For those following along, I’ve spent the last month working on this Wasp costume for Adafruit’s #ElectronicHalloween project. Here’s the last blog installment, with details on building the animatronic wing pack.
Phil did an absolutely amazing job in record time and I wore the costume pretty much all day on Friday (I was performing at a big corporate halloween party all day) and Saturday, Halloween itself, where I spent the day doing a really fun photo shoot with Lieven from Subversive Photography, then ended up at a good friend’s party shooting robot zombies with laser guns (including Marauder, who was cleverly disguised as a Spirit Halloween Store robot a-la ET and the stuffies, but that’s a whole other story).
Here’s a sneak peek from the photo shoot… I can’t wait to see the rest of the finished images!
On Friday at the corporate party where I was performing, there were tons of little tiny kids in superhero costumes. The place was overrun with little Batmen and Spidermen, plenty of Iron Men and the occasional Wonder Woman. (I only saw two Elsas, which is quite a change from last year!) There were an astonishing number of Bat-girl and Super-girl costumes. I was actually really surprised at how many little girls chose to be superheroes this year .. and a bit disappointed that most of them had to settle for feminine knockoffs of male superheroes.
Someday I would love to see a little boy dressed as a male knockoff of Wonder Woman. Wouldn’t that be something.
Nobody recognized me as Wasp (probably because she’s only been hinted at in a Marvel movie thus far). But wearing this all day really pointed out the big gaping hole where female superhero costumes ought to be.
We chose to keep the wing mechanics fairly visible and prototype-y looking, and that was a really good move. People would walk around behind me, do a double take, then circle around and demand a demonstration of what the wings could do. Always happy to oblige.
I’ve performed as a fairy for years so I know how to move through a crowd with a big wingspan. However, I have to say it’s a really great feature that I can collapse the wings when it gets crowded or when I have to go through a door or use a bathroom stall. Though I can’t sit down when the wings are collapsed, so there was a little bit of a learning curve as I navigated around.
I had people come up and tell me they’d been watching me on and off all day, hoping for a glimpse of the wings moving. This costume was a huge hit.
For Halloween night, I wanted to add some lights to the wings. I had just received a shipment of a couple of Pixie LEDs (super duper bright and addressable). I’d been planning to put EL wire along the top of each wing, but I just .. well, I just sort of hate the way EL wire looks. I ended up mounting one Pixie LED between the upper and lower wings on each side and trying to angle them so they cast light on the wings. I had mixed success here. They do cast ambient light, and look okay, but it’s not really the effect I want. I’ll possibly try using fiber optic or light pipe with the Pixie LEDs and see what happens.
The helmet was also a huge hit. Originally the intention was to sand it down and smooth it out so it didn’t look 3d-printed, but what with one thing and another, that ended up not happening. I added some gold and black highlights with paint (and sharpie, when nobody was looking) and added some neopixels and control buttons so I can control animation modes, color and brightness.
The helmet performed like a boss as soon as we decided to just allow it to be what it wanted — 3d printed and proud. Loads of people at both the corporate halloween party and my friend’s party did double takes — “whoa, is that actually 3d printed!!?!” so again, letting the tech show through was definitely a win.
Or maybe I just live in Silicon Valley and hang out with geeks.
Turns out I can’t see anything at all if it’s dark and the lights are on in the helmet. Also, I chose these astonishingly teetery 6 inch platform heels:
They look incredible. When I have them on I’m 6 feet tall, amazonian and imposing and continually off-balance, so I look exactly like a female comic book superhero. Combined with not being able to see a thing because of the LEDs reflecting off the inside of my helmet, and the breeze catching the wings and pushing me around, this outfit gets a little challenging at times. Add a halloween candy sugar rush and a couple glasses of wine, and I quickly become a danger to myself and others. (No mishaps though. I’m a circus performer. I got this.)
So all in all it was a great halloween. For fun, here are the other two costumes from this year. Zombies and pirates and superheros, oh my!