Happy Halloween, Professional Geeks! Tomorrow is our favorite holiday to get out there and demonstrate your geeky passion while also begging strangers for candy!
Halloween is the one day a year that everybody is encouraged to become someone or something that they’re not in everyday life, perhaps as a show of appreciation for a fandom, as a fun joke, to feel attractive, or a thousand other reasons. From an early age, we are encouraged to adopt a fantasy on October 31st. As children, we dressed as a generic character like a princess or firefighter, or as a favorite cartoon character. We add the joke costumes and the sexy costumes to the mix as we get older, but Halloween is always be an opportunity to show off your geeky fandom as well.
In some ways, this is similar to cosplay we see at cons. Fans have been dressing up as their favorite characters, or as mashups or twists on existing characters (think pink Darth Vader) for a long time. The history of costumes at geek conventions is about as long as the history of geek conventions themselves. Cosplay is bigger than ever now, and is ubiquitous at any convention. Cosplay is a mashup of costume and play, or costume and role-play, and often cosplayers spend months and hundreds of dollars on perfecting their outfits. They often impersonate characters, literally role-playing on the con floor.
As I began to research for this, though, it became obvious that while Halloween is a day where literally everyone is encouraged to put on a costume and play a different persona, Halloween is more about having a good time and celebrating a holiday, while cosplay is a higher level artistic pursuit. I found many articles and forum posts suggesting that Halloween is amateur hour for people who are enthusiastic about costumes. Cara Hillstock at the Kansas State Collegian points out that cosplayers go to conventions for community, acceptance, and safe spaces, and make 100 percent sure that every detail of their costume is accurate. She points out that seeing pre-bagged, cheap Halloween store versions of their favorite characters can be legitimately upsetting! Halloween revelers enjoy their costumes, sure, but cosplayers live their costumes. I even saw forum posters say that they would never bother to wear their cosplay out on Halloween.
I love Halloween, and because I live in a big city it’s amazing to see Super Marios and Jokers, cats and kangaroos, chicken cord-on-blue’s and ceiling fans, all riding the train to get to the parties where they show off their creativity, humor, passion, or fancy outfit. While it’s definitely fun to cosplay your favorite character at a con, the reasons behind why cosplayers dress up comes from a slightly different place. For cosplayers costumes are a way of life! At Professional Geek, we suggest everyone adopt the spirit of the cosplayer this Halloween and use this costumed holiday to show off your geeky passion!