Holy moly, tumblr’s back!
Today’s featured video shows you how to make a latex mask for about $50 USD.
Note: This is probably a bad thing to wear if you have a latex allergy!
Pearson’s Renaissance Shop is Giving Away a $35 gift card; Enter By May 31st! ~ If You Loved the Movies and Want the Comics, Start Here ~ A German Politician Gets Stopped At Airport- Due to His Larping Ax! ~ ZOMG Steampunk Mini Cooper ~ Sword and Soul: Things to Think About When Portraying “Other” in Fantasy (Part II & Part III) ~ Names in Guild Wars 2 ~ Sexual Health in the Zombie Apocalypse ~ A Guide To Small Town Larping
Time to wrap up Monster March with this great video by the Lazy Larper.
Remember kids, there are two kinds of zombies- Voodoo kinds and Night of the Living Dead kinds. Keep ‘em straight! And get off my lawn!
Okay, enough non sequitur. Go smear some jello on your face!
In honor of that somewhat common solstice holiday I mentioned, I’ll be taking the rest of the week off from the blog. Enjoy the holiday, if you celebrate it, and the time off, if you get it!
PS For those who work on Christmas in a part of the world where most people get it off: thank you. I don’t care if you’re a firefighter or a 7-11 cashier. It probably sucks, and even if it doesn’t suck, I can thank you for working anyway and making it so my house won’t burn down and I won’t run out of eggnog on Christmas. Also, watch out for zombies.
Image from: You Better Watch Out
Welcome to DIY Friday! This is going to be a regular feature from now on- DIY is a huge part of the larp experience and there’s nothing quite like awesome stuff you’ve made yourself.
This week’s video is another from Threadbanger, showing you how to make a straitjacket. This project does require a sewing machine, so if you don’t have one, talk to your crafty friends!
Straitjackets (aka camisoles de force) were invented in France in 1770, and were lauded as being a more humane way of restraining people. Which, when you compare them to being chained to a wall, I suppose they are. The design of the garment hasn’t changed much over time, which means they’re actually a reasonable costume element or prop for any character from the last 240 years. Trade would mean they might show up even in places relatively distant from Europe, though it would be increasingly unlikely as you move further away from port cities.
If you have an entirely fictional universe, straitjackets don’t require much in the way of technology- you need to be able to make shirts with sleeves, and to work leather, and to be able to attach the one to the other. A straitjacket is simply a unique arrangement of otherwise preexisting clothing items, so any culture that has those items has the potential to create a straitjacket.
Thematically, I think they’re best for horror larps. While they were initially considered humane, they were also frequently misused by asylum staff who weren’t trained to deal with patients any other way than by restraining them. I think it’d be particularly cool for an undead character from the right time period to keep around one as a memento. Or, you know, to restrain people with.
The most notorious of these ticketed parties was the bals des victimes, held on the first floor of the Hôtel Richelieu, to which only those who had lost a near relative during the Terror were invited. The room was draped in black: black ribbons tied on to the musicians’ violins, black hangings on the walls, black crêpe on the chandeliers. Dancers of both sexes had their hair cut short at the back, à la victime; women wore thin shifts like the ones in which their mothers and sisters had gone to the scaffold, and narrow red ribbons around their necks, as if to show where the guillotine’s blade had missed. They greeted each other with sharp, awkward nods in imitation of the motion made by severed heads as they dropped into the basket below. - Liberty: The Lives and Times of Six Women in Revolutionary France by Lucy Moore (links are my own)
This is not a Halloween tradition per se, but it is very much a fitting concept for the season. Just after the Terror, the people of France used morbid parties like these at all levels of society to deal with the sheer volume of death they’d experienced.
Think about the lives of the locals that so many of us are helping in our games- they are constantly plagued by monsters, villains, and disease. Even the PCs experience death- how many times have you been resurrected, now? When will it end? How does your new PC feel about the way other characters remember your old PC- the one who died in battle too young, against an enemy too strong for their tender levels?
This is a concept that’s most fitting in horror settings- adventure larps tend to focus less on making the characters feel helpless, so there are different emotions to process. Still, a red ribbon around the throat is another simple and brilliant costume addition for a character marked by death.
DIY steps for making the necklace above. (Instructions in French and English)
Simple red ribbon chokers from Etsy. £2.79 (about $5)
I saw charcoal powder used for makeup this weekend and it blew. my. mind. Flawless application in seconds. The gentleman using it then let it set for a second and used a paintbrush and silver face paint to add runes. Went on right over it, no problem. I’m seeing if I can get his permission to post photos- in the mean time, enjoy this tutorial by Kat for The Coral Gate!
Ben Nye Charcoal Powder goes for $4-$15, depending on size. Mallatt has it at $9 for a 4.5 oz container, but it can be found at pretty much any costume store.