There’s a old panel chestnut about whether you believe fandom is a hobby or a way of life. We crossed that divide a few years ago when my kids made it clear that for them, the Christmas shopping season officially kicked off at DragonCon and continued through the Carolina Renaissance Festival.
Now sure, there’s a lot of cool stuff to buy at both events, ranging from personal-defense-sized catapults to jewelry, anime videos and t-shirts, but in our family, the quest for the perfect costume usually heavily influences the holiday wish lists.
It makes for some interesting conversations post-holiday at school. “What did you get for Christmas?” “Well, I got a sword, and a pair of pirate boots, and a new corset.” Uh-huh. Just another holiday at the Martin house.
We’ve all been bitten by the Cosplay bug. Vendor rooms and dealer tables are scoured for just the right rings, necklaces, arm bands, vambraces, daggers, pocket watch, steampunk goggles, or authentic Firefly reproduction. What can’t be found in person is searched for online. After the holiday gift opening comes the next step—modeling of the completed costume with all the new accoutrements. It makes for interesting family photos, ones which will, no doubt, spark confused conversations in later generations.
Of course, part of cosplay is watching what everyone else at cons is wearing, getting ideas, asking for sources, gushing over great costumes, and taking photos (and the ultimate compliment, being asked to pose in costume for photos). We’ve found cosplay to be a great family activity, as well as a turning every con and Ren fest into a treasure hunt. And it’s a great way to confuse the neighbors on Halloween, when my kids go in their Ren fest regalia. All in a day’s work!