Fandom: The Dark (Costume) Night Cometh

If there’s one thing I will forever be grateful to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fandom for, it will be the creation of the YAHF – Yet Another Halloween Fic. It’s fun.

After all, who hasn’t wanted to be someone else, even for just a few hours? It’s why we read, and why a lot of us write; either to have fun imagining what a whole different life would be like, or… well, sometimes the pains and tribulations in our own lives are just too much to keep bearing up under, and we need to mentally check out for a while.

(No, I’m not going to even try to define how much is too much to bear. As one trauma survivor put it, “You’re just as dead if you drown in 6 inches of water as if you drown in 40 feet.” This year has been hell for a lot of people. Worse, it’s been insane – and while people can endure incredible torment if it’s predictable, 2020 has been anything but.)

Reading a YAHF, or writing one, we get to see characters suddenly planted in different memories, bodies, times. And we don’t have to come up with any justification for how this craziness happened. A Wizard Did It. Literally. Any costume, any fandom, any character – all we have to do is say Ethan Rayne (or any fanfic equivalent) had that outfit in his shop, and roll with it from there. The possibilities for mayhem, comedy, angst, and romance are as endless as all the fandoms you’ve ever heard of.

Though I have to admit the YAHF idea has made me a little more careful about what I wear for Halloween. Not that I went for evil characters anyway, but I’d hate to have had my kid-self turned into a dragon for even a night. I can only imagine the damage I’d do.

No, I have no illusions a costume spell could ever really happen. But 2020, man. Why tempt fate?

OTOH, maybe I’m doing exactly that. See, this year I’m getting a Gilgamesh t-shirt.


(What? There’s No Kill Like Overkill. And I’m going to make sure I have a note of “Caster” in my pocket, just in case.)

Anyone else here have their favorite costumes for a personal YAHF scenario?


28 thoughts on “Fandom: The Dark (Costume) Night Cometh

  1. No, I’m not going to even try to define how much is too much to bear. As one trauma survivor put it, β€œYou’re just as dead if you drown in 6 inches of water as if you drown in 40 feet.”

    To expand the metaphor, it wouldn’t even take two handfuls of water to grown someone– if it can be gotten into the wrong place. Lungs, blocking the airway… aquakinesis is so under developed when folks try to make it scary, even if you limited it to relatively pure water that is in plain sight, and it can only move not change form, and they’ve got a their-own-body-weight limit…. it’s not even hard to thing of a lot of horrifying options, if you’re not locked into (looping back around to the metaphor) danger depending on how deep the water is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have an aquakinetic whom I have not written as subject to those particular limits. He can purify water by essentially yanking it away from the impurities, which is highly valuable in the context where he lives, so he has focused on doing that. Given reason to kill, he… also does that.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I had to throw in woo-woo “to thine own self be true” additional limit to keep the good guys from being insanely over-powered, and added in trying to keep with the spirit of the element, even then water is terrifying.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Makes sense.

        My aquakinetic in question isn’t… exaaaactly a good guy. He’s a side character surrounded by other people with absurd power levels, and not one of the metaphorical boat rockers. But I’m fond of him when I have occasion for him to turn up.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. One inch. That’s how much water in a bucket sitting around can drown a child. Health and Safety guidelines are a good way to get paranoid about pretty much everything. Although slips and falls are crazy dangerous too!

    And mine was DC Pre Crisis Queen Hipolyta. (…we are not going to talk about Post Crisis.)

    Although for roleplayers, the scary idea was getting the powers of what you played. Imagination + Flaw systems could lead some very bad places.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. *laughs* I was going to say I’ve never really thought about a YAHF costume, don’t really have one…then went over my costumes for Halloweens or conventions and realized my wish fulfillment is basically “able to effectively care for my people and have fun doing it.” The year the girls were kitty-cats? I was a cat herder. Superheroes? A name-tag that says “SHIELD recruiter.” Final Fantasy 14 characters? I’m my character…..

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Mine is a mix – a Fallout 4 (with SPECIAL enhancement option, and inventory has patterns to One of Everything from the game) Pipboy with a Supreme Commander/Total Annihilation-type nanobuild device.

    If I ever wrote the story the character would get dropped into (insert world) but requires the actual materials list from Fallout 4 to build. No shortcutting by stripping down matter and reassembling it into the needed item. Character starts in a Vault suit with basic leather armor, a couple pistols (10mm and revolver) and a rifle (I really like the lever-action rifle). Basic loadout of ammo, a couple stimpaks, and that’s it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ooh. Pat Buckman. Technically speaking, with early voting, and a halloween episode scenario, he could actually win.

    Which is not a good situation when it comes to the backstory antagonist of what fans have been known to call a horror novel.

    Pat Buckman costumes are reasonably trivial/lazy, so I’ve done them before.

    This year, I had an idea I thought much cuter. Black hood, red gloves, and sandwich board. Front sign “The End is Coming”. Back sign “The End mass killing solutions”, with a link to what would look like a real business web page. (If anyone was wondering about that recent discussion I had with Herb, yeah I’ve spent more than a socially appropriate amount of time thinking about it, and my thoughts on business case parallel my thoughts on research opportunities. If I had the income to support a vanity business, the business cards would still be a wee bit amusing. And of course, far more trolling opportunities than I could possibly take advantage of.)

    As a turning into costume, Richard Seaton or a xianxia protagonist came to mind. But Seaton was a heavy metals chemist. Xianxia protagonists likewise come with things that might have drawbacks where my long term health and sanity is concerned. Frankly, as would any other such event; I believe such things are impossible, so proof would likely not be great for my peace of mind.


  6. I’ve never been a huge Buffy fan, but I gotta say YAHFs are fun. Done right, the sheer combination of weird and awesome is just great. …I just wish I could find more with decent writing.

    If I were to prepare for a YAHF scenario myself? My choice would be my Star Wars: The Old Republic Sith Inquisitor, hands down. A Sith Lord who operates by guile, yet is more morally-upstanding than most Jedi of his era? Practically unkillable, potentially immortal (seriously, the number of “upgrades” the Inquisitor can get without even doing any puppy-kicking is impressive)? Can’t think of many problems that can’t be solved by cunning, a lightsaber, or judicious application of lightning.

    Admittedly, putting together the costume might be tricky, his current outfit is kinda complicated… but his earlier one was basically a robe and a blank mask, so that’d probably do.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Ah! *That’s* what I was remembering, then. Hope this isn’t too spoilery, but it was a really impressive “movie,” in part because you could see how much the Koutetsujou crew had improved when it came to fighting Kabane. They were the most professional force sent to Unato. I was seriously impressed with their portrayal there.

        Heh. I also saw some more modern tech in the “movie” than in the rest of the series (chain link fence and yellow hard hats, complete with attached lamps). All I could think seeing those was, “Maybe SG-1 really *did* drop in and lend a hand!”

        Oh, it also looked like they had a – the words I want to use are “hydroponics bay” aboard the Koutetsujou. Pretty neat move, really. Confined space, lots of water, and semi-regular temperature. Smart set up. Wonder if it was Ikoma’s idea?

        Regarding YAHF…. Well, I dressed as a Jedi from the Rebellion era one Halloween. Does that count?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Try gogoanime – they have a staggering amount of anime, all free. Some of their stuff I’ve never even heard of, and there’s an excellent selection that goes back for decades. Also no ads, and you don’t have to register.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t say I’ve ever thought about it, but I could put together either a generic swordswoman costume or Midna from Legend of Zelda, just from what’s in my closet. Midna would be pretty good, except for the whole “being incorporeal in normal light” thing.

    For this year, I’d probably choose Balsa from Seirei no Moribito. Spearfighting prodigy, sure, but otherwise badass normal with a lot of survival skills.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve never seen this done, and I’ve got my own projects both fanfic and IP to keep me busy, but a thought I just had:

    Xander goes as Charles Barkley from Star Trek TNG. He gets a holo-emitter similar to what Emergency Medical Holodoc had in late-season Voyager, along with a copy of all his holosuite programs.

    In the confusion, he concludes that he needs transcendent intelligence again, so he asks the emitter to rebuild the neural scan interface. (From “The Nth Degree” in season 4.) Not nearly as useful as when his brain was souped up to an IQ well above a thousand, he’s still able to make several useful tools with real world raw materials, using the holosuite as a fabricator.

    Then the Scoobies carry on, now with Buffyverse versions of TNG-tier tech tools. I’m thinking Willow and Jenna get _creative_ with ‘hard light’ holograms.


    Liked by 1 person

  9. Something involving powered armor and integrated armament, probably.

    β€œYea, and though I shall walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I shall fear no Evil.. for my outfit is two metric tons of **** You.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Honestly the subset of YAHF I prefer is when the costumes turning real (and having lasting side-effects) is a wider effect than just the main cast or one individual.

    So it’s not just the people/person that is used to the weird now getting weirder; it’s also the people who couldn’t see through the masquerade beforehand.

    It even gets more interesting/confusing/traumatizing for people is if the character they go is (and get turned into) is ‘them”. For example in D&D I’ve often seen people playing characters that are designed to be fairly close to themselves in behavior (done it myself, helps when you’re bad at RPing a different personality).

    The ‘fun’ art comes into play with the ‘Halloween Memories’. Because if you’re merged with a character you know is fictional/very different; you know what are his memories and which are yours though there can be overlap via subconscious reactions etc.

    But if the character is ‘you’ it gets a lot harder to separate memories etc because everything that individual did are things you would have done in that very situation.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. See, my brain went immediately not to ‘what would I pick given advance notice and prep time’ but instead to ‘what would happen given my currently available costumes’, the most involved of which is a fae-esque, bark-lichen-and-net-‘Spanish Moss’ RenFaire getup I’ve named “Dryad of the Dead Tree”. Which, potential interesting magic involving plants and/or rot aside… I would be a very bad nature spirit/fey, depending on what paradigm gets used.

    If given the chance to prepare? Honestly, I might go for a character from the game Pillars of Eternity, Grieving Mother. She’s a psychic (“Cipher”), so she has near-magic powers, but she also puts out a sort of ‘notice me not’ field that makes most people’s eyes/minds skim right over her. In a sufficiently altered world-state, that would be super useful, as I am far more likely to try to avoid conflict than join it!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I’d probably be dressed in my normal clothes. With a name tag that said: Hello! I’m David, your currently assigned Chaotic Good Sorcerer! Specializing in Evocation, Life and Space Magic! Warning: Faster-Than-Light drives are by commission only! All Transformations must have consent!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Given that All Saints’ Day was instituted on November 1 as a defense of saints and art images, and All Hallows Eve is a procession for collecting alms and encouraging prayer (and for pranks punishing those who do not give alms, or do not use celebratory art and images), I would say that trick or treaters would have a lot of hidden protections in a magical world. (Although maybe not for the pranks.)

    Liked by 1 person

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