• Chris Cyrus

How to Make the Most of Your Costume

Updated: Apr 15

Every good story has its fair share of creatures and characters. An expertly crafted costume can bring those characters from the page to the stage. Our staff has some tips and tricks to help you master costume making before your character joins us at camp this summer...


YOU CAN BE ANYTHING


The beauty of role-play is that you can be anything you desire, from a fierce dragon to a wise old wizard. In the world of the story, our heroes have the freedom to express themselves in whatever way they wish. That's a magical thing!


Haley Mosher (Camp Director): “It doesn’t matter who you are in the outside world. You can play another gender or a creature or an animal. You can play a goose. All ideas are embraced. Campers can explore who they are. Kids can find themselves or become comfortable with who they are, without being judged.”


Paul Spanagel (Curriculum Coordinator): “In our modern New England American adolescent model, high school is the time when you’re figuring out who you are. But there are so many external voices saying who you should be or must be, really loudly.” At our camp, “it’s a fantasy story, so no matter the result, your life will be fine, but better: you’ll have new relationships. No one’s telling you exactly how to do it. Try out what type of person you want to be. You can decide to play another type of character. Some of our best monster campers began as edgy villain characters, the strong and silent type, but from seeing camp, they opened themselves up to other options.”


WHERE SHOULD I BEGIN?


Half of the fun is creating your own costume. You don't need to spend all of your gold or even be a master tailor. All you'll need is a wild idea and a plan. Here's what we recommend:


Haley: “Start from one cool piece like a hat or a belt or your sword, or a prop, like a book, or a pair of glasses.” She remembers that some of the coolest costumes have come from thrift store purchases that families turned into pirate shirts. Try it out for yourself.


For your hero's shoes, Haley suggests that they be “good to run in and have good ankle support; (we) are on their feet all day.” Even for fashionable heroes, heels are not recommended.


Paul: “You can start with a short-sleeved or long-sleeved shirt,” especially if you have a lot of the same color, or “you can buy a pack of three gray tee-shirts.” Don’t forget: “It’ll be summertime and you’ll be doing physical activity.”


Color schemes are another strategy of Paul's. A favorite character of his was Bjorn, a bear. Green and black helped the character come to life. What colors would your hero wear?


FANTASTIC FABRICS


Haley recalls an amazing snake costume from two years ago. It was composed of “a cotton tube dress, with a belt and a staff, and a hat that blocked the sun.” The headpiece was made of diamond-shaped cardboard and covered with a scaly fabric.


Paul suggests going to a fabric store “to look at all the weird, cool fabric they have. You can cut it into a bandolier or a cloak or a hood, without being a full tailor or seamster, you can elevate your costume quite cheaply.”


WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND


Haley: “Come with whatever costume you want.” It’s better if the characters are “coming from different places and parts of the world. The different types of costumes makes the world feel more like a world.”


“You should be able to move and fight in it, and wear it in the heat.” It’s best to avoid heavy things, like chain maille (even though that would be really cool). Remember, you’ll be wearing it through the whole adventure. Makeup is permitted when self applied, but certainly not required. Don't be surprised when you sweat through the makeup after running away from monsters all day.


“Pockets and pouches are great for costuming. I recommend a carabiner or rope to attach your water bottle to your belt, so you can always have water on you!”


Paul: “Costumes should be about where your character is coming from. A kid came to NERF Camp in a full ghillie suit [swamp monster], but it was heavy, so he didn’t wear it all the time. But he wore it again for Wizards & Warriors camp.”


We ask that campers not wear logos, and always wear closed-toed, closed-ankle shoes that are easy to move around in. The rest is entirely up to you. Your character doesn't need to be flashy, elaborate, or even reflect this year’s story line. Let your imagination run wild.


Looking for some more inspiration? Check out one of these helpful links:

https://geekandsundry.com/7-things-to-consider-when-building-your-larp-costume/

https://larp.guide/2015/08/larp-costume-layering/

https://vesnakurilic.com/2015/01/19/make-outfit/


Pre-Registration pricing has been extended through April 6th. You can register online at https://thestoryschool.org/2021-summer-camps/ and you can always reach us by phone (781-214-1174) or email guardian@thestoryschool.org with any questions.


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