Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween Night!

Of all the halloween’s I’ve attended in my entire life, the one of 2010 EASILY goes down in the record books as the best one ever. EVER. No, really. It was amazing. This post will be sort of long winded, as there’s a few things about the costume that I want to document for future reference, along with a bit of a “highlight reel” from the day itself.

As readers will know, I have been working hard over the past few weeks to build up a Batman costume from “The Dark Knight”. It all came together really quickly, and turned out really well. But I did cut a lot of corners, and it certainly does not measure up to the normal standards of Matt Munson perfection. But the real lesson I learned this past weekend was that it just doesn’t matter. In this blog I have theorized numerous times that 99% of the population would not notice the little errors in my costume that bothered me. Turns out, I was more right than I knew.

But I digress. Let me take a step back to set the scene.

I finished the suit a few days prior to Halloween, and packed it all up into a suitcase that I had purchased specifically for this event. I packed the cowl in bubble wrap and put that in my backpack, and then headed off to New York. My plan was to attend the Halloween bash in the villiage. I arrived at LaGuardia on Saturday afternoon, to beautifully clear skies, though with a bit of a chill to the air.

I was spending the weekend with a friend in Brooklyn, who was kind enough to host. We spent Saturday night at a local house party, where my costume consisted of street clothes and my dark knight cowl. In retrospect, I totally should have suited up for the event, but it all worked out in the end. What surprised me here were the reactions I was getting to JUST the cowl. People were freaking out at how good it looked! They were used to the off the shelf stuff that is readily available at Party City type places a few days before Halloween. I guess they were just not ready for someone who actually spent time on their costume.

Sunday started pretty late, and I started prepping to get the full suit up done in the late afternoon. Before the sun had set, we were all dressed and ready to head out to one of those “Safe” Halloween neighborhood block parties a couple miles away. The idea was that Tom’s daughters would do their Halloween business here, and after that, he and I would head off to “the City”.

I thought long and hard about what to do about the neck. Before I left for New York, I had contemplated re-doing the neck part, as it was VERY uncomfortable. It was very tight, and rather constricting. It also kind of pushed my chin up a bunch. It made turning my head a tad difficult too. Overall, just a bad fit. On Sunday, I decided I was going to strip off the armor and the mesh fabric, leaving behind only the black milliskin hood that I had sewn up. This was a really tough decision for me, as it would mean sacrificing a great deal of accuracy. I reassured myself again and again by saying “nobody is going to stop me on the street and say ‘Great suit! BUT, I couldn’t help but notice that your neck armor is missing’”. I mean, come on. Knowing that I would be in this thing all night, comfort was going to have to be king. So I peeled off the armor, and spent about an hour with the X-Acto knife stripping the threads out so I could remove the mesh.

Once I got fully suited up, I noticed a few things about the costume. Keep in mind, this was the FIRST time I had done a full suit up. First of all, the backs of my knees were chafing. I don’t even know what they were chafing on, but it felt like there was a pine cone in my suit. Same thing with the lower back. This was from where I had sewn the darts into it. They were digging into me. In all of the test fittings I had done, I was wearing a t-shirt under the mesh, preventing the fabric from irritating me. Now that it was just the body suit, it was a different story. The cowl fit great. In fact, it was the most comfortable part of the costume. The only time my vision was blocked was when I tried to look down, like at my belt. Other than that, my vision was entirely unencumbered. Overall, the stuit fit amazingly well. All of the little tweaks I had made totally panned out. Particularly the gauntlets.

The removable cod piece and zippered mesh suit was amazing. Had the armor not made me so inflexible, I would have been patting myself on the back all night long for that one. Even with my superman costume, going to the bathroom is a real process. In previous batman suits, I LITERALLY had to take the entire thing off in order to go. This suit provide only about twice as much work as my normal street clothes. It was quite cool.

Before the sun set, I was already being mobbed by kids who wanted photos.

I even got to be in the parade, which was where I got my first taste of super stardom. The camera flashes were almost blinding! All those people calling my name! Well, not MY name. But you get the idea.

Then it was time to head into town. We took the subway, of course.

Though a couple of people were staring, the rest were just acting like it was business as usual.

Once we got down to the village, it was just insanity. I actually didn't get many photos this year, which is something I will need to pay closer attention to next year. Here's me with Two-Face and Kick-Ass.

And yes, even Batman has to txt!

This may sound odd, but without doubt, the coolest part of the costume was the cape. Which is interesting because it is the cape that really motivated me to begin this project initially. An online friend acquired some behind the scenes intel on how to make a super accurate cape, and I purchased one thinking that MAYBE some day I would actually get around to building the full suit. When the cape arrived, I knew I had to do it for Halloween. The cape is so amazing. It’s got so much fabric in it, and it’s so light. The great news about Halloween this year is that occasionally a wind would kick up and the cape would just dance. I was in some photos where there was a wind coming from my side, or behind, and the cape just swarmed up around me. Really amazing look. People were literally ooh-ing and aah-ing when the cape lit up like that. It was spectacular!

After all was said and done, I headed home the next day.

There were a few failure points for the suit, which I will document here if only so I can keep track of them for next year. I lost a set of fins on one of the gauntlets. Because they were too big for the channel that was cut into the gauntlet, I ended up splitting the fins up in to three separate pieces, one piece for each set of fins. I either snagged one of the fins on something, or the glue just didn’t hold well enough. But I lost one of those. The Velcro on the seams of one of the gauntlets also gave out. I was actually planning on re-doing that anyway, so this isn’t really a big deal. The Velcro I had glued onto the forearms of the body suit also completely came off. I will need to repair that. The left boot dug a nice hole into my heel, which is still pretty raw as I write this. I knew pretty quickly in the evening that this was going to be a problem, but I guess I just worked through it. I don’t know if this means I need to break the boots in a little more, or if there’s something I can put in the boot to prevent trouble in the future.

The gloves also saw a little separation around the wrist. Not sure why. Maybe I was just opening and closing them too much. I may want to replace those. I need to do something about the backs of the knees and the lower back. Maybe I will sew a cotton panel into the undersuit to prevent the mesh from digging into me at those points.

Overall, the armor stayed attached incredibly well. I’m stunned at how well it held together. Some of the pieces right around the front got bent and are showing some creases. Probably from where I sat down. There are also some scuffs on the armor, but I can probably fix that with a little plasti-dip. I suppose I need to decide if the plan is to keep this costume pristine, or if it’s to make it a wearable suit. I am leaning towards the latter. I was smart enough to pack with me a little bottle of Dap, which I used right before I headed out to re-stick one of the leg pieces which was lifting up.


Skip said...

Hi, Great Bat suit mate! I agree with you on so many things when it comes to accuracy vs practicality.

I wondered, where did you get your mesh undersuit from?

MattMunson said...

The mesh undersuit was made by me, though I used fabric I acquired from a fellow enthusiast in Australia. He spent many month researching the fabric and managed to find the exact same stuff that was used in the film.

stidham23 said...

Can you give the name of where your friend got the mesh suit? I have started my bat build and I can't seem to find a decent mesh material.