Living the Nerd Life is closely associated with dressing up. Hobbit Day, May the Fourth, conventions, and LARPing. Halloween is the excuse “ordinary people” use to join us in the world of costumes. By why only dress up one day a year? In my house both my husband and I have theme birthday parties with costumes, movies, and cake and food to go with the theme. We’ve done Lord of the Rings (obviously), Tim Burton, Pirates, Star Trek, Metalocalypse (it was actually “Hamburger Time” for his 30th), Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, and Monty Python.
Costuming is contagious. I’ve been to a Bollywood-inspired wedding. A Halloween wedding. And an historically accurate 18th-century Colonial American wedding, complete with English country dancing. My sister-in-law has hosted a costumed luau (Husband & I won the costume contest dressed as tourists), and later this year she’s hosting a Hogwarts party. You have no idea (or maybe you do) how excited I am to finally have a reason to get my Ravenclaw tie (Husband is Slytherin).
Not all nerds relish the costuming as much as others. My husband, for example, with the exception of the Slytherin tie, a Starflleet uniform, and a Vault Suit, is the Emperor of Non-Costumes. But his creativity in avoiding costumes is amazing. For the Tim Burton party he wore a button down shirt and slacks and was Danny Elfman, the composer for all things Tim Burton. For the pirate party he wore jeans and a t-shirt and was a software pirate. A black t-shirt and combat boots and he was Nathan Explosion for the Metalocalypse theme. Street clothes have also provided him with costumes for Sherlock Holmes (an extra in the BBC adaptation), Lord of the Rings (someone who has read the book), a Superhero New Year’s Eve party (Superman t-shirt under a white button down), and our first Halloween together he stole one of my t-shirts and went as me (epic face/palm).
Why do we do it? Why do costumers of all ages, all over the world spend so much time, effort, and money on clothes they may only get to wear once? Unless you decide to break out a costume for the 2 am Walmart run, which I highly recommend. Why do nerds love their costumes? It is, of course, related to a degree to the books and films we love. We’re all escapists of one form or another. We love our worlds of imagination, so its perfectly natural that we would make those worlds a reality. Its also a marvelous expression of our passions and our creativity. And its gratifying when you’ve put love, sweat, and tears into a project and someone says, “Wow!” and wants to take a picture.
But mostly: because its fun. Nerds are, above all other things, about having fun. Our homes are full of comic books, action figures, and science gadgets from ThinkGeek. Instead of family portraits our walls have movie posters and fan art. Our rallying cries aren’t just “For Frodo!” “Kaaaaaaaahn” “Never give up! Never surrender!” or “bring back Firefly.” Our truest and most exciting motto that bonds all nerds together, regardless of Fandom is, “That’s awesome!”