DIY: How to Make a Santa Claus Costume

With #Christmas just around the corner, a very popular #costume at this time of year is a #SantaClaus (or #FatherChristmas) costume. While there are a variety of off-the-shelf Santa Claus costumes available, quality and cost can vary widely. There’s also the option of renting a Santa Claus costume.

Basic Components

The basic components that are needed for a Santa Claus costume are as follows:

  1. A red coat with white faux fur trim at the bottom of coat, along the coat opening and at the ends of the sleeves. Ideally, the sleeves should be wide.
  2. Matching red pants, ideally made from the same material as the coat. (There are common variations for the pants.)
  3. A wide black belt with a large rectangular open belt buckle worn over the coat at waist level.
  4. A red stocking style hat with white faux fur trim and a white cotton ball at the end. The hat should be the same material as the coat and pants.
  5. One pair of black boots. Ideally, the boots should have round toes (not square toed or pointed) and probably 12 inches tall. The boots should also have black soles. The boots can be shiny or matte. (There are common variations for the boots.)
  6. A long white beard and mustache.
  7. A red toy bag.

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Common Variations

Not all Santa Claus / Father Christmas costumes are the same. Some common variations are listed below:

  • White gloves are a very common variant, but aren’t required. Red, black or even dark brown gloves are also possible.
  • While it is common for the red pants to be tucked into the black boots, the pants can also be worn over the boots. If the pants are tucked in, white faux fur that matches the trim on the coat and hat can be used to trim the top of the shafts of the boots. If the pants aren’t tucked in, white faux fur can be used to trim the bottom of the pants legs.

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  • Coat length can vary from standard coat length (below the waist) to knee length or ankle length. Older versions of Santa Claus typically have longer coat lengths. Father Christmas is more common with a long coat length.
  • Shoulder flaps on the coat are another possible coat variant. These are typically made of the same fabric as the coast itself and should also be trimmed with the same faux fur as the bottom of the coat and coat opening.
  • Pudginess also varies quite a bit. While the traditional Santa Claus is seen as being rather pudgy, other versions (often with a longer coat) aren’t as pudgy. If you’re going for the traditional pudgy Santa Claus, you’ll want a fat suit or some other kind of stuffing to create that appearance. You’ll also need to adjust the waist & chest sizes of the coast to accommodate the amount of desired pudginess.
  • Coat and pants don’t necessarily have to be red. Some versions of Santa Claus / Father Christmas show him wearing a green coat and pants. While any color can be used, red is the best, followed by green. Once you choose a color, make sure that the pants and coat are the same color; they should not be different colors or different shades.

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  • Another variation involving the coat has it kept open with a gold-buttoned red vest being worn beneath. For this style, the vest isn’t made from the same material as the coat and can be embroidered. Also, both openings of the coat should have white faux fur trim. In this variation, the belt should be worn beneath the coat and not over it.

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  • Gold embroidery on the coat can also be added.

Materials

  • The best fabric choice for the coat and pants is velvet, but any cotton fabric can also be used. The fabric should be woven, not knit, which could stretch. Use the same fabric for the pants, coat & hat. A vest (if used) can be made using a different fabric.
  • The belt can be faux leather, not necessarily real leather.
  • White faux fur for the trim. It’s best to be consistent with the type of white faux fur being used throughout the costume.
  • Patterns for the coat, pants and hat.

Pick a Style & Have Fun

The best thing to do is to pick a style for your Santa Claus costume and then follow it to create the desired look. Then go out & have fun!

 

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Cosplaying as a Star Wars Vehicle

#StarWars #costumes & #cosplayers are rather common, but #cosplaying as a “Star War” vehicle is quite different. #Kotaku shared an article about cosplayers who dress up as “Star Wars” vehicles. Common vehicle #cosplays include an AT-AT, AT-ST, Death Star, TIE fighter & more. Below are a few examples:

AT-ST, Millennium Falcon, TIE fighter:

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AT-AT:

Another AT-ST:

Child AT-ST:

Imperial Star Destroyer:

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RIP John Mollo, Creator of Iconic “Star Wars” Costumes

#RIP: Academy Award winning #costume designer John Mollo has died at 86. He created the iconic #StarWars costumes using Ralph McQuarrie’s iconic concept artwork for the movie.

Some of the most popular #costumes & #cosplays that have been worn for several decades come from #StarWars and were the creation of John Mollo. Working with a meager budget, John Mollo transformed Ralph McQuarrie’s images into wearable costumes. Sometimes he started with stock wardrobe items, sometimes he used last-minute improvisation, including the backpacks worn by the sandtroopers on Tatooine.

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For his efforts, John Mollo won the 1978 Academy Award for Best Costume Design. Below is the the presentation of the nominees and John Mollo’s acceptance speech from the 1978 Academy Awards:

Our deepest condolences to the family, friends & fans of John Mollo. May he rest in peace. His work will never be forgotten.

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Questions That Should Be Asked Before Creating a Costume Club

Before going through the complex process of creating a new #CostumeClub, several important questions should be asked first:

1. Is a new costume club necessary/why is it being created? If another (or several other) costume clubs exists that already includes the costumes that you are wanting to have in a new costume club, then the creation of another similar costume club seems unnecessary. Something should be unique to justify the creation of another costume club.

2. Who is the costume club being created for? The creation of any club should, first and foremost, be for the people who join the club. If a costume club is being created for any other reasons than for the people who join, then it should probably not be created.

3. Will members have a voice in how the costume club operates? If the members who join a new costume club ultimately have no say in how the club operates, this suggests several things about those who created the costume club: possibly a lack of empathy towards others, a need to control others, a lack of trust towards others, etc. As stated above, a costume club is first and foremost about those who join the club. Hence, those that join must be given opportunities in how the club operates.

4. Will protections exist to keep the costume club together? A costume club that operates without a written charter or with a charter that doesn’t specify sufficient procedures and protections for the members, then the possibility exists that the club could be irreparably damaged or disbanded when problems occur. Anyone who creates a costume club must do so with the understanding that problems could occur and that protections must be in place before the problems occur. While no one can predict what may happen, looking at what other costume clubs have done to protect themselves through their written charters should give you some idea as to what you will also need.

If the answers to any of the above questions do not favor the members who join a costume club after its created, then it should not be created in the first place. Creating a costume club is a responsibility to those who join. They are the reason the costume club should exist.

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Why Costume Clubs Fail: A Learning Opportunity

With the abrupt & unexpected shutdown of a #CostumeClub last week, we want to explore the various reasons that can contribute to a costume club failing & use it as a learning opportunity. The failure of a costume club is probably not going to be due to a single reason. Rather, a combination of negative factors can so weaken a club or its leadership to such an extent that it simply implodes. That is essentially what happened last week when a costume club chose to disband without warning.

So, with no further ado, here are some of the reasons that might lead to a costume club failing.

1. Inexperienced Leadership

Probably one of the most significant reasons that can lead to a costume club’s downfall is inexperienced leadership. Before someone is elected or appointed to a leadership position, the individual should be able to demonstrate that they are qualified to handle the responsibilities of the position. This is especially true if the position is equivalent to being a club president.

This is no different when someone applies and potentially interviews for a job at a business. Hiring an unqualified person into a job means that the job isn’t going to be done well, correctly or at all. For a business, this can result in loss of revenue, loss of credibility with customers, loss of business, etc. The negative impact to a costume club can be similar.

While a resume is the typical way that a job candidate demonstrates their abilities & qualifications for a job, listed below are some (certainly not all) qualifications that could potentially demonstrate someone’s qualifications for being in a costume club’s leadership position:

  • Length of membership. Someone who has been a costume club member for more than a year (for example) would be more qualified than someone who only joined a few months before because they would have more experience in how the club operates. Time spent in a costume club is akin to on-the-job-training & experience.
  • Participation. If someone doesn’t participate frequently in costume club events, how can they demonstrate that they have a firm understanding of how events are organized and how members should conduct themselves at events? Someone who attends nearly every event would be far more experienced than someone who only participates once or twice a year, even if the person who has participated at more events hasn’t been in the club as long as the person who rarely participates. This is also akin to on-the-job-training & experience.
  • Costume club charter familiarity. Someone who isn’t familiar with a costume club’s charter isn’t going to be as prepared to know what can or cannot be done than someone who is very familiar with it. Rash decisions and decisions that are inconsistent with a costume club’s rules are more likely to happen with someone who doesn’t know the club’s charter.
  • Personality. Someone who doesn’t form interpersonal relationships as well as someone who can won’t be as effective a leader because they won’t be able to interact with the members as effectively. Also, someone who is more argumentative is also not going to be the best choice for a leadership role. Costume clubs thrive when the members are having fun; member morale & participation drops when they don’t want to be around argumentative members, especially when they are the ones making decisions for the club.

The club that shut down last week did not have the most experienced or qualified people in the top most leadership roles. This was a red flag. 🚩

(For additional reading, on Jan. 6, 2016, we wrote a post on our Facebook page describing the differences between good costume club leadership and poor leadership. We may update and re-post this soon on this blog.)

2. Top-Heavy Leadership Structure

Any costume club that concentrates leadership at the top and doesn’t distribute & delegate decision making adequately is only setting itself up to fail as the number of members in the costume club grows. This paradigm may work when there are only 50 or less members, but once a club has over 100 members and the numbers continue to  grow, the ability of the leaders in a top-heavy structure to make decisions and keep up with the increasing responsibility can become overly stressful and lead to collapse, especially when those leaders are unwilling to either step down or be willing to start delegating decisions and responsibilities to others.

The club that shut down last week was very top-heavy by design. This was yet another red flag. 🚩

(For additional reading, on Jan. 28, 2016, we wrote a post on our Facebook page showing differences between democratic & oligarchical costume club leaderships.)

3. Poor Decision Making

Any leadership that deliberately deceives other members or doesn’t take the time to verify the validity of information it receives before acting on that information is not only unqualified to lead, it may be making very poor decisions that damage the club’s credibility or it’s ability to operate at all.

It is our understanding from interviewing several individuals that were part of the club that disbanded last week that the decision to disband was a combination of unverified information, as well as possibly deceptive information being used to support disbanding. This was another red flag. 🚩

4. Unresolved Internal Conflict

This is something we have touched on before. Any time costume club leadership permits unresolved internal conflict to flourish or directly participates in it, members will stop participating. Sometimes, members will leave en masse. The whole purpose of a costume club is to have fun and (quite often) participate in charitable work while wearing costumes.

When a costume club’s leadership fails in its responsibility to resolve conflict (both internal and external), it is demonstrating that it has completely forgotten the costume club’s mission or that that mission is no longer relevant to them. Either way, the result will be bad for the club and its members.

It’s our understanding that some serious internal conflict occurred within the costume club leadership that disbanded last week only a few weeks before its leaders voted to disband. This would have been a very large red flag. 🚩

5. Lack of Regard for the Membership

While this may be more difficult to detect, when a costume club’s leadership doesn’t have much regard for the club’s members, the leadership may make decisions that are not in the best interest of the members.

Disbanding a club without warning would be the most obvious example, but impossible to do anything about once it has occurred. Leadership that is not particularly transparent or doesn’t regularly communicate with the members are two other methods that the leadership’s amount of regard for the members could be revealed.

6. Vaguely Written Club Charter

A costume club’s charter is equivalent to a constitution. It defines how the club operates, how new members can be approved, how members are expected to behave, how disciplinary action is handled, etc.

But, what happens when a costume club’s charter is written so vaguely that many procedures aren’t really defined or some procedures aren’t defined at all? In this situation, such a charter grants the leadership relatively unlimited power because it doesn’t limit what they can do or define how things are supposed to be done.

This is precisely how the costume club that disbanded last week was able to do so with impunity: it’s charter did not define a procedure for how the club could be disbanded, so all that was needed was a simple majority of its now defunct council. The defunct costume club’s vaguely written charter was another red flag. 🚩

Concluding Remarks: A Learning Opportunity

We could go on, but suffice it to say that before joining a costume club (as we have advised in the past), make sure that you understand how the club is organized beforehand. All of the things explained above are potential red flags and the more red flags that exist for a costume club, the more better off you probably are by not joining it. If you do join it, just be prepared that its future may be questionable. The prime example is what actually happened one week ago today: if a club’s charter doesn’t explain how it can be disbanded, then it’s entirely possible that it could be disbanded in the blink of an eye by its leadership with no warning to the members.

There is a silver lining: failure should always be regarded as an opportunity to learn.

While the costume club that disbanded last week will never have the opportunity to learn from its mistakes since it no longer exists, it is still a learning opportunity for all other current and future costume clubs to understand how this particular club failed so that they don’t make the same mistakes that lead to its downfall.

Let that be the legacy of the failed costume club: for all other costume clubs to have a far better chance of long-term success.

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