Cosplay Tips From Westchester’s Comic Con Finest

Beloved nerdrock band — yes, it’s a thing — Kirby Krackle once called comic con “where you can meet all your heroes and none of them fly.” As much as we love Halloween, we have to admit that festive holiday doesn’t have the sheer level of commitment to its costumes that comic conventions do.

Luckily, we were able to drop by New York Comic Con this past weekend and meet up with a few Westchester-based cosplayers who were nice enough to give us some tips and tricks for sprucing up our own costumes. Hey, how much PVC do you think we can cut in three weeks?


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Photos by Dave Zucker

Cosplayers: Dan Reiser & Sharon Bell-Reiser

Cosplay: Doctor(s) Strange

Shops: Speedy Stitches, Velante (nerdy streetware), Legendary Costume Works (recently tapped to do costumes for Star Wars: The Mandalorian)

Makes: Dan sews anything fabric himself, including robes and tabards (those things that go over your shoulders and tuck into your belt). He also employed a process called “kit-bashing” to make some of his metal and plastic pieces; bits from model kits and even random junk can be cobbled together to make new props. (The same process was used when making Star Wars to build the filmed Death Star exterior out of hundreds of toy ship models.) Sharon works with chainmail, which lends itself to a host of convenient costuming uses.

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“A lot of times I need something and I can’t find the exact thing online, or I don’t like what they’re charging on Etsy. I’ll think, ‘I can do better.’” – Dan Reiser


Cosplayers: Amanda Stalcup, Taylor, Chris Wilson

Cosplays: King from The Seven Deadly Sins; Kirito from Sword Art Online; Astolfo from Fate/Apocrypha

Shops: Mostly online, but combine pieces from different sources to achieve a more authentic look. Stalcup adds that many of her previous costumes have been sewn by a talented friend, so if you can’t sew, you can always find someone who does!


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Cosplayers: Shayne Cairns & Mike Vernon

Cosplays: Ed & Al Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist

Shops: Supplies and pieces from Amazon, Jo-Ann Fabrics in Scarsdale, Cornell’s True Value Hardware in Eastchester

Makes: Cairns fabricates pieces chiefly from foam, paint, and plastic. (The knuckle plate of his “prosthetic” hand is a tray for press-on fingernails.) Larger elements, like the majority of Vernon’s armor are made from Sintra, a type of thermoplastic PCV that can be shaped and molded with a heat gun or powerful hairdryer.

“Hardware stores are a great place to grab little screws and bits.” – Shayne Cairns


Cosplayers: Kim & Chris Filardo

Cosplays: Sub-Zero & Scorpion, Mortal Kombat

Shops: Jo-Ann Fabrics in Scarsdale or Peekskill for supplies

Makes: Chris sews all the pair’s cloth materials from scratch. Also part of the Westchester “Temple” of Empire Saber Guild’s local Jedi cosplay and stage combat troupe, the Filardos are Westchester natives (albeit temporarily expatriated to Rockland County) with plenty of experience when it comes to crafting convincing costumes from a pile of loose fabric.

“[Upholstery] vinyl is great to get that leather look. I have a set of leather needles for our sewing machine and it runs no problem.” – Chris Filardo


Did you attend New York Comic Con in costume? Post a pic in the comments or tag us on Instagram @WestchesterMagazine and let us know who you were and where you grab your supplies!


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