I knew I wanted to create a cosplay to wear to LACC that would be creepy since the con was on Halloween weekend. I had recently binge-watched Stranger Things and am completely in love with that show. I originally was going to do an Eleven cosplay, but during my research of her outfit, I came across a photo of someone who cosplayed the wall by writing the alphabet on their shirt and wrapping lights around them self. The cosplay was simple, but brilliant! I was inspired by the idea, but instead of a shirt, I wanted to use a dress, so the alphabet could be bigger and stand out more. Using a dress would also allow me to use bigger Christmas light bulbs, like the ones used in the show. Even though I would use a dress instead of a shirt, I still felt like the idea wasn't original enough and it needed something to make it my own and also give it that wow factor. I was thinking that maybe I could get a friend to dress up as a Demogorgan with me, but I was running out of time and would never be able to finish my costume, as well as one for a friend. That's when I got the idea of making just the Demogorgon hand and having it appear as though it's ripping through me.
The dress was just a used vintage dress I had found on eBay for $15. I tried to find one that looked as close to the wallpaper in the show as possible. Finding the correct Christmas lights were tricky, because what I wanted was very specific. I needed a certain size bulb, enough lights for at least 26 letters of the alphabet, the lights needed to blink and it needed it to be battery operated. I could only find ones with strands of 20 lights, then I finally found one seller on eBay with my specifications, but it was used. I purchased them and crossed my fingers that it would even turn on. Thankful it worked perfect! Knowing the lights would be heavy and weigh down my dress, I purchased a petticoat to wear underneath to give the dress some "fluff." I painted the alphabet on the dress using black acrylic paint and did my best to mimic the style & even drip marks from the wall in the show. Now for the hard part....the Demogorgan hand. I began constructing the shape using craft foam and Barge rubber cement. I then covered the craft foam in Worbla to give it sturdiness and texture. Then painted it with various layers & colors of acrylic paint to give depth and finally coated it with a gloss medium to give it a slimy look. To make the hand look like it was coming out of my stomach, I made a base out of craft foam, attached the wrist of the hand to that and used Velcro to attach the underside of the base to a corset I wore under my dress. I cut a hole in the dress, stuck the hand through and BOOM, you have a gateway to The Upside Down.
I had a lot of people tell me it was the best Stranger Things cosplay that they had ever seen. I am thankful, but cannot take full credit, because I did have a lot of inspiration. I did enjoy the reaction to people that initially saw my dress from behind and was shocked when I turned around and they saw this hand coming out of my body. That was fun!
At LACC, some friends had told me that they saw a booth that had a Demogorgan head prop and that I should check it out. They brought me to the booth and I began chatting with the people there. They told me my cosplay was great and said that I had matched the flower pattern on my dress to the wallpaper in the show perfectly. Then a gentleman behind the booth asked me how I made my Demogorgon hand. I had said, "It's just craft foam & Worbla. It came out ok. I couldn't find good screen shots, so parts of it I made up." He then said, "No, it's great! I'm the creator." My jaw dropped. I had no idea that I was speaking to Aaron Sims, the creator of the Demogorgon for the actual Stranger Things show! To hear him give me any kind of praise on my work, made me speechless.
I enjoy making cosplays just as much as I enjoy wearing them. There's this personal satisfaction that I get when I put something on, look in the mirror and say, "Wow, I made this!" But that is just a small portion of why I love cosplaying. The huge reason why I cosplay is to give back to the community. Seeing the smile on a child's face when they see you in costume is the best thing in the world. You can be having the worst day possible, but put on a costume and as soon as that first child runs up smiling and gives you a huge hug, all your worries go away, just knowing you just made someone's day. Because of moments like this, I had joined several not-for-profit costume clubs that allow me the opportunity to volunteer at other costumed events besides conventions, such as charity fundraisers and children's hospital visits. I get so much happiness from creating & wearing my cosplays, so why not use it to make others happy as well?