First Costume Con post

Whew.

Costume Con was a week ago and I still haven’t gotten around to writing about it. I’m sorry. I just haven’t felt much like sitting at the computer for very long. But since I’m at work now and have to sit at the computer I figured it’s as good a time as any to start writing up my report.

The con was awesome!

Really, it was. It was fantastic. Looking back, I didn’t really do a whole lot in the way of panels and activities, but the panels we did go to (with the exception, perhaps, of the corset one) were amazing and fun and informative.

Like most cons I’ve been to, Costume Con begins on a Friday. Unlike the other conventions, though, there was a great deal of programming scheduled to take place on Friday. With both Polaris and SFX (the other cons we’ve been to, so far) the programming on Fridays usually consists of two or three late-night panels, a social, and mainly registration. Costume Con actually had panels and workshops starting around noon on Friday. I kind of wish I had known how early the Friday programming was going to start. There were a couple of panels we missed that I would have liked to attend. I had actually tried to find out from the folks in charge of programming when we should plan to get there but I never received any reply. That was the only big problem I could really find with this con…the poor communication with the folks in charge.

Maggie and I got Friday off from the coffee shop so we could attend to all of the last minute things we needed to do before heading out to Maryland. We had made the decision not to stay over at the hotel for the weekend, opting instead to commute back and forth each morning. The drive to the con on Friday was a little longer than we expected, due to traffic and weather concerns, but we still managed to get there in time for some fun.

Since we figured we’d be spending a lot less time at the convention on Friday we both decided it was the best day for our huge, hard-to-manuever-in costumes. In other words, we brought along our 2008 Halloween costumes – Pan (from Pan’s Labyrinth) and Po (from Kung-Fu Panda). Both costumes have limited mobility due to some serious foot constructs. Maggie, as Pan, is basically walking around on stilts, with the added obstacle of limited vision due to a full head mask. She can see a bit out of only one eye at any given time, and her hands are obstructed by gloves. She’s also tends to make a bit of a mess, walking around anywhere. The costume has a lot of moss and natural materials glued and sewn and otherwise adhered to it and these sometimes decided to abandon ship…all down the hallway. The shedding actually wasn’t all that bad this time around.

I was a bit worried about Maggie’s feet while we were there. I knew that stairs would be a problem for both of us, but less so for me. There had been a bit of a problem at Halloween with Maggie’s stilts (a part of them broke) and I was worried that something similar would happen this time around. However, she had managed to find something to put on the bottom to help distribute the weight a bit better (imagine a camel’s foot on the sand) and they worked just fine. The biggest problem for her the first day was making sure she stayed hydrated. The mask effectively retains heat, which is great for a cold Halloween evening but when you’re walking around indoors it’s not so nice.

My biggest problem Friday was not really costume related. I had been worried about my panda feet, originally. The shoes that form the “bones” of the panda feet are secured to part of the base with duct tape — a decision I regretted making when I wore them on Halloween. They creaked and popped when I walked, which got a bit annoying. I had originally intended to take them apart and fix them but I ended up spending so much time trying to fix my Tesla pants that I didn’t have any time to tend to the panda feet. To much surprise, this ended up not being a problem. When I wore them around the con on Friday, they held up surprisingly well and didn’t pop or creak at all.

The costumes were very much a success. Maggie was stopped all throughout the con for photos. I had a couple of folks stop me for pictures as well. Everyone seemed to think that my noodle hat was dumplings or ice cream, but I corrected them as gently as possible.

I had a couple of folks stop me just to talk about pandas in general. One guy told me about a British show called ‘Allo Panda. I’ve tried to google it, but I only came up with a type of Japanese cookie (or “biscuit”) called Hello Panda. Who knew? Another guy came over later and asked if I was from Ranma One Half.

I had been reclining on one of the extremely comfy couches in the hotel lobby when he came up. My feet were dangling over the edge of the armrest, which folks apparently thought was cute (keep in mind I still had my panda feet on, so they could see the paw prints I had painted on the bottoms of the panda shoes). Ordinarily I would have just sat in a chair but I had somehow managed to hurt my back earlier that day — one minute it was fine, the next I couldn’t even bend down to pick up stuff off the ground. The couch helped a bit, but getting up off of it was excruciating! Anyhoo, I had been napping nicely when the above-mentioned gentleman stopped to ask about our costumes.

It took me forever to figure out what he was saying. In fact, I wasn’t the one who figured out what he was saying. Maggie did. Apparently there’s an anime show called Ranma One Half, where one of the characters turns into a panda. Again, who knew? Apparently, Maggie did. I think part of my problem in figuring out what he was saying stemmed from my having just woken up from a nap. He kept saying “Ranma One Half” and I remember thinking “I can’t have been asleep for that long, that nothing he’s saying makes sense.” I think part of the problem was my sleepiness, another that I had never heard of Ranma One Half, and the last part of the equation was that he had kind of an interesting accent. I’m sure the part of my brain that should have been concentrating on the question at hand was busy trying to puzzle out where he was from.

The wait staff at the hotel restaurant sure got a kick out of my costume. We were standing outside of the restaurant (Maggie was posing for another picture) when I heard someone gasp and say “It’s the Kung-Fu Panda!” I turned around and one of the waitresses from Northern Lights (that’s the name of the restaurant) was hopping up and down excitedly. I walked over and asked her to give me a high four (my panda paw only has three fingers and a thumb). She did. 🙂

We ended up going in and sitting down for dinner in the restaurant. It was pretty empty at the time, but there were a couple of folks who were clearly there for the convention. We got a table (neither of us were confident about our ability to get into a regular booth with our costumes), and Maggie had to sit on the chair side. I had a bit of difficulty squeezing between our table and the one next to us, in order to get to my seat on the other side (Po’s tummy gets in the way from time to time) but I managed to get in. One of the folks at a table a couple down from us said he was interested to see how I was going to eat without getting anything on the panda tummy. I said it was easy. I then proceeded to cover Po’s considerable tum with a large table napkin.

Since Maggie was sitting on the side of the table with the chairs, she was able to look through the window at all of the folks walking around outside in their historic costumes. I couldn’t really turn around to see them, but I was having fun watching the wait staff as they went to and from the kitchen. Every one of them would sneak looks over to where we were sitting whenever they went to or from the kitchen, and would laugh to themselves. I’m sure it was fun for them to have a panda and a fawn sitting in their restaurant. Our waitress was ecstatic. She was the one who had come out and given me a high four earlier. When she saw where the manager was seating us she squealed “The kung-fu panda is sitting in my section!” She accidentally spilled our drinks when she brought them to the table, but we were both fine. I felt bad for her – she seemed incredibly embarrassed. Neither of us really minded, though…we’ve dropped so many things at the coffee shop that we tend to take things like that in stride. Maggie did get a free piece of chocolate cake out of it, though, since Allison still felt bad for dropping our drinks.

The hardest part of dinner was actually the eating part. There’s a good reason why clowns don’t eat when they are in makeup — it’s really hard! First of all, in order to set the makeup, you have to powder your face with baby powder, and a good bit of it gets in your mouth. It feels as gross as it sounds, trust me. I ended up having to go ut to the car and re-touch my makeup a bit before we went to the next events.

The big event Friday evening (well, the one we were looking forward to) was the Simplicity single pattern contest…

…which I will discuss in the next post. MWAHAHAHA!

(I have to get back to work)

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