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Costume Parties on Campus

As far back as humans have clear records of celebratory events and festive gatherings, we have records of people dressing up in costumes of one kind or another. Some of these were religious or ceremonial in nature, but most cultures also did it for fun and amusement. In Britain they had what they called "Fancy Dress" balls and all over the world people had theme parties. What they call came down to was the same thing: Costume Parties. People dressing up in costumes for enjoyment.

Central University of New Town is no exception to this world-wide tradition. Costume parties have been a part of the college experience as long as there have been universities. The only thing that changes over time are the costumes themselves. What's a popular, or even acceptable, costume depends on the year or culture the event takes place in.

On campus here the costumes range from the highly elaborate to the completely makeshift. People can spend months making nearly historically accurate costume, or even highly elaborate original creations with more detail than you'd find a movie prop. Others grab some duct tape, cardboard, paint, and plastic bits and pull some crazy hodge-podge of a costume together. Either way the end result is good enough to have fun at a costume party with your friends.

The only thing that's important is that you have fun with it.

One popular type of costume (usually more on the elaborate side of things) that many people choose are those based on some popular property, like a movie or comic book. Although there are some timeless choices, this is an area of costume choice that changes the most frequently, as trends come and go along with the popularity of their related properties.

The most commonly seen costumes are those from comic books (like Batman or the X-Men) and popular movies with distinct costumes, animated or live action (like Disney cartoons or Star Wars). Many of these franchises have numerous possible costume choices for people of all genders, body types, and comfort levels. Which one a person chooses depends on what interests them and what they feel they are both comfortable with and could pull off.

Another aspect of choosing a costume on campus is dealing with the Dress Integrity Code. Any costume a person chooses has to be able to pass muster of the codes, of they may have to remove it and not get to wear it to their party. Some see this restriction as preventing them from wearing certain costumes (like any male student going as Jafar from Aladin, since he wore a long robe that would count as a dress within the DIC), but others see this as a challenge in costume design. They simply see that you have to be creative and rework the costume to be legal under the codes. This can be as simple as changing pants to a skirt on a super-heroine (like Power Girl or Rogue) or simply doing a redesign that keeps the same basic feel and appearance, but is within the guidelines of the codes.

The one area of many superhero costumes that completely throws things off because of the codes are the inclusion of capes. Capes in and of themselves are an article of clothing that can count as a top or a dress (depending on length) . Sometimes they can be made as an irremovable part of a top, but making them too long this way gets into a gray area that will certainly lead to court hearings and a confiscation of the costume until that hearing. Most find it's better to either forgo the cape altogether (if it's not the focal point of the costume) or simply wearing the cape without anything under it (especially if the cape is the most important symbolic piece of the costume). Both of these options will pass muster within the codes (unless a long cape is bing worn by a make student, since it would count as a dress).

On the opposite side of the spectrum from the people doing the highly elaborate character based costumes are those that go extremely low cost and low-tech. With little more than a cardboard box and some tape people can create a completely workable fun and silly cheap costume. These creations can often be pulled together last minute and require no planning, so if you are late to fining out about the party you can still go.

Sometimes people will simply pull on a box and wear it like a dress (as you can see from the example to the left) and other times they will spend hours or even days forming the cardboard into an elaborate costume of some kind (like a robot or samurai of cardboard). What you do with the cheap supplies is completely up to you, your timeframe, and your willingness to put the work into it. There have been some truly amazing creations just using cardboard and duct tape.

What kind of box you use can also be used as part of the costume itself. It is entirely possible to use the packaging art as part of the costume or as some kind of reference or even statement. The box itself can be the costume, or the fact that you are a person half breaking out of the box could be as much a part of the costume's meaning as the box itself. The effect of this can be comical (like the example to the right of a guy dressed as a sausage pizza) to serious, depending n the intent and design.

It is also possible to combine the concept of the cardboard box costume (usually with the intent of making a statement) with that of a more standard costume, but you have to be careful not run into DIC violations when doing this. It's usually better to restrict the cardboard box to either one half of the body or only use costume accessories in addition to the box in these cases. This can lead to great costumes of something other than a normal human trying to escape or emerge from the box.

One area that people can use to completely avoid any potential Dress Integrity Code violations is through the use of body paint. Paint can be just as elaborate and detailed as any costume can be, but without any single piece of clothing being involved that can violate anything.

The most common use of body paint is to emulate actual clothing or a costume of some kind. This can allow the costumed person to wear the appearance of nearly any kind of costume without actually wearing any piece of it. It can look like numerous layers, or several overlapping components, or even completely illegal types of clothing within the codes for their sex. Girls can wear a painted on pair of pants or shorts or even panties, while guys can have a painted on kilt (which would look realistic as long as they keep their legs together).

Although this method can be used to create nearly any kind of costume you wish, the idea of actually wearing nothing more than paint is too much for some people to get past. Although they are visually covered by the costume paint, they can't get past the idea that they are walking around naked. That means that this style of costuming is not for everyone. But there are some that get an extra kick from it (like the girl in the example to the right who wore a paint costume, but didn't actually cover any of her naughty bits with it).

Body paint can also be used in combination with other forms of costuming as long as the rules are followed. The painted area has to be completely uncovered, since covering any part of the paint would be a violation of the rules. This can allow people to do things they otherwise couldn't get away with (like a guy painting the batman symbol on his chest and wearing a short batman cape with some black pants and a yellow utility belt). The only thing you have to be careful of is getting accused of covering your paint, so be aware of how your clothing parts of the costume lays on you.

Our discussion of costume parties and the various kinds of costumes our students have been seen wearing would not be complete without mentioning one that seems somewhat unique to our campus (although I'm sure does exist in a few pockets elsewhere in the world). That is the concept of minimalist costumes.

Since nudity is such a somewhat common sight around campus, some people have decided that nudity within the form of a costume is just as valid as any other costume choice. These students don't shy away from costumes that would leave part or even all of their body truly naked (as could be seen with the body paint and Batgirl examples above). To them, being in costume seems to be just the excuse they need to allow themselves to walk around in some state of undress.

This can be something that actually integrates the nudity into the costume itself (as was seen with the girl who dressed as the Japanese character Kekko Kamen, the naked ninja for several years) or simply using accessories to imply the costume while otherwise being completely naked (as with the witch example to the right). Sometimes accessories are all you need to imply the character you are dressed as, so why bother with any other part of the costume? Exactly how much nudity is up to the person choosing the costume, since this extreme form of exposure is not within everyone's comfort zone.

Although most common around Halloween, costumes are not just a once a year thing for the students here. Some think that any excuse to have one is good enough, and some people don't even need the excuse. Some will be themed (Like monster movie characters, alien related, or even to come dressed as if you are from a certain decade) and others will be completely open to your own whim. No matter how they are set up, dressing in a costume with all your friends can be great fun.

No matter how you choose to dress for them, costume parties are highly enjoyable and entertaining part of the college experience, especially here at Central University of New Town. If you haven't had a chance to experience one, make sure you do before your time here is up. You don't want to miss out on one of the most original and fun experiences of the college experience.

For more Featured Students see the Community Spotlight Archives.
Last modified on 2013/12/8 by Admin
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