Guest Post: Non-Human Cosplay Tips

Guest post by Marie Sumner

Cosplaying has become a popular hobby. Dressing up as popular fiction and fantasy characters offers a unique way to show off creativity, as well as technical skills.

There are a couple of reasons that many cosplayers create their own costumes. Some like the connection they get by making their costume from scratch or compiling all the different elements. This is a way that they can assure that the costume fits them, as well as the character they are trying to emulate. Another reason to make your own costume is because big box stores might not have versions of the characters you want. Plus, you can avoid wearing the same costume as someone else.

Creating your own cosplay outfit is a great challenge and can be a lot of fun. If you choose a character who is not human, you can really go the extra mile by following some of the following tips.

Alien Makeup

Aliens are alluring because they are often humanoid in stature, but very different from us. Costumes can emulate this by hiding familiar human facial features and adding foreign elements.

  • Hair – For whatever reason, aliens are often depicted without hair. They may be scaly or completely smooth, but they definitely lack the hair that mammals have. Utilize a bald cap for the top of your head and cover eyebrows with eyebrow sealer (available at costume stores) or even a mixture of glue and concealer. If you’re not sure how to start, check out a makeup tutorial online.
  • Eyes – Aliens often have almond shaped eyes, but look at your character and see what shape they are. Is its eyes large in comparison to the rest of its face? Pointed? Again, there are a lot of makeup tips to changing how your eye shape is perceived.
    • Eye Color- If your character’s eyes are a color that doesn’t match your own and you don’t want to splurge on colored contact lenses, then utilize that color in your makeup around the eye so that you can still give off the overall idea of the character’s face.
    • Sparkle- People like shiny things. Aliens often give off an other-worldly shimmer. There are glitter lotions and face/body paints that prevent you from having to shower yourself in glitter in order to shine. This may minimize the amount of glitter you get on your clothes, but you will still probably find specks in your skin for a time after the event.

Animal Makeup

Most animals are the opposite of the alien costumes. Hair Everywhere! Use wigs, beards, and even fake mustaches to cover yourself with hair to simulate as fur. Spray the fur in varying colors. Even our hair often has varying shades. The less static your coloring is, the more realistic it will seem.

The furry movement is an interesting phenomenon that has caught on in a lot of places. You can now find ears, tails and paws that match just about any creature you would want to emulate.

The interesting thing about animal cosplay is that you don’t have to look like an animal. It’s not necessary to walk on all fours or refrain from speaking if you don’t want to. Even if you have shoes or other human clothing elements visible, you can still have a complete costume. This is because most animal cosplays are done with the idea that the character is a were-creature of sorts. They may be mostly a dog, cat, lizard or gorilla, but there is some humanity to be found.

The most important thing about a costume is that you’re happy with it. The whole point of cosplay is to have fun. So don’t stress yourself out; don’t go beyond your means. Utilize your time and resources (including friends) and put together a costume that you are proud of wearing.

Do you have a favorite character to cosplay? What is your best tip for beginning cosplayers? Share in the comments below.

Marie Sumner never grew out of playing dress-up. She writes to share her passion and offer advice to others regarding costumes for Halloween, anime conventions, renaissance fairs, and other fun dress-up events.



Tricia Barr took her understanding of brand management and marketing, mixed it with a love of genre storytelling, and added a dash of social media flare to create FANgirl Blog, where she discusses Star Wars, fandom, and the intersection of women within Star Wars fandom. She is co-author of Ultimate Star Wars and Star Wars Visual Encyclopedia from DK Publishing, a featured writer for Star Wars Insider magazine with numerous articles on the Hero's Journey. Her FANgirl opinions can be heard on the podcasts Hyperspace Theories and Fangirls Going Rogue. Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to