Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Little Details for Your Pirate Costume

Okay, I have my own thing with pirate costumes - I'm stretching toward the most authentic I can construct. This involves a lot of research, recreation of old patterns, and hunting for authentic materials I can actually afford.

But YOU just want to be a pirate for Halloween, don't you? So, with that holiday coming up, here are some links to stuff that looks really cool, but that I'd never be able to use in my hyper-realistic pirate costumes.

As a girl, I'm going to start with this Treasure Chest Purse. Most costumes, especially girl's costumes, don't include anything even remotely like a pocket. So where do you put your cell phone and car keys, at the very least? Here's an answer. It has the look of a real pirate chest, is highly rated, and it seems like it's just the right size to hold what you need. (Like the other items on this list, I can't speak for it.... I've only looked at these items and thought "How cool!")

Next is an item that is so cool I'm actually trying to figure out a way to use it myself.  Two odd socks.. One with the traditional pirate stripe pattern, the  other with the wooden design of a peg leg! I love this! Lots of guys, especially, like to add some humor to a costume. This fill the bill without being stupid or gross.
Pirate Peg Leg Socks
This also happens to be the inspiration for this article. I just needed to share these things.

I also spent some time hunting down the best "Blackbeard's black beard" I could find (for a reasonable price). Here's where I also wanted to share a great Halloween idea for the ladies - put on a beard for the party. You'll be the talk of the event, and most guys don't even seem to mind. One of my favorite memories is of my tiny female friend in full Blackbeard regalia...

Next is a fun object for everyone. I've always wanted wanted one of these. They are available on Ebay on a regular basis, but they are expensive... About $250 dollars. But it's cheap compared to a real parrot, and the mechanical ones don't poop on your shoulder. Furthermore, you can turn this off or on with a remote control. (One of the reasons I will NEVER get a real parrot is the memory of a loooong afternoon at a friend's house. Her parrot would not stop singing "America the Beautiful".)

The item is called Squawkers Macaw, and it's part of the Fur Real Friends line of robotic pets. At a distance he could pass for a real parrot, though up close the clicking and whirring of his mechanical innards can be heard quite clearly.  I have a ren fair pirate with a Squawkers on his shoulder. He had stripped off the fake fur covering, and replaced it with hand-laid real feathers. It was an incredible look, but he didn't want me to take a picture.

There are cheaper mechanical parrots, of course. "Pete the Repeat Parrot" repeats whatever you say, but the quality just isn't there. Large costume stores also feature various forms of make-believe parrot, including some that are covered with real feathers. My favorite of these, however, is the inflatable version. If you're going to have a silly pirate mascot, you might as well go all the way.

My last offering is simply the suggestion that you get yourself a real sword rather than a plastic one for your pirate costume. It's true that real swords can run hundreds of dollars, but there are ways around that.

Why have a real sword? Well, pirates were supposed to be menacing, and there's no better way to feel the part than to have an authentic "hanger" by your side, ready for action. I was attending a patty once when the child of the house approached me and stated firmly, "That's not a real sword!" When I pulled out just a couple of inches of gleaming steel the child's eyes grew to the size of saucers and she backed off. (I also happen to believe that a little thrill of REAL fear is good for kids. It's the stuff of an authentic childhood. But I digress.)

The next question is why NOT to have a real sword. The answer here is that you can actually kill a person with one. You can get around this by zip-tying the sword in its sheath, or mostly in, so you can still show it off a little. Or take it easy on the rum, Your decision, mate, but I like to carry the real thing and just not act like a jerk.

So, where do you get a real sword without breaking the bank? One great place is your local sporting goods store, which probably carries machetes in the camping section for under $20. A modern machete looks a lot like an old-time sword, and the price is right.

Or you could go here  for a more pirate-y sword with a reasonable price tag. It's the cheapest place I know to get a reasonable-looking sword. If you are planning to make this pirating thing part of your life, you could do worse than to invest in a an actual blade to go pirating with.

I'd also like tell the story of how I got my won cutlass. I was in theater, and needed a sword for a production. This was theater at it's cheapest... I needed to buy the sword with my own money, or we would need to make a cardboard sword and cover it with aluminum foil.

I set out to my local flea market, looking for a King Arthur type sword. I couldn't  find one, but I did come across a classic pirate cutlass. It seemed to be the only sword in the market, and it was a good size for me and only cost $12.

I'm a believer in Fate, and in receiving messages. At the time, I wondered the universe sent me a pirate cutlass rather than what I had wanted. It was years later that I realized that , yo ho ho, this was the part of the pirate life that was just what I had needed.


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