Amateur Cosplay: Halloween Town/Christmas Town from Kingdom Hearts II + OC Keyblade

For the past few years, my dabbling in cosplay has only gone as far as annual Halloween costumes. With a small budget, I have made decent cosplays for myself and for my siblings. However, after attending San Diego Comic-Con 2021: Special Edition, I was inspired to attempt to pursue cosplay as an active hobby. Thus, I wanted to begin with a costume I made about three years ago.

I spent a small amount of time playing Kingdom Hearts: Union X, an app game installment to the Kingdom Hearts saga. As an award from various accomplishments, I was able to purchase in-game the various accessories for both the Christmas Town disguise and Halloween Town disguises from Kingdom Hearts II. Christmas Town and Halloween Town both originate from Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, and is a world that you can explore in both Kingdom Hearts I and II.

Concept

This costume was an instance where I used only what I already had at home, and didn’t need to make trips to the local craft store for materials. I couldn’t decide on which variation of the costume I wanted to do; and such, using the reference from my original character in Union X, I combined elements of both versions of the disguises for my cosplay.

What I concluded is I would primarily be drawing inspiration from Sora’s Christmas Town costume with a sprinkle bit of Halloween Town thrown in. I really liked the orange Halloween mask and a few other details from the Halloween costume, so I incorporated those elements into the design. I also did not make the Decisive Pumpkin, the Halloween Town keyblade, nor the Kingdom Key, Sora’s original keyblade. Instead, I decided to make my OC (Original Character) Kiera’s keyblade, the Dreamseeker, as crafting my own keyblade has been on my bucket list for quite a while. So you could say this is a Sora/OC cosplay.

Materials

First off, I used cotton black fabric and thin fleece white fabric for both the Santa-esk hat as well as some details for the torso. The white fabric was used for trim for the torso shirt and hat, as well as creating a little white ball on the end of the hat. Stuffing filling was used for the shirt collar as well as the ball-end of the hat. I used a Guilden-brand, cotton, long sleeve shirt from Hobby Lobby, and a pair of black jeans I already had in my closet. I later implemented a pair of fingerless wool black gloves and a black pair of tennis shoes. I was unable to stylize much below the torso, as feet are personally one of the more difficult parts of cosplay. I hand-sewn all of the trimming, as well as the hat on my own. I had a sewing machine, but I’m still learning how to use one, and it has since been jammed due to my recent move to a new town.

Detailing on the torso was done with silver metallic fabric paint, and the “buttons” were made with leftover foam board combined with duct tape to thicken the size as well as smooth the edges. The “buttons” were also hand sewn onto the torso.

OC Keyblade

The keyblade was by far the most challenging part of this project. It was the first time I had ever dealt with PVC pipe. I eventually decided on a four foot, 1/2 inch PVC pipe at Lowe’s. I used two sheets of foam board for the teeth and handle and carved them out using an X-acto knife. Like the buttons on the torso, I used duct tape to smooth over the edges and hide the not-so-exact carving job.

Later, after using duct tape to tape all the parts onto the PVC pipe, I painted over everything. I used a relatively bright pink for the rod, a darker, reddish pink for the handles and keychain, silver moon, gold star, and dark blue night sky for the teeth of the keyblade. Lastily, I topped everything off with silver lace ribbon to loosely tie around the rod to create a whimsical, dream-like aesthetic.

It’s not cleanly crafted, and I might remake the Dreamseeker in the future, when and if I sharpen my skills, but I’m proud of it. I consider it a landmark in my journey as an amateur costume designer.

Conclusion

This is an old costume I dug out of storage for the purpose of display and pursuing cosplay as a bigger hobby. It’s not perfect, nor professionally made, but it’s a chapter of my journey as an artist. Even the ruggedness seems to reflect the gothic, comedic imperfections of Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas. I hope to continue my journey and improve my craft.

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