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Five Nights at Freddy's cosplayer ToxieKat talks about winning NYCC's Cosplay Central Crown Championships' FX category

Find out more about what the judges saw behind the scenes to pick the winners in this incredible competition!

Cosplay competitions are always one of the highlights of any convention. If you’ve ever been sat in the audience, or watching a stream at home, and have been confused by the winners that are announced, there’s a good chance you’ve been watching a craftsmanship competition!

Craftsmanship competitions, like ReedPop’s Cosplay Central Crown Championships, don’t focus on the biggest, flashiest and most popular costumes, but instead focus on the fine skills, quality of finish, variety of techniques and ingenuity of the costume maker. The judges have always inspected these costumes closely before the cosplayers walk the stage in pre-judging interviews where they get to question the cosplayer and learn all their secret techniques, flip seams and inspect the inside of those outwardly impressive foam builds and glorious ballgowns. They get to see all those details it’s impossible to see from way back in the audience! Everyone always has their personal favourite, but it’s important to understand the kind of competition you are watching, especially to appreciate why a more outwardly ‘simple’ costume beat something with a bigger wow factor on stage.

In the USA regional rounds, the Crown Championships selects a winner specialised in each major costume category - Needlework, Armor and FX - and an overall top 3. The top 3 costumes in master level competitions like this will regularly cross over the categories, having a combination of several sewing, armor and FX techniques and all done to an exceptionally high standard. To give more insight into the details that the judges get to see we’re sharing a series of interviews with the six winners from New York Comic Con’s Crown Championships Qualifier.

FX Category Winner: ToxieKat

FX Costumes encompass a broad range of more unusual costume making techniques, from SFX make up and prosthetics, to the use of electronics or ‘larger than life’ builds and puppetry techniques. ToxieKat impressed (and disturbed!) the judges in their impressive recreation of SpringTrap from Five Nights At Freddy’s

Popverse: Congratulations on your win! Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about yourself as a cosplayer?
ToxieKat: I began cosplaying as a teenager and it was a way for me to escape and to practice my sewing and crafting. As I’ve grown into an adult it has become a way for me to meet people, to express myself, to gain my confidence, and of course still to practice my sewing/crafting and challenge myself. I’ve been able to use what I learn through cosplay into my work: marketing, theater, off-broadway, fashion week, and others. I have a very wide range when it comes to who I cosplay as. Male presenting or female presenting characters, sewing, armor, etc it doesn’t matter to me! But I’ve always been especially drawn to characters that have creature/monster elements: body paint, horns, tails, sharp teeth, gore, etc.

Photography by Cody Jabroni

What inspired you to make this costume?
End of 2022 I decided I wanted to make another large costume build. The Five Nights at Freddy’s movie was announced and since I’ve been a fan of the franchise since 2014 I decided to make something from that franchise. SpringTrap has always been my favourite because of his design, and I’ve never made anything like a mascot suit before so I decided it would be a great challenge. And I hadn’t competed in a competition since 2020, and I haven’t competed on a stage since 2018 so I decided to get it done for the NYCC Crown Championship.

What was your process to create this build?
I’ve never made a full suit like this before, so I had to research what materials to use. I spent numerous hours shaping and carving ProjectFoam, gluing yellow fleece to everything, hand sewing details and the lining, countless hours airbrushing the whole thing, then going back in with detail painting by hand. Not to mention the other detailed work such as adding yarn to areas for “organs”, and gluing wires and aluminum metal for the endoskeleton parts. Over 7 months and 200 hours of work!

Did you learn anything while making this costume?
I’ve never made a full-body “mascot” costume before, so the WHOLE costume was new to me. I’ve never used Project Foam before, I’ve never used an airbrush before either! I rarely do mock-ups when I make costumes, but when creating the head I had to do a mockup to figure out the jaw mechanic.

What is your favorite part of the costume? And Why?
My favourite part would probably be the head. I spent the longest on the head and the details, as well as the “corpse” mask inside! No one is ever expecting the mask inside until I open SpringTrap’s mouth.

Are there any other details or features you would like to highlight?
I added some sparse hand stitching in various areas on the costume to make it look more “hand-made/home-made” to give a sense that William Afton sewed some areas on the suit since it was HIS suit, before that fateful day he became SpringTrap. I added “mud” (mix of coffee grounds, tea, paint, glue) to the bottom of his endoskeleton robot feet to give the look that he walked through mud and various weather to get to where he is currently. I also used a lighter to singe the yellow fleece fabric to add more texture, which is VERY fitting for SpringTrap’s character.

Any advice for anyone thinking about entering a competition like this?
Have fun! Competitions are meant to be fun, they’re meant to show off your work, they’re meant to make connections with other people who do what you do or more. Don’t go into a competition thinking you’re better than anyone. Go in with the intention to LEARN and grow as an artist. You could win, you could lose, that’s just how competitions are. And if you do “lose”, take that as a learning experience. It just wasn't meant to be that time, doesn’t mean you won’t win in the future! And you never truly lose. If you learn or gain something from that experience, then it’s a WIN. And don’t drag others down. Trust the judges made the right decision.

Missed the competition on stage? You can check out all the entries right here on Popverse in our VOD of the NYCC livestream!