LARPing on a Budget

The following is a list of tips from Epoch members to make the most out of your LARPing budget.

General Advice

  • If you can’t afford to pay to play, consider casting.  Talk to the AD team to see if they need more help.
  • Use your money wisely. Other LARPers will be happier if you spend your money on green face paint to keep your racials “fresh” all weekend then they will about your custom chain mail shirt if they can’t tell you’re an Orc.
  • Try and avoid making things at the last minute. Rushing a project can lead to costly mistakes and wasted materials. 
  • If you don’t have the skill necessary to make or modify something, consider offering to trade a skill you do have with someone who can help.  For example: “I can’t sew, but I can cook.”
  • After an event, take the time to properly wash and store your props and costumes.  Loosing something to mice or having it rot because you stored it wet is a terrible waste.
  • Be sure to say ‘thank you’ to anyone who helps you out. This will foster good will and may lead to future help.

Costumes and Props

  • Pace yourself. You will see a lot of people in awesome costumes and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. A vast majority of those awesome costumes took literally years to put together. Don’t be afraid to start with something basic and add pieces as you find/make/afford them. No one expects you to show up all decked out your first season.
  • Thrift shops such as Value Village or Goodwill often contain old, cheap clothes you can turn into cool costumes. Thrift shops are also a great source for belts and bags.
  • Even thrift shops have sales.
  • Thrift shops sell sheets, blankets, table cloths and even lengths of unused fabric, at much cheaper prices then fabric stores.
  •  Ask family and friends to let you now when they’re getting rid of old clothing. Even if they don’t fit you, the fabric can be useful.
  • Ask family/friends for unwanted junk jewelry  You can find some really neat stuff that can look in period.
  • For fabrics, always check the remnant bins first….or stuff that is going out of season
  •  Improvise. It may look like some people are wearing plate mail and leather, but it might be cleverly painted plastic and faux leather.
  • Watch for sales at fabric stores. Buy one get two free sales are especially good if you are making a cloak.
  • Don’t overlook independently owned fabric/ leather stores (such as those at Queen and Spadina). Sometimes you can barter and they often have amazing deals
  • Dollar stores! Around Halloween they sell makeup and basic costumes that you can use to embellish your costume. In the summer they sell camping accessories.  All year round they carry craft materials like yarn, ribbon, and kitchen supplies for alchemy kits.
  • Check on-line sources (such as e-bay) for bargains.

Weapons and Armour

  • Get together with friends to do one large boffer-making session. Pooling resources for foam, pvc, and duct tape can help save money
  • View armour as a long term purchase.  Pick pieces that can be reused with other characters or at other LARPs.
  • Use leather jackets, belts etc from thrift stores if you can’t find cheap leather. There are also cheap vinyls that look really close to leather.