Upgrade complete: Costume not found

It’s been a while since I posted to this site. In the meantime, I got: a new job, an electric car, solar panels, and most recently, a newer job. It’s nearing October and I don’t have any Halloween costume ideas yet.

As a child in the 1980s, around Halloween I frequently saw Ben Cooper/Collegeville costumes. These costumes included a cheap mask, which would be the face of a character — most-likely from a licensed entertainment property from movies/tv/comic books. Fair enough. But the body of the costume consisted of a vinyl smock which, rather than merely showing that character’s upper body, would instead show the entire character with name/logo. It made it difficult to pretend that you were that character, since it was a meta costume: you weren’t dressed up as ‘the Incredible Hulk’; you were dressed up as the abstract concept of ‘the licensed Marvel property of the Incredible Hulk’.

The costumes pull you out of the imaginary universe by reminding you that you aren’t (pretending to be) the Incredible Hulk, gamma-ray infused super-hero. You are (pretending to be) an all-too-real concept: the Incredible Hulk, licensed Marvel property. In contrast to these Halloween costumes, I am fascinated with ‘fictional artifacts’: the sort of object that purports to be from its own fictional world, without making that self-aware meta wink. Instead of a t-shirt that says ‘the Incredible Hulk’ on it, it would be a t-shirt that said something such as ‘Desert State University, Navapo, New Mexico’ (a fictional university where Bruce Banner studied).

A list of some ‘fictional artifacts’ that I own:

  • Back to the Future items:
    • color-shifting hat
    • self-drying jacket
    • Nike light-up sneakers
    • hoverboard
    • barcode license plate
    • items from Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History:
      • fading photo of McFly siblings
      • Gray’s Sports Almanac dust jacket
      • etc.
  • Star Trek items:
    • Horga’hn statuette
    • isolinear optic chip (USB thumb drive)
    • various technical manuals
    • Enterprise-D blueprints
    • The Klingon Dictionary
    • The Klingon Hamlet
  • Aperture Science pint glasses
  • Scribblenauts ‘rooster helmet’ hat
  • Bioshock Eve syringe
  • t-shirts:
    • Skynet / Cyberdyne
    • Weyland-Yutani*
    • Team Zissou
    • Camp Anawanna
  • books:
    • Ship of Theseus by VM Straka
    • House of Leaves by Zampanò & Johnny Truant
    • Codex Seraphinianus

*Birthday Bonus: tonight’s Quizzo pub trivia included a round of fictional corporations, including a question about this one.

2 thoughts on “Upgrade complete: Costume not found

  1. Hey Tad! Great to see you getting your creative on. I appreciate the self-awareness of your kiddie Halloween Costumes. Just wondering – was there an episode or movie where a Klingon Shakespeare Troupe did a Hamlet revival, or is that something that was inferred to have happened? Hope all is well! Tim

  2. In one of the movies (Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country), one of the Klingons says ‘You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon.’ Another Klingon then goes on to say ‘To be or not to be’ in Klingon. With that line as the inspiration, Klingon language fans translated Hamlet ‘back into Klingon’ and it was eventually published as a book. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Klingon_Hamlet for more info

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