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Thread: Costumes! Size? Buy or make?

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  1. Default Costumes! Size? Buy or make? 
    #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, SC
    Posts
    756
    One thing that I have noticed isn't talked about too much is costumes. We always get into walls, sounds, video and lighting and other aspects of the show but I hardly read anything on costumes. As much as I'd like a guide for make-up ideas aside from just prosthetic make-up, but paint make-up as well, I also want to ask about wardrobe!

    Does your haunt purchase or build costumes? Buy the big ticket main character costume and have regular actors just dress in all black? Make all your own costumes?

    How does your haunt go about purchasing or making costumes based on size? Do you know what type of actor you want to hire for a part and construct their costume based on that? (ie. pre-done size and you hire for that body type?) Do you hire and alter the costume later?

    Thanks in advance!
     

  2. Default  
    #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Posts
    704
    I design costumes and have stocked the wardrobe racks at haunts. I also taught a costuming class at MHC.

    Most haunts that I have worked at do not use store-bought costumes, rather they go thrifting to find key wardrobe pieces and then we distress and alter the items. I'm a firm believer that haunts should have plenty of wardrobe on hand in a variety of sizes, so that any actor could be fitted into something.

    I think costuming is often overlooked and it is too easy to just throw everyone into black robes or cloaks. Depending on the theme of your haunt, many costumes can cheapily and easily be made from thrift store formal wear (old suits, bridal attire, prom gowns, etc) and old uniforms (scrubs, lab coats, mechanic coveralls, nurse dresses, etc).
    Katie Lane
    Partner/VP
    Raven's Wolf Art Productions (www.ravens-wolf.com)


    Bansheette Morningstar (www.bansheette.com)
     

  3. Default  
    #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Bucks county, Pa
    Posts
    379
    at the haunt I work at masks are strictly custom made considering the owner has his own prop shop but As far as costumes go we do alot,ALOT of thrifting. The hiring interview process is done early so the costumes are made to fit the character/person also it is duplicated as closly as possible in a bigger size. When we interview we tell the haunters what we have in mind and strongly suggest to them to put there own spin on the costume and use ours as a fall back. In my experiance if u take the time to make the costume u become the character. We have close to 70 actors at our attraction and the costume trailer is full with options but it's great to see a good amount doing there own thing.
     

  4. Default  
    #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Mesquite, TX
    Posts
    2,788
    Forgive me if I rant, but this is near and dear to my haunted identity, I make and sell costumes and I make them for my personal show and for the six shows that I am Artistic director of at SCREAMS halloween park in TX.

    Does your haunt purchase or build costumes?
    Yes we purchase and build costumes. However nothing you purchase is ever finished, you must finish it. Additional holes for breathing or vision or ventilation must be cut in masks, they will need touch up painting to fit in with your color scheme, you get the idea. the costumes themselves are not finished either, they must be aged, accessorized , surged, and reinforced.

    Buy the big ticket main character costume and have regular actors just dress in all black?
    My number one beef with most haunts is the amount of Black robes that pass as costumes. If any of your actors bear a resemblance to the black robed kid on the PAAS makeup package then you are missing the boat. What is your theme? What would your theme need to be in order for 30 teenagers in black robes to make sense....are they cultists?.....are cultists scary? who decided that the spencer gifts scary robe guy was the ultimate in haunted couture?
    My advice (solicited or not) is to know your theme then pick your characters , then think of what it makes sense for them to wear. It is that simple.

    Make all your own costumes?
    I like to sculpt most of my own masks, I know that is not an option for everyone, but I do not want my audience to see my monsters anywhere else. customization is always an option even for purchased masks. The costume pieces We do not make, we choose. Thrift stores are awesome for haunt costumes.

    How does your haunt go about purchasing or making costumes based on size?
    If you consider the characters and make them first it greatly helps in the sizing dept. Here is an example. If you want Jason in your haunt then do not buy him a size medium costume, or he will not be jason, he will be a kid in a Jason costume. Develop characters first then make costumes to fit the character you developed. Make ten more costumes than you need, make three for big folks, make three for small folks, make four for medium sized folks.

    Do you know what type of actor you want to hire for a part and construct their costume based on that? (ie. pre-done size and you hire for that body type?) Do you hire and alter the costume later?
    This is crazy talk here and just what my experience and training have taught me so you do not have to listen or agree. If you know the role that that character has to play in the house, then that will tell you the body type you need. Do you need a big person to slow them down in that area? do you need a victim that requires a ton of energy (thin younger person). Reading body-types is an art form in its self. Its easy to know if you need a mesomorph, ectomorph, or kinetomorph for a certain role. Make a costume for the role you need then fill that costume with the right body type of actor. Knowing body types and the means (averages) of each will help you in all aspects of your show It is a factor in relations with both actors and guests. Study body morphology and you will know by looking what you can expect from certain actors, certain guests.

    Think of each costume as a character and that will help you on the way to costuming success.
    Allen H
     

  5. Default  
    #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    323
    Good thread idea! All GREAT info here so far..
    At Netherworld, we have a combo of everything. We make a lot of our own costumes but altered thrift store pieces have been a staple since our beginnings. Our Icon characters are all custom-made.
    We hire first, then costume to fit if we have time, but that's usually not a luxury that most haunts have.
    I'll buy some things in bulk, coveralls for example if I know I need a lot and buy a big range of sizes. Depends on the show's storyline & characters. We've had actors from dwarf-size to 7'2" and from XS-10XL, so yeah.. it's always good to have a HUGE range of sizes available if you can.
    Other things factor in like special needs actors, and any costumes used for stunts, like flying rigs or sliders..
    Most of our actors in the actual show use their own pants & shoes, but over the years, we've supplied these pieces to create a better whole look. it all depends on what is seen by the customer. The ones that work the outside lines are dressed head to toe.
    Our show is in Atlanta, & not air-conditioned, which means we still have very hot & humid nights when we open in Sept & in early Oct. so that factors in as well.
    I have a lot of sleeveless gowns & tank-tops & often the chainsaw guys go shirtless,(in body makeup) but I also have to keep warmer stock for when the temps start dipping drastically at the end of Oct., so we do a lot of accessorizing.
    missjayne
    Netherworld Haunted Attractions
    http://www.fearworld.com/
     

  6. Default  
    #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    San Diego, Clairemont
    Posts
    597
    Well at all the haunts i have worked at the costumes are pretty generic. I personally didn't like them, I had a few sig. characters that the owner liked. So i talked to him, and showed him my design for the costume and he gave it the OK. Now i have my home made costumes that look great. Most haunts are open to either.
     

  7. Default Thank you all sooooo much!! 
    #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, SC
    Posts
    756
    Considering my questions were geared towards a start-up, you all gave me GREAT feedback!! While my haunt grows, stock up...and when it gets on it's feet, continue stocking up! haha. Allen H, you were the entire reason I posted this and it was because of your reply to "If you could give only one piece of advice" that I was looking forward to your response most!!!

    I had my first run in with a top-notch pro haunt this last season (SCarowinds) and after they interviewed/hired us, they took our measurements for costumes. I guess that makes it easier for wardrobe to choose our character and what costume we would be wearing. Don't know how or why I got to be the voodoo guy, but it was awesome and I made the costume my own by incorporating a staff that I purchased and asking wardrobe for a top hat and a bone necklace.

    THANKS AGAIN EVERYONE!!!
     

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