This morning I got off the train in the Loop and got in line at my regular Dunkin Donuts. Behind me was Wednesday Addams. Ahead of me was an 80’s pop star. When I arrived at the office, I found Wakko Warner, Dot Warner, a Shark, the Boat The Shark Ate Half Of, Ocelot from Metal Gear Solid, Clark Kent, and a guy dressed as a busted coffee machine (an in-joke because the big fancy one in the office is constantly breaking).
It should be noted that all of the aforementioned humans are Grown Ups. And all of them have a ‘real’ job at an office in downtown Chicago. And all of them wore costumes to work today.
Tomorrow is Halloween (duh) and although I won’t be trick or treating, I am pausing to reflect on how awesome it is that one of the ways we celebrate this holiday is by publicly playing dress up. As a cosplaying nerd AND a theatre person AND a historical reenactor, my daily desire to dress up in costume/period accurate clothing/etc is strong. Very strong. My “normal” brain, when faced with the news of a costume contest at work, said: “Wear something easy and comfortable. You have SO MANY costumes to choose from. My costumer brain said: “QUICK MAKE SOMETHING TOTALLY NEW FROM SCRATCH!” My cosplayer brain said: “Smaug hasn’t been out for a walk in a while. Maybe wear Smaug to work?”
It was a discussion my brain(s) had ongoing for, like, two whole weeks. Round and round about what to wear I went, and happy at the chance to dress up and impress my coworkers at the same time. I almost went with something comfy (my Eeyore onesie was calling to me, precioussss) but my cosplay brain won out and Smaug came out of storage.
Granted, I could not wear Smaug on the train for my commute – rush hour on the Brown Line isn’t exactly spacious. But I arrived at work early and changed diligently into my dragon dress. It turned out to be pretty comfy – more than I remembered from when I first debuted it at C2E2 in 2014. The only thing was my skirts kept getting caught in my rolly chair, but overall I felt it was an acceptable handicap.
I am proud to say I won Best Homemade Costume in the contest, though I’m told I was also nominated in the Most Creative category. My prize is – I kid you not – an Iron Man mini-fridge.
I am a sucker for bizarre nerd merch.
It was nice to be recognized for the hard work I put into my costume, and it was nice that a ton of people in my office whom I have never spoken to before felt comfortable approaching me to ask how I made it, how long it took, where I got the idea from, etc. But more even than that it was nice to dress up and wear this costume out, to be one of many costumed folk in the office, to enjoy the silliness and fun of costumes in general and celebrating Halloween a day early. It reminded me of being younger, painstakingly planning The Best Halloween Costume Ever each and every year, thrilling at the chance to wear whatever I wanted for a day AND be rewarded with candy for that creativity.
I hope I never lose that delight.