In Disguise with LARP and Cosplay

As a young person I was in love with fantasy and science fiction literature and film.  As a young adult I couldn’t wait for people to throw costume parties so I could get into disguise.   At age 54, however, it’s impossible to carry off  the characters I used to enjoy at twenty, thirty and even forty.   Black eyeliner just doesn’t look the same over crow’s-feet, nor does a body suit have the same impact when gravity has taken effect.  Not to be deterred, I bought spanks for my Attack on Titan cosplay, but that’s another story.

Owning a costume business does legitimize my presence in civies while watching the eddies of costume groups gathering at Con-G, Anime North and FanExpo ~ without looking like a stalker.

I  couldn’t wait to bring it to Con-G this February when I was asked by Underworld LARP to design and run a couple of how-to make-up sessions.

LARP has pretty specific rules for it’s members.   Conspiring with Remi [a former co-op student and LARPer] and Underworld PR dude, Darcy, as well as visiting their website, helped guide the design of four characters complete with make-up, costuming and props.

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Model, Cosplayer and LARPer Remi as a NPC Banshee. Make-up done by Angela. Design and Styling by Alison. Rubies White and Black Smudge Proof Make-up, Forum Novelties Haunted Cape, Ghostly Gal costume and Crystal Ball and Gothika Cataract Contacts all from FeeFiFoFun Costumes. LARPer and make-up artist Angela also provided the blood 😛

LARP is a game, like Monopoly, except instead of gathering money and property, you gather points for spells that will help avoid your character’s death.  Participants create a name, a back story and physically dress and act out their characters’ actions.  These players pursue goals in a fictional setting placed within our real world, like a farm or a community centre, all the while interacting with other characters.  The organization, in this case Underworld, has very rules for character attributes [Human, Orc, Feline, Elf and their ilk], also for clothing and for spells to make mischief and get you out of mischief.

Underworld is for 19+ and also very specific in the use of weapons ~ in that they are structurally designed not to cause harm [are foam] and are suitable for the character [i.e. no fake AK-47’s for Orcs].

Events are staged with specific themes, for example at Underworld High Winter the theme was Jack Frost.  Non-Player Characters [NPC] are also essential in LARPing.  They are usually players volunteering as the event’s boogeymen in exchange for points that they can then use in the future.  Like I said, it’s a game and Underworld keeps score.  Count on it.

NPC’s are sworn to secrecy about plot points and dressed to scare or beat the bushes for players.  Well, Underworld’s motto is Run. Fight.  Hide.  At any event, the Game Keepers mediate the player actions based on these rules and drive the play, including clarification for newbies and decision-making for squabblers, all in an event that fosters creativity, promotes team work and social engagement, gets your heart pumping, has humour and scares the bee-jez.   Perfect!

The costumes, props, wigs and make-up are from Fee Fi Fo Fun Costumes and the make-up, styling and sessions were suitably enhanced by LARP-Cosplayer-Artists Angela and Michelle.

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Model Rebecca as Faun with Snazaroo Make-Up by Angela. Creature Design by Alison. All products from FeeFiFoFun Costumes. Beast Legs and Hoof Feet by Zagone Studio, Faun Ears by Aradani Studio, Halter by Dreamgirls, custom leather Quiver/Belt by Remi/Alison, Bow by SKS Novelty. Floral Ivy and Autumn Sprig from Dollarama.

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Model Maddie as a Drow, Dark Elf all using FeeFiFoFun products. Rubies Smudgeproof white and black blend for full body paint, overlay of Tval Skincare Gaffer Gold Cream [go Newfoundland] and Manic Panic Glitter Blue make-up. Black Tomoyo wig from Purple Plum. Faux Fur from FabricLand with faux fur over Hip Hugger Clip. Chest Plate using Worbla and paint created by Alison. Clive Barker Cresent Moon staff by Disguise. Gold Metal Cuffs by ELOPE. All from FeeFiFoFun Costumes.

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Model and Cosplayer Graeme does NPC Jack Frost or Winter Elf with make-up application by Angela and Michelle using Rubies Silver Face Paint and Ice Effect Kit. Wig by Purple Plum. Ice staffs my secret lol. Custom Assassin’s Creed white tunic and brown pants. All from FeeFiFoFun Costumes.

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