Cosplay Family Spotlight: Crunchums Custom Cosplay

Reading Time: 5 minutes
Allie and Don as dual Wrath Warriors. Photo by Don Booth.

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 Don Booth of Crunchums Custom Cosplay.

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?
Don Booth:
Don as Wrath Warrior. Photo by Alexandra Lee Studios.

Currently my five-year- old daughter, Allie, as well as myself are competing. My wife Shannon is our handler. Future plans include our two-year-old daughter, Caitlyn, participating in cosplay as well. She is currently in training for the cosplay world. I have made several “test run” costumes to help introduce her.

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?
Don Booth:
The television show Heroes of Cosplay sparked my interest. I started out with solo competitions, taking my oldest daughter with me to help introduce her at the age of three. Shortly after our first few conventions, she came to me and wanted me help her make a costume for her to compete with. I helped her do a Pikachu costume then an Elsa from Frozen. I brought up the idea of “playing dress up” together, and she wanted to compete with her daddy. My first solo cosplay was Link from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
GeekDad:
Do you have a favorite cosplay of yours? A favorite group cosplay you’ve done as a family?
Don Booth:
Allie as ‘Diablo III’ Crusader. Photo by Feytaline’s Photography.

My daughter’s favorite costume to date is her Diablo III Crusader. Her favorite part of the costume was “her boots and spiky ball.” She enjoyed helping with spray painting, gluing the rivets on the shield (wiggle eyes painted), and mod podging the shield and the armor. The family favorite to date is our group with the World of Warcraft Wrath Warrior Tier 2.This cosplay has won several awards and competitions. It took one month of development for my own costume as I made my own templates. It only took four days for my daughter’s costume.

GeekDad:
Speaking of group cosplay, do you always try to cosplay together? Or do you all do your own thing?
Don Booth:
We do our best to compete as a group currently. The only time we are forced to compete individually is when the rules of the convention do not allow group competition. My daughter usually will pick from several different options, and I will follow suit.
GeekDad:
Do you have a favorite piece that challenged you?
Don Booth:
It was a challenge to scale down the patterns from the Wrath Warrior to fit my daughter. Her biggest challenge is painting without leaving brush strokes.
GeekDad:
What’s your favorite “medium” to work in?
Don Booth:
Don as Vincent from ‘Final Fantasy VII.’ Photo by Don Booth.

I enjoy sewing but feel more comfortable working with EVA foam. I feel the foam gives better results as it makes a clean-cut and the seams are easily camouflaged. Whenever necessary I will incorporate both or other methods.

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?
Don Booth:
I used to build and paint Warhammer miniatures as well as scenery for games (Warhammmer 40K and fantasy), which helped me learn about shading and weathering techniques.
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?
Don Booth:
Allie as Rosalina from ‘Mario Kart Wii U.’ Photo by Don Booth.

I stated out by making a basic set of play armor for dress up at home. I let her paint it whatever color she wanted and design it how she liked. It was her own creation out of my basic design. Asking your child to suggest favorite characters from books, movies, games, etc. and helping them find their own way of bringing the character to life. Cosplay has to be fun for all parties involved otherwise it will come across as forced and that is never a positive thing. If your child gets frustrated half way through because things are not going right, take a break, explain that sometimes things don’t go as planned and that’s okay. It gives you an opportunity to brain storm together for a different solution. Encourage your child to come back to the project with a cleared mind.

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?
Don Booth:
Growing up as a child I enjoyed the television show Inhumanoids. As a teenager and into young adulthood I began my current collection that is 99% complete. I am only missing one thing which is not obtainable (prototypes of toys never released). Also at a young age my parents bought me an original NES, and my video game love grew from there through the years, and currently I play Everquest, League of Legends, Diablo III, and World of Warcraft. I still like to visit the nostalgic days of SEGA and SNES.
GeekDad:
What upcoming conventions do you have on your schedule that people could see you at?
Don Booth:
Allie as Annie from ‘League of Legends.’ Photo by Don Booth.

Steel City Con in April (Monroeville, PA) and Replay FX (Pittsburgh, PA) in July. I will be posting on my Facebook page as I hear of them and can confirm I am going.

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