Halloween was always my favorite holiday, and when I had my daughter Nyla, I couldn’t wait to share that love with her! I had such fun for years dressing her up and letting her pick what she wanted to be. There was a stretch of four years where she wanted to be a superhero. No big deal you say! But back in the early 2000s, girl superhero costumes were not easy to come by. For Batgirl we got a black unitard, made the cape, cowl, and boot covers, and found a yellow Batman utility belt.
It got a little easier over the years, but we always had to add something. Wonder Woman didn’t come with a lasso, so we made one. Hawk Girl didn’t have a mace, so we had to make one of those. One year she was a goddess but she decided to be a specific goddess. She picked Hera, so we got peacock accessories to go with the costume.
Then something happened. Maybe it was a culmination of things. It all started when I went to my first Fan Convention with my cousin Analie. We went to Dragon Con in Atlanta in 2010. She cosplayed while we were there which I thought was cool. But then when we got to the actual convention…EVERYONE was cosplaying. I’d never seen anything like it! It was amazing! I’d never even heard of Steampunk before then! I came back home with a tribble and a bunch of pictures for Nyla. And she was HOOKED! The next year Analie and I ventured back to Dragon Con with my 11-year-old daughter in tow. She had three different Rose Tyler from Doctor Who cosplays; one for each day.
In 2012, Denver Comic Con entered our lives. We also discovered Star Fest for the first time. In 2015 the pièce de résistance, Fort Collins got its own Comic Con! Now we didn’t even have to leave town! She entered her first cosplay contest there and won in her age group!
We’ve run the gamut on costumes. The Rose Tyler costumes continue and evolve. She also has a TARDIS dress costume, which is the one she won with. Superheroes, villains (yes, she entered the Harley Quinn phase but NO BOOTY SHORTS), Disney princesses, gender-bent interpretations, costumes that are all purchased or repurposed and costumes that are all handmade down to the shoes.
You’ll notice I started that last paragraph with “We’ve run the gamut” – we because it’s truly a team effort…more than a team, really. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a village to put together a cosplay especially when you aren’t super crafty. We are very lucky as my daughter’s grandmother is an amazing seamstress. I know my way around a sewing machine and know how to read a pattern, but grandma is the master. I’m also very fortunate that one of my coworkers is super crafty, so I go to her with questions or for suggestions. And then there’s the internet. Sweet sweet internet. I can’t begin to tell you the number of how-to YouTube videos I’ve watched. My fingers are numbed to hot glue, I know what’s in every aisle of the craft store, I know how to paint shoes when they aren’t the right color and how to correctly apply body makeup.
And I’m broke. I’m so broke people! I need to start crowd funding for cosplay supplies! (Or, you know, she could get a job and start paying for it herself). Then, you figure in passes to the event, hotel if it isn’t local, food, travel expenses, etc. All for a hobby that isn’t even mine. But…I love her, and honestly, I love IT! It’s exciting to head to the secondhand store, and what a rush when they have just what we need! I can get a little obsessed, searching eBay for the right accessory and the fabric store for just the right shade of pink for that skirt.
What it all comes down to though is seeing it all put together, and seeing the joy and pride on my daughter’s face when it’s all on her. It’s like Halloween all year!