit your body type, and you’ve got the makings for an incredibly complex and rewarding hobby.
But why spend so much time to make a costume you’re only going to wear once?
Geeks find any excuse possible to show off their costumes. The place you’re apt to see the most are comic-book and science-fiction conventions. We’ve talked about them before in this column, but they are havens for those dressing up as their favorite characters. When people have spent so much time, care, money and effort on a costume, it feels great to go to a place where people will appreciate the effort on more than just a superficial level. There is so much creativity and craftsmanship that goes into nerd costumes.
There are some groups, though, who put on their costumes much more often than just conventions. The largest of them would be the 501st Legion. The 501st is the largest fan-costuming organization in the world, and they dress up like all the bad guys from Star Wars. They march in parades and make appearances when it’s called for—for example, they appeared onstage with “Weird Al” Yankovic at his concert at the Utah State Fair recently—but the most important work they do is trooping at hospitals and for charity. The 501st has raised millions of dollars over the years for charity, all by showing up to events dressed up as Darth Vader and Stormtroopers. And all you need to join is a Halloween costume.
Other groups exist, too. Earlier in the month, Dr. Volt’s, a local comic-book store, celebrated its 21st anniversary with a sale and a signing, and the Mandalorian Mercs showed up and flagged people down to the store and took pictures with patrons. Mandalorian Mercs dress up in customized armor just like Boba Fett’s.
There are costuming groups devoted to just about any franchise you can think of, too. The Colonial Marines from Aliens? Check. Ghostbusters? Check. Firefly? Check. Star Trek? Double check. The list goes on and on, and their enthusiasm never waxes or wanes based on a holiday. If you like dressing up and don’t want to be constrained to just the last day of October, then maybe you should consider letting out your inner geek and joining up with one of these august organizations.
If you want to see some of these costumers in action for Halloween, be sure to come to Brewvies (677 S. 200 West) on Sunday, Oct. 30. Not only are we showing The Walking Dead on the big screen, The Geek Show Podcast is having its legendary Annual Costume Contest. It’s something you shouldn’t miss. Festivities start at 5 p.m.
Bryan Young is the editor-in-chief of BigShinyRobot.com.