Getting Creative with Costumes

Times of Future Past celebrates fan culture

Calling all history buffs, anime fans and superhero lovers. Times of Future Past – a “festival for any era” – will return to Winter Park, ​​N3787 Ransom Moore Lane in Kewaunee, for year two June 11-12. 

The activity lineup will include aerial-dance performances, fitness fun with Harley Quinn, special-effects demonstrations, a market full of goods, living-history meetups, food and refreshments.

HouseSpock will be offering make-up and SFX demonstrations during the festival.

Festival organizers encourage participants to dress as their favorite character, historical figure or futuristic personage, so among the weekend’s highlights is a costume contest. I sent a few questions to the event organizers, Lynne Melssen and April Roy; and to the volunteer chair for the contest, Kelli Mayo, to chat about costuming and cosplay.

Grace Johnson (GJ): What makes a good costume?

Kelli Mayo (KM): The first thing is how you feel wearing it: confidence and feeling good about what you’re wearing.

GJ: For those who may not have the time to put together a full costume, do you have any tips on how to modify regular clothing pieces to create a nod to a certain character?

KM: Bigger is better – use the hat, use the color scheme, etc. It’s all about attitude.

April Roy (AR): I like many sci-fi shows. Years ago, I was gifted a handmade 4th Doctor (Doctor Who) scarf. Then I realized I have a trench coat, and since then, I’ve purchased a fedora, the correct sonic screwdriver and plaid pants. It all started with my love of the show and my friend making me a scarf. Your costume doesn’t have to be expensive – just creative!

Lynne Melssen (LM): Shopping at charity shops can provide a good foundation to any costume.

GJ: What do you think can be gained from cosplaying?

KM: Confidence and camaraderie with like-minded people. I started because I wanted to get over social-anxiety issues, and it really broke open my hermit shell.

AR: It helps you learn how to read an audience, and it truly is the epitome of self-expression. Find a character you love, and show the world!

GJ: What kind of things do you look for when judging a costume contest?

KM: Construction is number one. Finished seams, filed and polished foam, all components fitting well together. Durability and accuracy factor as well.

AR: Demonstrating passion for what you’ve created goes a long way, as well as confidence!

GJ: Is there a difference between a costume and cosplay?

KM: Basically, cosplay is costumed play. That being said, costuming is typically structured as historical, where cosplay may be geared more toward pop culture, including anime, sci-fi, comics, etc. There is a difference also, between reenactors and costume players in that reenactors are based more on historical fact rather than portraying a fictional character.

AR: I wear a (mostly historically accurate) costume to portray a fictional character in a royal court, but my character is fictional. Then there are actors (reenactors) who wear 100% historically accurate costumes to portray real historical characters. Not a 180-degree difference, but it is still a difference.

A percentage of the net proceeds from the Times of Future Past festival will be donated to Desert Veterans of Wisconsin. To get more details and tickets, visit