The Boston Beach Parties were created by several Boston cosplayers who wanted to host social cosplay gatherings outside of conventions. The beach parties feature picnic food, fun games, and of course swimsuit costumes designed by the guests.
The idea for the Boston Cosplay Beach Party was born out of the desire for Boston area cosplayers to organize social gatherings outside of conventions and the recent emergence of the swimsuit cosplay trend. Several local cosplayers tossed this idea around before Kyuu took the reins and organized a late August gathering on Revere Beach in Boston. The event featured food, games, contests, music, dancing, and lots of creative and colorful characters showing off their beachwear! Sephygoth served as photographer and the afternoon ended with a mini-birthday celebration for Kyuu. It was fun-filled day in the sun and organizers hope to turn it into an annual event.
In 2006, a lot of controversy surrounded the new trend of “swimsuit cosplay,” in which cosplayers designed swimsuit versions of their favorite characters. Some in the community saw it as just another excuse to show off skin, while others disliked that most of the swimsuits were store-bought and dismissed the idea that such a “lazy” costume could be considered “cosplay.” Although there were certainly cosplayers who overused and abused the trend, I thought the occasional swimsuit costume, especially among cosplayers who did many outfits of the same character, was a creative way to expand the character’s wardrobe and injected some fun into a hobby that was starting to become increasingly competitive and critical. I had made a swimsuit version of Rinoa Heartilly for fun earlier in the year, and I thought the Boston Cosplay Beach Party would be the perfect occasion to put it to good use. Dymatrex decided to join me as Squall, and put together an outfit to match.
The day of the party I made a fruit salad to bring to the event, packed up my non-swimsuit costume pieces and took the T to Wonderland Station. It was a perfect day to go to the beach; full sun, warm but with a cool fall breeze, and late enough in the summer season that despite the gorgeous weather Revere Beach was not crowded and the party had plenty of room to spread out. There were cosplayers of characters from all genres sunbathing, splashing in the ocean, dancing to music on a portable stereo and playing games. Dymatrex was dressed as Squall as promised, while Sephygoth joined the Final Fantasy cosplayers as Sephiroth. Kyuu, chineru, and Rain Miko were adorable as Sora, Kairi, and Nami from Kingdom Hearts, while Guardian Lulu and Girl Shuichi made a great Risa and Shuichi respectively. When I arrived I got into my Rinoa wig and blew up my inner tube, while Sephygoth was kind enough to paint angel wings on my back and do a fun photoshoot of Dymatrex and I as Squall and Rinoa. It was fun to play the part of having to convince grumpy-pants Squall to have a good time at the beach. I wish there had been some more Final Fantasy VIII characters to join in, as we got some fantastic photos!
It was also fun to socialize with a completely different group of cosplayers than those I had met at the Pembroke Tea Party earlier in the year. I enjoyed grilling hot dogs and roasting S’mores with Crazy Flower and Girl Shuichi, and watching Kyuu and Sephygoth destroy a watermelon with their keyblade and kantana. I also had fun building sand castles and making human sand creatures out of sunbathing attendees. I was impressed that the public around us seemed to pay us no notice despite our colorful hair and clothing; I suppose from a distance it wasn’t immediately obvious we were in costume rather than just weird looking teenagers. I was also impressed with the beach itself; I had very low expectations for a beach so close to the city, but the sand was clean, and the water seemed the same though I did avoid putting my head under it – even if I hadn’t been wearing a wig it was still city water. We had a great turnout, and it was such a fun event we hope to do it again next year.