Increasing in popularity each year, and gaining an ever more diverse following – cosplay is enjoying a rise in it’s fanbase at conventions around the world. The ability to inhabit the character of an endless range of heroes and villains, to be someone other than yourself for a short period of time is bringing generations together to celebrate film, comics, games and more.
But every cosplayer knows how expensive their hobby can become. Although costumes and props are more widely available than they have ever been, merchandise featuring popular characters can quickly rack up. However, the best thing about the cosplay community is the opportunities to be creative. Fans are increasingly creating costumes themselves, using a range of items to transform themselves into original interpretations of their favourite characters. If you’re thinking about giving this a shot, DIY costumes are often spectacular displays of creativity. But we’ve noticed that it’s often the small details that make a horror cosplay stand out, so here’s a few tips to consider before your next convention.
1. Go for an original or lesser known version of a character
Many iconic horror characters have appeared in dozens or even hundreds of different movies, books or comics. So don’t dismiss the older characters as having been overdone. Characters like Count Dracula, the Mummy and Frankenstein’s Monster might have been around for decades, but they can be re-imagined for 2019. Consider a steampunk Dracula – with vials of blood stored in a belt slider, or adding your own spooky coloured LEDs to an inexpensive pair of goggles. The look could be finished off with mens gothic rings featuring skulls or dragon claws.
Steampunk Vampires by MrSTimmyHog
2. Make Accessories from Household objects
Character accessories, especially those for popular characters, can be pretty expensive. An alternative you could look into is getting crafty and making your own. This handy guide to building antlers would work well with folk-horror designs, while this one teaches you how to create scary books. You could adapt the book guide to create your own Evil Dead necronomicon, or find some friends to team up with for a Wickerman inspired group cosplay.
3. Consider real items a character would carry
A vampire hunter would never be caught without his stake, and a witch without a wand won’t get far. Even human characters need a certain amount of items to do their jobs in fictional universes.
You could try designing and printing your own ID badge letting everyone know that you are an official member of the Ghostbusters, that you work at S-MART when not fighting demons, or that you’re a counsellor at Camp Crystal Lake. Weapons can often be crafted from plastic bottles and other household items, meaning you can adapt the designs to suit your cosplay.
4. Subvert the character – even if they’re not originally from a horror franchise
Some horror fans go the route of taking a terrifying horror movie villain and making them super cute. We particularly like this sweet version of Pennywise the clown by cosplayer Te-Elle.
Another option could be to take a non-horror character and make them horrifying! Any number of well known faces from cartoons, literature and pop culture could be given zombie or Halloween themed makeovers. We’ve seen flesh-eating Superman and this nightmare fuelling group of friends turn the mushroom kingdom into a zombie apocalypse. You could look at turning Hello Kitty into a sweet version of the bride of Frankenstein, or using silver gothic jewelry to give Mickey Mouse a Lost Boys look.
Don’t forget to share some of your creepiest cosplay creations with us. Happy scaring!