Cosplay Family Spotlight: Costume Mom

Reading Time: 5 minutes
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Asgardians with Stan Lee. Photo by Phoenix Comicon.

Cosplay is becoming more and more popular around the world and at conventions. I’ve personally found a lot of joy and personal confidence doing cosplay at conventions, and the number one reason I started was as an activity with my son. After seeing a great panel about Cosplay Families at Rose City Comic Con a couple of weeks ago, I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk to parents and families who cosplay and spotlight them here on GeekDad!

Cosplay Family Spotlight is a new recurring segment where I interview and spotlight a cosplay family. This week, I interview Costume Mom. Interested in participating? Leave a comment here or reach out to me on twitter @billythebrick.

GeekDad:
How many members of your family are involved in cosplay?
Costume Mom:
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Harry Potter group. Photo by the ‘State Press’ newspaper.

There are six of us–my husband Scott and I, and our four kids, Ian 13, Strummer 11, Ani 10, and Barrett 8. I make all the costumes, but we decide as a family which ones we would like to do. My costume page is Costume Mom.

GeekDad:
How did you and your family get in to cosplay and prop/armor making? Did one particular member start it or did you all jump in together? What was your first cosplay?
Costume Mom:
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Little Loki and Thor. Iron Man and Loki. Photo by Tauri Icenogle,

I started out making costumes for the same reason many people do, Halloween. The first thing I made was Harry Potter robes and wands for my three oldest in 2007 (little guy wasn’t born yet). The first non-Halloween costumes I made were Loki and Hawkeye for the premiere of the first Avengers movie. I’ve been hooked ever since.

GeekDad:
Do you have a favorite cosplay of yours? A favorite group cosplay you’ve done as a family?
Costume Mom:
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Blaster and his Cassettes. Photo by Jay Zarecki.

I think my favorite costume is my custom Mandalorian. I am a member of the Arizona branch of the Mandalorian Mercs costume club. My husband said his favorite costume is his 1980s Transformers Blaster because I built speakers into it, and he can listen to music and dance while dressing up. Ian’s favorite costume is still his Loki. I made an updated costume a couple of years after the first one, and it was always a big hit. Strummer’s favorite costume was Iron Man, because “even though it was uncomfortable, it was the coolest looking costume I’ve had.” Ani really liked her Gamora costume. She especially liked getting her makeup done at Amazing Arizona Comicon 2015 by Face Off contestants Damien Zimmerman and Alana Rose. Barrett really likes his custom Blaster cassette tape we call “Play,” he is the Awesome Mix Tape from Guardians of the Galaxy.

GeekDad:
Speaking of group cosplay, do you always try to cosplay together? Or do you all do your own thing?
Costume Mom:
I always try to do group cosplays. Scott and I don’t always dress up with the kids, because I’m usually under some time crunch, and it is very difficult to get four costumes, much less six costumes completed. But the group cosplays always make a big impression. There have been some exceptions. My oldest really wanted a Hiccup costume, so I did a week long speed build for him. That remains one of my favorite costumes. Even though he didn’t wear it very much, it was just a really fun build.
GeekDad:
Do you have a favorite piece that challenged you?
Costume Mom:
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Box Trolls. Photo by Tony Julius Photography

Heads are always difficult. They need to be spot on or the character just falls apart. The most difficult heads I’ve ever made were Box Trolls. Those were very challenging to get right. But the results were pretty great. I love how expressive they turned out. Also, a very fun build. I loved getting all the details put into their boxes and faces.

GeekDad:
What’s your favorite “medium” to work in (sewing, EVA foam, resin casting, etc.)?
Costume Mom:
I really like EVA foam. It’s cheap and versatile. I use it all of the time. I also really like Sintra. It’s more durable and takes battle damage and paint a little better; it also holds up a lot longer than foam and takes paint better, though it is tougher to work with.
GeekDad:
It’s been awhile, but I used to do quite a bit of scale model building and I see a lot of similarities in techniques between small-scale building and prop and armor building. Have you ever done any scale modeling or smaller scale builds?
Costume Mom:
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Prowl. Photo by Tony Julius Photography

I have not done a lot of small scale builds. I was really into drawing when I was a kid–mostly baseball players and military vehicles. I was always into realism. That has translated into me becoming very detail-oriented and making me want to be as accurate and true to the source material as possible.

GeekDad:
Most of our readers are parents and, like me, want to share their geeky interests with their kids. I’ve been doing father and son cosplay with my son since he was born. Do you have any suggestions on how parents can get their kids interested and involved with cosplay and fabrication?
Costume Mom:
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Mandalorians. Photo by Tony Julius Photography.

So far my kids have not shown any interest in making the costumes, but they really love wearing them and interacting with people in public. I keep them involved by getting them to come up with ideas and choose the characters they want to dress up as. They are all very creative in their own ways, so I love to encourage their creativity and imaginations by getting them involved in the whole process.

GeekDad:
Something along the lines of “Being a geek isn’t about what you love but how you love it” is sort of the new geek mantra. Do you have anything, besides cosplay, that you consider yourself a geek about?
Costume Mom:
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Guardians of the Galaxy. Photo by Tony Julius Photography.

We all geek out over superhero movies and TV shows, and each of the kids has certain video games that they really love. Ian is a huge Undertale and Mario Maker fan, Strummer loves Yo-kai Watch and Pokemon, Ani loves Splatoon, and Barret is obsessed with Minecraft and Little Big Planet. I pretty much hoard nerdy t-shirts, and Scott hoards books. There is no lack of nerd love in our house.

GeekDad:
What upcoming conventions do you have on your schedule that people could see you at?
Costume Mom:
My work schedule recently changed so I have been missing a lot of the local events, but we will definitely be at Phoenix Comicon next summer. Look out for our costumes from Tim Burton’s movie 9.

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