Cosplay Prom takes guests back to a memory long ago and far, far away 

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Everyone remembers their prom. The lights were low. The music was soft. Your date dressed like Princess Leia.

Fantasies become reality Saturday as Mustang Town Center hosts Cosplay Prom, in which characters from Obi-Wan Kenobi to Bilbo Baggins put on their finest and dance like it’s a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Event director Ken Edwards said the prom routinely draws upward of 500 guests.

“Whether you’re into comics, or another culture, or gaming, or whatever it may be, you can actually come and express yourself at our event,” Edwards said. “You can come and meet other people who share your interests and who want to share in this culture with you.”

The cosplay, or “costume play,” subculture is booming. Essentially, it means dressing up as your favorite movie, video game, television show or book character. It has been described as everything from a passing fad to performance art, but the rise in popularity of what Edwards calls “stepping into the shoes of your favorite character” is evident from Tokyo to Toledo.

Not only has it become standard for fans at comic book conventions, autograph signings and movie premieres to don the garb of stormtroopers or elves, cosplay has branched out to having dedicated events all over the country. Cosplay conventions and events like Saturday’s prom are becoming more common.

“It’s actually relatively new to Oklahoma,” Edwards said of the scene. “I actually started down in Houston, volunteering and directing a couple of conventions. When I came to Oklahoma, I really wasn’t impressed that much in terms of the lack of variety of events here. There just wasn’t that much going on up here, so I started the Cosplay Celebration in Tulsa.”

That was in 2014, and Edwards said the throng of guests was almost exclusively in costume, something that’s suggested at this year’s event, but not required. Formal wear, however, is required. That means you can dress up like Boba Fett if you’re Boba Fett in a tuxedo.

A prom king and queen will be elected, and guests can enter and campaign. A 6:30 p.m. dinner includes roast beef, marinated asparagus and chocolate cream cake. A photographer will capture the evening’s finer moments.

Cosplay Prom is an all-ages, drug-and-alcohol-free event. Costumes should be kept modest, and anyone caught with illegal substances will be removed and “dealt with legally,” Edwards said.

“With events like these, the majority of people who are die-hard into this are younger,” he said. “But the younger community also represents the future of the community, so by keeping it friendly to all ages, we can assure people that no matter what age they are, you can come express yourself.”

Visit cosplaycelebration.org for more information.

Print headline: Fine Fett, Cosplay Prom takes a popular subculture and dresses it in finery.

Editor's note: This story was updated to correct and clarify details about when the event was founded.

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