One of the nice things about Seattle is the number of conventions that occur downtown, and whether one attends them or not, there’s frequent opportunity to see folks in a variety of costumes. PAX was the most recent example that Lorie and I visited, but if you see a wizard walking around downtown, that might also be an indication that it’s Sakura-Con, or Emerald City Comicon. Of course, another nice thing about Seattle is that it’s the kind of town where you could see all kinds of folks with a very independent sense of style and fashion. So, it’s entirely possible that the same crosswalk will have a “weekend wizard” attending a convention in costume, and another guy with a beard, cape, and staff who just happens to be on his way to the library.
Whenever we’re at one of these conventions, I’m always perplexed by the folks who elect to sport costumes along the “hatchet-weilding psycopath” or “paramilitary nutcase” vein. Let’s face it, you won’t cause much trouble walking around town dressed like a blue hedgehog or even an iron lich, but you really think we live in a day and age where you can dress like a pseudo-SWAT-commando with a realistic-looking machine gun prop and walk into a crowded building downtown? I think that ship has sailed, and whether or not one “should” or “shouldn’t” be allowed to do something, it certainly seems inconsiderate. And inconvenient for the costume wearer! Alarmed citizens have called the police about these costume-commandos in years past, and weirder things have happened in Seattle, so even “preposterous” things may be taken seriously.
So, if you’re planning on making a fancy costume for a convention, or just thinking about what you might be doing for Halloween, my advice is to maybe emphasize the “fantastic-has-come-to-life” aspects of costume, versus playing off of people’s “oh-no-it’s-happening-here-in-front-of-me-right-now” reactions. It always strikes me as more clever and memorable is someone is dressed as an improbable movie prop than “as a hunter” or “crazed knife hobo”. Also, while I’m thinking about it, maybe we should consider retiring “beat up bleeding person” as a costume too. You’re less likely to be shot I suppose, but people might be concerned you’ve been hit by a car and are walking around in shock.