By Miss Nessa
Whether you’re taking your children to Salt Lake Comic Con or searching for that perfect Halloween costume, many kids get excited to have the opportunity to dress up and pretend. Here are some basic tips and techniques to get you started with cosplay for kids.
Let them choose their costume
One of the biggest reasons that people cosplay is to have a chance to become their favorite characters. Help them think about who they would like to be and how to make it happen.
Make it comfortable
Have them try on the costume and makeup before the big day comes so they can see what it feels like. Make sure it is easy for them to move around and use the restroom, if necessary. Bring a change of clothes in case they get tired of wearing their costume.
Do not take over
Of course you want your child to have the best costume possible, but resist the temptation to do it all yourself if they want to help. My husband occasionally talks about how he always won the Craftsmanship prize at his Boy Scout Pinewood Derby. However, these awards are practically meaningless to him since he had hardly any input and the real artist behind the car was his father.
You are training up the cosplayers of tomorrow! In order for them to gain skills to make increasingly difficult costumes, you have to be willing to let them try to do it themselves. It may not be perfect, but it will be theirs.
Buy the foundation when possible
If you can find something appropriate to use as a foundation for the costume, it will be easier for your children to add onto the costume instead of starting from the beginning. Thrift stores can be a gold mine for costume creation. You can also stock up on items to have on-hand like wigs, makeup and props yearly at the after-Halloween sales.
Even young children can be taught to do basic hand-sewing. The children in my Montessori classroom (ages 6-9) loved making pillows and dolls. Kids can help sew on patches and other decorations. Have them practice their stitches on pieces of scrap fabric until they are ready to work on their costume. They can also assist in related activities like pinning on patterns. Older children can be taught how to safely use a sewing machine.
This staple of the cosplay world is cheap and easy to work with. You can use it for projects like armor, boot covers and other accessories like elf ears. Create a pattern to help them cut out the correct sizes and shapes. Fasten together with epoxy, contact glue or other strong glues.
As Duck Tape’s yearly prom contest shows, entire costumes can be made out of duct tape. There are now dozens of fun patterns available for sale. Show them how to lay it down in straight lines as they go.
Washable paint and markers
Paints and markers that can be cleaned up easily allow your child to be creative without creating any unnecessary headaches for you.
Costumes like Transformers, Rubik’s Cubes and robots can be easily made using cardboard boxes. Use butcher paper to cover the outside. They can then color on the surface or attach materials to it.
Bring spares and repairs
Take a basic repair kit with you that includes needles and thread, tape, makeup, etc., for the problems that are bound to crop up.