Monday, September 3, 2012

Getting Ready for Halloween 1- Decisions, Research, and Planning

OK, so this is the beginning of my Halloween posts. I'm not entirely sure how these will go or where they will end up, but you'll be along for the ride as I get ready for Halloween.
One of the main reasons I wanted to do these posts was to show the amount of trial & error that goes into our Halloween costumes. Very rarely is it a smooth ride & almost always, we are scraping by at the end. It's a lot of work but, I would never stop doing it.

The first step is deciding on a direction to go. This generally takes about a month for us. We always like to do costumes that go together & are a little over the top, so sometimes it can be a little tricky to decide on something. We each kind of go through things we think might be kind of cool & how we might be able to do it. There is generally a lot of back & forth figuring it out & seeing if the other person likes it.
We we finally narrow it down to 2-3 options that we both like, we start to think about the ways we would like them to be styled & what we want to do with the particular looks. This is were couples or group costumes can start to get tricky. There are a ton of different ways to style every look & if you're not on the same page as your partner, you won't look right together. Let's say (as a generic & broad example of how this works) you want to dress 70's with a group of friends. Seems like a good simple idea, right? What if one of you comes as a glam rocker, & another as a disco queen, & another as a roller girl, & another as John Travolta? See how easy it can start to get messy? Yes, you will all look like you go together, but it won't have a good continuity, unity, or flow.

This year, we had 2 main ideas stick out to us. Egyptian & Alice in Wonderland. And of course, both of these have a million different ways that we could do them. Should we do tradition Egyptian, maybe undead mummy's, maybe over the top glamour? Alice in Wonderland could be very polished & chic, or creepy & disturbing, or over the top adorable. After about another week of tossing ideas back & forth, we narrow down our styling choices. Then, we think about each of them; the amount of work that will go into them, the amount of time we have, how much it will cost, which one appeals to us more, exactly how we are going to accomplish what we want with each of them. It really is a lot to think about & work out.
Generally, at the end of talking all this out, we are on the same page & know what we want to do. We figure out what each person wants to add or what they don't like & then we start researching. This helps gives us visuals to what we're saying & work out the details & gives us references when we start sketching.

So, what did we decide on this year?
We decided to go with the Egyptian theme! But of course we had to amp it up a notch from any old Egyptian costume. We are going with Egyptian gods that are highly stylized.
After a bit of research, we each picked the god that we liked the best. Matt will be Anubis & I will be Bast(et). These two had the most stylized look to work with & we really liked the face shapes that we could play on.

We originally were going to take a lot of inspiration from the awe inducing Stargate gods but, after looking at  them, decided that we wanted to do something a little more extravagant & bold. Especially with the colors & fabrics. So, it was back to doing more research. Both of us looked at hundreds of pictures & found a few that we thought we could work with & draw inspiration from.

Now, it's finally time to start working on our designs. 
This will be a never ending process. You will tweak, add, takeaway, & adjust little things during the whole process & often your finished design ends up being different still. The point is to get a general idea of the direction you're going to be taking.
Here is the very beginning of my general design for my costume.

During my sketching time, I make little notes about different random ideas for things as they come to me. I end up writing these on margins, post-it's, & in a ton of other random little places (I try to keep them on post-it's so I can remove them as I sort things out, but that never ends up working). Some of my little notes for this have included; crinkly gold fabric I saw at the store that one time & loved but didn't know what to do with to use on the side skirts, I need to do a ton of spray tanning & then put on a shimmery bronzer all over my body, maybe doing some sort of body paint design like they had in Mummy but with symbols, AHH! 1/2 shirt! build workout plan NOW!, sapphires or rubies???, big winged scarab medallion! need to figure out what to make it out of, hair jewel gold things???, shoes?
& the big one of the moment...
This particular topic has been a back & forth debate with Matt & I. Both of us have argued either side at one time or another. There are masks we both like but, the idea of doing a full prosthetic seems really cool too. We have no idea what we're doing on that just yet. I guess we'll figure it out as we go.

While I'm working on the details of my design, I end up doing a ton more research for little details of things. Below are a few more pics of various things I've found to help me with some of the details I'm going to incorporate into my design as it progresses.

So, that is the end of this stage (for the time being). We have figured out what we want to be & the direction we are going to start moving in. As you can tell, this in it's self is a lengthy process & takes a lot of serious consideration of different aspects.
Take your time during this process & it will help you avoid a lot of frustration later. When you have a good solid base of where you want to go, other things fall in line much easier. Picking out fabrics, designing hair & makeup, knowing what you need, working on props, & managing your time will go so much smoother if you build a really detailed base idea.
It also helps to work out a little bit of a who's doing what & schedule with your partner (or even if you're doing it by yourself). This helps ensure that you're not completely scraping at the last minute & find out that the two of you were not working in sync. When doing group costumes, especially more elaborate ones, you really need to work together & keep constant communication about every detail. Every person needs to know what they are working on, when it needs to be done by, & if other things depend on it. You also need to talk about things that you aren't 100% sure about, so you can work it out together to make sure you keep with the continuity of the design. Make sure everything is decided upon together & worked on together. This is one of the big things that help make it come out exceptional in the end.

These blog post are going to be put up as I work on things & feel like I have enough to post about. Sometimes they will be every day or two, sometimes a week or so might go by between posts. I am going to document every step of the process though.
Including the trial & error, things that don't workout the way we thought they were going to, mistakes, & things we learn for next time. There is a lot of just figuring out things as you go with these kinds of things & I'm going to do my best to show you all of that.

For random updates on things, like little progresses in design or working on my costume, check out my twitter; as I'm sure random pictures & stuff will end up on there.

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