Hector Barbossa Cosplayer

Tricksy Lights as Hector Barbossa, wearing a custom wig and facial hair we created

Over the years, we’ve had the great fortune to create a number of wigs and facial hair for our client, Tricksy Lights Cosplay.  The range of characters he’s chosen for his cosplays is wonderful and has offered us the opportunity to recreate some of the most iconic pieces around. 

After so many years of working together, we wanted to feature Tricksy Lights in one of our Project Profiles. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about his costuming. We’ve included lots of photos so you can see the incredible details in each and every costume, as well as ‘behind the scenes’ photos of the wigs and facial hair we’ve built. 

 

These are a few of the custom wigs and facial hair we’ve created for Tricksy Lights over the years. Each piece is a full custom, handmade item created to the client’s specifications. 

Tricksy Lights Cosplay wearing a range of character costumes

1- How long have you been costuming? What was your first character?

 If we don’t count childhood Halloween costumes, my first public appearance as a recognizable pop-culture character was in October of 1982 at what would be the first of The Who’s endless final concert tours.  The local radio station was promoting the event as “Who-la-ween” and concert goers were encouraged to attend in costume for prizes. I came as John Lennon in his yellow, Sgt. Pepper marching band costume.  The friends I attended with picked a bunch of flowers from their garden and I wandered through the crowd on the stadium lawn handing them out and chatting in my best Liverpudlian accent.  I came in 3rd in the costume contest and won an Epiphone acoustic guitar!  I was hooked, although it took another 32 years before I acted on it.

My mother did the tailoring and I worked on the design and accessories.  It took a month and a half to assemble.  All my kid’s, including my daughter went on to wear it for various events during their school-age years.  I still have it.


This gallery shows some of the custom cosplay wigs and facial hair we’ve created over the years for Tricksy Lights. He supplied us with a foam cast of his head and face, which lets us tailor the fit of each piece perfectly. These are the photos we take once a piece is finished and styled. They’re sent to the client for approval and consideration – they’re also a great way to see some of the details of custom built wigs and facial hair.


 

2 – You’ve acquired quite a line up since you got started! What’s your full list of characters? 

Let’s see…

From Lord of the Rings:

King Theoden

Gandalf the Grey

Bilbo Baggins

From Harry Potter:

Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon’s version)

Severus Snape

Horace Slughorn

Argus Filch

Ollivander

From Other Fandoms:

Walder Frey

Virgil Earp (Sam Elliott version)

Zorro (Anthony Hopkins version)

Hector Barbossa

 

I am currently doing research on Snape the Boggart in Neville’s Grandma’s clothes, President Coriolanus Snow from the Hunger Games and Sir Malcolm Murray from Penny Dreadful… oh, and maybe Father Lankester Merrin from the Exorcist.

And do you have a favorite?

As for a favorite… it really depends on my mood, the nature of the event and whether I am in a themed group.  As a standalone, I really like Dumbledore because the kids love him.  I am a bit of a Santa Claus at heart and I enjoy seeing the awe and delight on their faces when we interact.  Snape is fun too as long as I can pull him off (I’m getting a little long in the tooth for him, but makeup can do wonders…LOL).

In the end I think Theoden will always have the warmest spot in my heart.  He was a noble and honorable king with great courage and compassion.  He was also my first event-attending cosplay and the catalyst of everything that has come after.  I am proud, honored and humbled when I take on his persona.

 

Theoden Cosplay Wig

Tricksy Lights as Theoden, in a portrait taken at the wonderful Wyrd Leather and Mead Hall in Portland, Oregon. 

3. What draws you to a particular character?

 First and foremost… is he (or who knows… maybe she) age appropriate? (laughs)  Although this hobby is open to everyone, I think it’s safe to say the vast majority of participants are under 40.  While it’s absolutely possible for someone in their 20s to portray an older character (I’ve seen brilliant interpretations), I find that younger people (that means anyone under 50 to me) usually relate to someone closer to their age.  Luckily for me, that leaves a cornucopia of wonderful characters to choose from. While I may really appreciate Captain Jack Sparrow, I will be much more comfortable and I know I’ll have a great time as Hector Barbossa.

Second, will I feel comfortable in the role?  I learned my lesson a couple of years ago by choosing a character without knowing their story… without being a fan.  I wanted to participate with my friends in a Game of Thrones cosplay group, but had never seen an episode.  I binged a couple of seasons and found a character whose costume was very appealing to me.  He was age appropriate and had facial characteristics I could emulate.  Without watching another episode I moved forward with him.  It was only after financial commitments were made that I discovered how truly loathsome he was.  While I have had many compliments on how accurate I look, most people who know the series steer clear of any interaction… especially women.  I understand why now and have decided to retire him for general pop-culture type conventions and bring him out only at GoT immersive events.

There has to be some sort of redeeming characteristic.  I’ve been asked about Argus Filch.  Filch is not a bad man.  He is an old curmudgeon whose been doing the same job for decades.  In the Harry Potter universe he is a squib (not adept in doing magic) who has been dealing with children year after year who do not respect him… kids who are capable of doing things he’ll never achieve. He wants things kept in order and rules followed in a world that is full of magic he can’t perform. Yet, he is not a bad man and I believe there is love in his heart… if for no one else, but his cat.

And finally, can I pull it off?  Cosplay has become more to me than just putting on a costume.  I try to immerse myself in the genre, story and character.  When I started this adventure, I’d had almost zero experience with makeup and knew nothing about wigs and hair prosthetics.  While the costumes have been brilliant, the first time I slipped on a custom wig that was fitted to my head the entire world of cosplay changed.  When I looked in the mirror, I saw the character and not myself.  It was (and is) a wonderfully surreal experience.  The next step was to add makeup and although it was very rudimentary, it did add to the persona and I have continued (albeit slowly) to push it further, including trying my hand at prosthetic appliances (nose, scars, teeth, etc.)… a truly exciting and challenging adventure.

…and then there’s the persona.  Can I think and behave like the character?  To prepare for this I spend a lot of time watching movies.  I observe the way an actor has interrupted the role, his body language and manner of speaking.  To try and achieve the right dialect, I have started compiling just the audio portions of the actors dialog from the films.  I will listen to it on endless loop while I am putting on makeup and getting ready, repeating the lines and over and over so that by the time I am done and on my way to event, I am in character.  I’ve had some pretty interesting conversations with my rideshare drivers.  (laughs)

I look at all these prerequisites when I am considering a persona and before I make any investment, I create a character development plan, moving forward only if I think I can achieve my goal.

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in process Bilbo Baggins cosplay

A quick ‘try-on’ selfie after the Bilbo Baggins wig arrived.

4 – What’s the part of costuming/cosplaying you enjoy most?

 This question has two answers…

 Preparation:  I love the initial research and planning.  I’ve been doing this long enough now to know what is important to me and I make decisions that will improve the experience.

They say accessories make the outfit and in the case of cosplay they are essential to the role.  Whether I make or purchase them, the process of researching, selecting, creating and collecting is very entertaining and rewarding.  I know if I find the right piece of jewelry, or prop or pair of socks, it will add to the authenticity of the character.  Even if no one can see it, I will know and it will make a difference in my experience.

I love interacting with all the artists and creators.  It is such a joyful experience to be engaged in the creative process.  For example: I found a blacksmith/silversmith who designs and crafts very unique jewelry.  We started chatting and after several exchanges, I had her create Dumbledore’s school ring (bet you didn’t know he had one).  I don’t think anyone has ever mentioned it, but when I put it on I know I’m wearing it and it puts me that much closer to the character.  I love this stuff!!

Performance:  If you have ever wanted to be an actor, but weren’t cut out for an actor’s life, cosplay is the perfect solution.  Around a half-century ago (laughs); I took one semester of drama in high school.  As much as I enjoyed hanging out with all the thespians, I was terrible at memorizing lines.  As a parent, I watched my kids embrace theater and while I was a very proud dad, part of me wished I was up there too.  Now I am!  And I don’t have to memorize any lines if I don’t want to. 

I love bringing these characters to life for all the fans and especially the kids.  The world of Harry Potter is particularly enjoyable since both the books and the movies continue to find new audiences… new fans.

I bring dreams to life.  I can’t think of anything more humbling and rewarding.

We offer a selection of professional wig styling tools and products to help you use and care for your custom wig.

 Our carefully curated kits have everything you need to clean and style your wig, while our tape sampler will help you pick the perfect product to keep your wig in place

Wig Styling with Rollers

If you plan to style your wig with rollers, this kit is a great addition. It is designed to be used with our Basic kit, so you won’t end up with duplicate tools! Like our other kits, these are the same tools and items we use ourselves.

Purchase Wig Styling Roller Kit
Strips of wig tape

‘Hold it Together’ includes 24 tape strips, four straight strips from six brands. Our wig tape sampler will help you keep your wig all day long.

When you’ve found the perfect tape, you can order it in rolls or bulk packs.

Purchase Wig Tape Sampler
Wig care kit

We’ve put together a simple kit with the essential tools you’ll need to do basic upkeep on your custom wig or beard. These are all the same supplies we use in our studio. If you have longer hair, you might want to consider adding our Hair Prep Kit!

Purchase Basic Wig Care Kit

5 – Best costuming moment so far?

 There are two.  I was a ‘performer’ at a Hobbit Harvest Festival last and I greeted all attendees in front of the round, green door of Bag End.  I did not wear the pointy hat so my wig was on full display.  We had gone for a very deep widow’s peak and coupled with the beard it looked so natural that everyone kept asking how long it took me to grow!

I was Dumbledore and a young girl dressed as Luna Lovegood had been following me around.  It was pretty obvious she was shy and afraid to approach, so I broke away from my group went over, bent down, smiled and told her I think I found something that belonged to her.  I reached in my bag and pulled out a Quibbler.  I handed it to her and she gaped in amazement.  Then her eyes got big and round and filled with tears.  Her parents told me she had been ill and bedridden and Harry Potter had been her lifeline and all she wanted was to meet Dumbledore.  It was a wonderful experience.

Gandalf cosplayer with Billy Boyd

6 – Favorite quote from one of your characters?

 Attendee:  “Would you mind if we take your picture?”

Snape:  “You would have known the answer to that if you’d read page 394!”

 7 – Anything you’d like to say about your portrayals or your costumes? 

I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do when I retired.  I’ve never had the travel bug and I’m not a big partier.  I do like creative activities.  I have a small workshop and I love to cook, but finding a social outlet had been eluding me.  When I discovered cosplay it changed my life.  I get to hang out with like-minded people who keep me feeling young.  I can exercise my thespian side while I bring joy and wonder to fans of all ages.  It is a fun, creative, exciting and fulfilling hobby.  It is open to anyone and it doesn’t matter whether you craft or acquire, once you put it on, you are automatically a member of the cosplay nation.  I will be in my 70s soon and I have no intention of slowing down.  I love every minute of it!

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If you have questions about our Cosplay Wigs, use this button to email us.

Email us

Ready to order your very own custom Cosplay beard or wig? 

Order your Custom Cosplay Wig

We’ve compiled the most common questions about our wigs into this great FAQ

Got Questions?