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I grew up thinking Halloween was the best holiday ever. It was more than the candy. It was the costumes. My uncle always put them together for me and my siblings, and I have to tell you, we were the hit of our rural community. One year, I went as a nun, which amongst my primarily Polish Catholic neighbors, was fantastic. Another year, my ten-year-old brother dressed up as Mama from the show Mama’s Family. I don’t even remember what we were that year. Nobody saw us. They were too busy paying attention to how fabulous my brother looked.
When I moved away to college, however, I discovered something terrible. I had not inherited my uncle’s wonderful creativity when it came to costumes. I grew to dislike anywhere I had to dress up because I had no idea what to be or how to put together the pieces of anything that looked remotely good. I stopped wearing costumes of any sort, though I secretly coveted every single wonderful get-up I saw on other people.
Having kids of my own forced me back into the costume game. It was easy when they were tiny. There are a million adorable costumes for small children. But then a miraculous thing happened.
I realized my daughter had inherited my uncle’s gift.
She loves cosplay. She could put together the most random items and come up with an insanely creative idea. It started to come together in a more cohesive way three years ago when she turned eleven. She was in love with Dr. Who and decided she wanted a themed costume that year. I thought she’d pick Ten. She’d been in love with David Tennant from the moment she saw him.
Nope. She went for the more challenging costume. She built a TARDIS. Not a clothing version. A five-foot box that she painted and rigged out with lights and sound effects.
This year, she’s trying something new. She wants to be Dancing Baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. Complete with music and flowerpot. We’ve been out shopping for the various material she’ll need for the upper half, but we’re still in design stage for the pot and music. She tackles each costume like an engineering project, which turns me into a proud mom every single time.
So to say that I have a soft spot for brilliant, scientifically-inclined girls who like cosplay is an understatement. I am not embarrassed at all that I took inspiration from my daughter when it came to my heroine in "Pure Rose". Rose is a computer software engineer who works for a digital audio company, games online in her free time, and has a closet full of costumes she built from scratch. Her costume as Frenchie from Grease might not be the technical challenge others might be, but she sure as hell went for realism as much as possible.
Because when it comes to cosplay, it’s the attention to detail that always wins. People notice. And sometimes, like for Rose, it can mean gaining something you never would’ve anticipated as a reward.
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