Update 11/17/2012: And yet another stretch goal!
This is unbelievable: we've already blasted through our first stretch goal (THANK YOU!), and our project still has another 5 days to go! So we're setting a second stretch goal on the same principle as the first one. More money = more costumes, just like we promised.
New goal: $5,100 = 17 new costumes
Can we make it to $5,100 by Thanksgiving Day? We don't know, but we'll try. Regardless, every dollar we get goes towards costume design and development, and believe me, we're going to squeeze out as many costumes as we can by next Halloween.
If you're already a backer, remember to keep watching our Costume Candidates series. Those are the costumes you'll be voting on for next year. If you're not already a backer, join the party!
Baba Yaga, the witch of Slavic folklore:
Maria Makiling, the beloved forest fairy of the Philippines:
Lady Montagu, who introduced smallpox inoculation to the West:
Bessie Coleman, the world's first black female pilot:
Huang Daopo, the woman who revolutionized the cotton industry in China---500 years before the industrial revolution in the West:
and Seondeok, the greatest queen in Korean history:
Of course these candidates are all in addition to the 10 costumes we talked about in the video (from Grace O'Malley to Amelia Earhart).
Take Back Halloween is a free online costume guide, with instructions on how women can dress up as famous queens, goddesses, and other figures from history.
Our overall approach is about creating great costumes with stuff that is readily available: either already in your closet, on sale at eBay or some other retailer, or in stock at a costume shop. No sewing!
What we mean by “taking it back”
We love Halloween. We really love Halloween. We think it’s cool that there’s one day a year when people can dress up as anything they want. What we don’t think is cool is that increasingly women are only supposed to dress up as one thing: “Sexy _____” (fill in the blank). Sexy Nurse, Sexy Cowgirl, Sexy whatever.
There’s nothing wrong with sexy (for adults), and if you want to go that route, fine. Have fun! We just want there to be other options as well.
Our vision for Halloween
We think there’s a serious lack of opportunities in life to dress up in strange clothes and pretend to be somebody else. Unless you’re in show business, Halloween is pretty much it. Why waste it?
Scary costumes are traditional, and that’s great. But there are other things you could do. For example, you could:
- Celebrate your heritage. North America is full of people from every single part of the world. But no matter where we’re from, we all have amazing queens, heroines, and goddesses in our cultural backgrounds.
- Channel the goddess. It’s a great way to explore the female divine—or just wear an awesome costume. (Use care if you’re stepping outside your own heritage.)
- Be Queen for a Day. To heck with princesses. Be a queen.
- Honor your personal heroine. Who inspires you? Who fascinates you?
- Try on some red carpet glamour. Dressing to the nines is fun. When else do you get to wear elbow length gloves and feather boas? Unless you’re a movie star in real life, Halloween is your chance.
Why we're on Kickstarter
We started Take Back Halloween in 2010, and over the past two years it's become extremely popular. We get millions of visits from all over the English-speaking world. And people use our costumes throughout the year for occasions far beyond Halloween: Women’s History Month, Black History Month, community festivals, and historical reenactments. Educators even use our site as a novel way to teach history.
We also get a constant stream of requests for new costumes, with people sending in suggestions for famous women and goddesses they'd like to see represented.
So that's why we're on Kickstarter: we're raising money to fund 15 brand-new costume designs for the 2013 season.
Goal = $4,500 = 15 new costume designs
$4,500 will enable us to develop 15 completely new costume designs for next year. We've already picked the top 10 most-requested costumes:
Pirates! We get more requests for pirates than anything else. And that’s saying something, since we literally get hundreds of suggestions for costumes. So we’re planning to add:
- Grace O’Malley, the Sea Queen of Connaught
- Anne Bonny and Mary Read, who sailed with the infamous Calico Jack
- Zheng Yi Sao, the most successful pirate in history
Geeks! Everybody loves the geek costumes, probably because female geniuses/scientists/inventors haven’t gotten nearly their due in the history books. So we’re adding:
- Marie Curie, recipient of two Nobel Prizes
- Grace Hopper, who invented the compiler (which is like saying she invented the wheel. Plus the alphabet. Plus fire.)
- Rosalind Franklin, whose work was central to the discovery of DNA
- Hypatia, the last great pagan philosopher and mathematician
Queens and heroines! Because you can never have too much awesome. At the top of the list are:
- Queen Christina of Sweden, who shocked Europe with her crossdressing
- The Trung Sisters, queens and national heroines of Vietnam
- Amelia Earhart, and you know who she is
That’s 10 costumes right there.
For the remaining 5 costumes, everybody who joins the Kickstarter will get to vote.
And the more money we raise, the more costumes we can add—and people will get to vote on those, too.
All of our costume designs are completely free and available to everyone online. In order to have something tangible to send people as a reward, we’re designing unique mini pinback buttons for each of the women represented by our costumes. For example, the button for Enheduanna looks like the ancient Enheduanna Disk. We'll post pictures here of the buttons as we finish the designs.
And for supporters at the $100 level or more, we're creating a special poster—like an art exhibition poster—called "The Epic of Woman." You know how old books talked about "the epic of man" and so on? Our "Epic of Woman" poster will be a walk through history with the famous women from our costumes. It'll be beautiful!
If you contribute $500 or more, you'll get to commission a costume entirely of your choosing. You name it, we'll do it. Have a favorite goddess or heroine? Tell us who she is and any special requests for the costume, and we'll do the design. When we put the costume up on the website, we'll include your name as the special sponsor of the design.
Risks and challenges
Our biggest challenge will be in the timing of the new designs for the reward buttons and the poster. We're estimating March of 2013 for the buttons, but a lot of them will be ready before that and some may not be ready until after that. Really the button delivery may be kind of a rolling thing through 2013 leading up to the kickoff of the Halloween season. We will keep you constantly informed of our progress.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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