Cosplay and Cons with the Kids

One of my favorite big conventions is almost here – San Diego Comic Con! I went the year I got pregnant and haven’t made it back since I had my son, but we have done a lot of daenerys targaryen and baby cosplayother conventions together. In fact, he attended his first con at just 6 weeks old! I look forward to taking him to SDCC one day, but until then, we’ll be hitting up cons a little closer to home.

Attending a con with a kid was a whole new experience for me. My usual plan was just show up, take a lot of pictures and basically party all day and night. Now I have to plan around nap times, changing diapers and having no choice about being up at 7AM every morning.

So here’s my Top 10 Tips List for Attending Conventions with Kids:

  1. Try something local first. Short trips are best. You can search sites that list cons by state like UpComingCons.com Cosplayconventioncenter.com, but if you just put “cosplay conventions” or “comic conventions” along with your location into Google, you’re going to find something!
  2. If you aren’t going to be local, be close enough so you can easily walk back to the hotel for naptime. Believe me, this will make things SO much easier.
  3. Check out the event ahead of time and plan your day. Make a list of events and things you want to attend with time and location.
  4. Forget about actually making it to any of those things. Just kidding. A little.
  5. cosplay with babyIf you have a baby, make sure you have something to cover your costume with. Nothing like ruining all your hard work with a bunch of spit-up.
  6. Plan your costume around being able to pick-up and hold kid, feed kid and change diapers. If you are not able to do this, make sure you have a “baby handler” with you for assistance.
  7. Go easy on the kid costume. They are probably just going to fBaby in Superman shirtall asleep, drop food on it or rip it off after two minutes anyway. A good easy costume is a t-shirt that matches your general theme. When I do Wonder Woman, I often dress my son in a Superman t-shirt. He’s had an impressive collective since he was born. He never went a month without one in his size. I actually just printed out a bunch of ink jet iron-ons and would make whatever size I needed at the time.
  8. If you start taking them when they are young, then they will love it as they get a little older and you won’t need to worry about them being afraid of the characters and costumes. My son loves getting up close and touching the costumes.
  9. Pack more than you think you need- extra food, diapers, clothes, drinks…extras of everything! We went to ConJure and after a 2 hour car ride my son started projectile vomiting. We went through a LOT of clothes. You never know what you are going to run into. Be prepared.
  10. Do a kid-friendly cosplay group. I had a great time as Princess Parfaya in a Sesame Street Star Smores group at Star Wars Celebration and the kids and parents totally got it.

Sesame Street Star Smores Cosplay Group at Star Wars CelebrationAnd most of all, just have fun, soak up the experience and share every moment with your little one. This is your chance to share your fandom and geekiness as a family affair.

Star Wars Celebration 2017

We had a great time as Sesame Street Star Smores at Celebration! It was Keelan’s first time as a part of a big cosplay group. We got off to a bit of a rough start with our little Luke Piewalker, who was promptly renamed “Luke Crywalker”:17952613_1772998456060662_3386436822874168872_nBut then there was an attitude shift after we managed to get everyone dressed and out the door. He stayed in his stroller for the first half, just taking everything in, and then wanted to get  out and run around for the next bit. He high-fived wampas, took pics with Chewie and didn’t seem to mind all the crazy costumes around him one bit. Guess this means he is ready for Disneyworld!

Star Wars Celebration is always a great event for Star Wars fans and I was really excited to get to share it with my family. This is my third time, but their first! It was also husband and son’s birthday weekend so it was a celebration all around 🙂

And to top it off, my friend Bridget and I made it onto Entertainment Weekly’s coverage of the event!

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Rolled 20 on Babies, 1 on Social Life

I’d like to welcome the first GeekMamas guest blogger, Kiersto Killher, who talks about her experience having two babies one after the other and the convention withdrawals that followed. You can find Kiersto on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/KierstoKillher

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Pregnancy Christmas cards – we lived on a farm and made a joke of it

The two years that changed my life. Two years without a single convention, but back-to-back babies!
I was heavy into costume creation and conventions since high school, which was well over ten years ago. Now that I have made myself feel incredibly old, let’s talk about cutting conventions cold turkey for a little over two years and the great sense of triumph that comes with returning to the scene.
After getting a lot of adult goals out of the way, degrees, marriage, career-choice, and a house, my husband and I started to plan a family. He and I wanted April babies, due to research suggesting children born in the first five months of the year had a greater chance of success in several fields, including sports (I, being a November baby, refuted this, but in the face of empirical evidence, yielded) and we agreed back-to-back, so we could get out of the diaper phase sooner, rather than later. As planned, we had Tiberius in early April, and his sister, Zelda, followed the next year in late April. We missed the next window, unfortunately, to do it one more time, so we took that as a sign and were happy with the two crazy babies we already had.
k2Now, I you cannot tell how nerdy we are as parents by the names, you’ve already missed the whole idea. The nursery was themed in “Nightmare Before Christmas,” they had Star Trek toys (plushes), and what TV we watched with them was normally Studio Ghibli, DC, Marvel, Trek, Star Wars, and so on. We had fun with all the clothes,  Star Fleet onesies, Batman outfits, and my favorite t-shirt which is Ninja Turtles.
As a one and two year old, I know they do not understand much right now. Tiber is just started to talk, he’s a little slower at it due to the fact we have a Japanese Au Pair, who we have teaching him a second language, however he will ask “what’s that” and point. So, I talk about Anakin Skywalker and how it almost ruined Darth Vader by him being whiny, because no one likes whiners (lesson inserted here, especially for those planning future scripts for Kylo Ren). I talk to them about how he and Zac (Zelda’s nickname) cannot be Batman because I do not want to die. Too soon?
It’s sharing this wonderful world of fandom with someone new who hangs on every word you say, until someone turns a show about trains on, in which case I’m chopped liver.
I went from all the time in the world it seems, to constant child care plus a career. That meant something had to drop and that was my creation time. Now that they are a bit more independent, aka walking and partaking in self play, I have some time back. Most costuming is now done after bed time. 8pm to 10pm. This is when I put together our Megacon costumes, which is another article.
The toughest part was what felt like isolation, or house arrest which turned into a type of Stockholm syndrome so when I could get out I constantly felt guilty about not being around the babies. I would have been lost without my ladies group online, my husband, and especially my best friend.
It’s been crazy, sleepless, funny, lovely, gross, depressing, exciting, and all the other emotions one can go through. I would not trade it now for the world. I am excited to continue this journey with my little nerdlets.

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MegaCon 2016 group featuring Tiberius and Zelda

 

 

 

 

About Kiersto:

I am a safety engineer for an entertainment company, doing fun stuff like stunts, lasers and special effects. I am a mother of two little beasties, Tiberius and Zelda.  I own and operate a small ranch in Groveland, called Cottonmouth Ranch. I am a costumer (I try to stay away from the Cosplay title because of the creating element); I create and wear costumes to conventions, since 2003. I also am pursing my Ph.D. in Human Factors.  If you have not noticed I am a master at time management.
I have a lot of fandoms. Just to name a few I love Star Trek, Star Wars, most Sci fi/ Fantasy. I love comics, DC, Marvel, Vertigo you name it. My favorite character to dress up as is Harley Quinn, in all her renditions. I love horror movies, especial old school B movies, anything I can play rift tracks to. I also love most action and comedies. Just not rom coms, please. I love playing tabletop games with friends, Magic when I can. I love a lot of different video games; mainly console, although I grew up on a computer based MMO called Everquest.  I read a lot of zombie, apocalyptic books. J.L.Bourne is my current favorite author. Although I do have other authors I have enjoyed over the years:  Tolken, J.K Rowling, Isaac Asimov, Douglas Adams, Roald Dahl, Gregory Maguire, and G.R.R.Martin to list a few off the top of my head. I love discussing any of the above and new recommendations are always welcome.

The MegaCon Family Trip

This is going to be pretty short and sweet because I wrote a nice detailed wrap-up right afterwards, saved it as a draft and now that I am ready to post it has gone into the Internet black hole. Zero drafts saved. Nooooooooo.

So here’s the trip in a nutshell: nothing really went as planned, it was hot and sweaty, nobody showed up for our panel, Keelan wore his costume for maybe 30 min. then got cranky and needed a nap, and we spent maybe 3 hours there total. Was it worth it? Oddly enough, yes. Every outing is a learning experience, some maybe more on the “how not to do thing” side, but a still a valuable experience. And I did get some cute pics of my little Peter Pan!

Bridget and I were dressed as Tinkerbell and Wendy, based on an apocalypse inspired Disney fan art print. It’s as random as it sounds.

I was excited to do my first kids cosplay panel with a couple of cosplaying mom experts Jenna Esposito and Dementia Von Grimm. I made a facebook invite and we had a good number of rsvps and interested people. I had a major stressful time walking a mile in the blazing sun trying to get into MegaCon, get my ticket and get to the panel on time. All for nothing it seems as nobody ever showed up to the panel! Not ONE person. Instead of just sitting there we decided to do the panel live on Facebook where we ended up with a good audience so it worked out after all. And we have this nice little video of the panel on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CandyLKeane/videos/1099945683433305/

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The Evil Queen, Wonder Woman and Apocalypse Tinkerbell waiting for people to show up to their Cosplaying with Your Kids panel at MegaCon

 

After the panel we wandered around a short time before Keelan needed a nap and had to go back to the hotel. Bridget and I stayed a bit longer and after having some pizza I felt ready for a nap myself!

Things I have to learn to work around for the next event-

  1. Nap times. Cranky babies are no fun and will not pose for pictures no matter how cute they are in their costume. Getting a hotel close enough to walk back for a nap is crucial.
  2. Baby friendly functional costuming for myself. It’s hard to hold a baby wearing big cardboard wings and shoulder armor.
  3. A dedicated baby helper. I didn’t even think about this until I got there, but there was no way I’d be able to change a diaper in the outfit! My wings were attached to a corseted harness so taking them off was like getting half undressed.

Our next event will be Ancient City Con, July 15-17, though I will have a Three Muses Clothing booth at that one so Keelan will just be visiting with his dad one day. I’ve got it all planned out…no really…

Family Cosplay feature: The Keanes

I figured I should participate in the family cosplay feature myself since I’m gathering photos for the GeekMamas Cosplay with Your Kids panel at MegaCon this Sunday! So here goes-

Please introduce yourself:

halloween1We are Candy, Sean and Keelan from Jacksonville, FL. Sean and I have been married for 14 years and have been costuming together since college. (We met at UF) Now that we have a son we are excited to include him in the fun. Sean is in the Army and I own ThreeMusesClothing.com and recently started the GeekMamas blog. You can see more of my cosplay pics on my facebook page: www.facebook.com/sewgeekmama

 

1) Does the whole family cosplay or is it just the kids?

The whole family! Although sometimes one of us will dress down so it is easier to take care of Keelan at bigger events.

2) What have been your favorite costumes?

I loved our Alice in Wonderland costumes for Halloween. I was the White Queen, Sean was the Mad Hatter and Keelan was the White Rabbit. I couldn’t wait to visit all the neighbors and then K fell asleep about 5 minutes into trick-or-treating so we only made it to about 3 houses.

3) Do you make your costumes?

Yes! Well at least Sean and I do, but Keelan grows out of everything so fast and usually only gets to wear things once so I have started buying him some cheap easy pieces here and there. I’ve found it’s really easy to go get a blank onesie or t-shirt at the craft store and iron on anything I want. Easy superhero outfit!

 

4) What are your favorite events for cosplay?

I like going to conventions. Sean and I also loved dressing up for themed events and masquerades, but we don’t get as many nights out as we used to! So I try to find a lot of daytime, family-friendly stuff for us to do. I’m very much looking forward to MegaCon and hopefully getting back to DragonCon next year. Keelan’s first convention was CollectiveCon here in Jacksonville. He was just 6 weeks old! I was Daenerys Targaryen and Keelan was my little dragon. Well, for about 10 minutes before he refused to wear the dragon hat.

5) Do you have a funny family cosplay story?

I was part of a super hero group for the Folio Weekly’s Best of Jax issues. We were called the Folio 5. I knew I’d be bringing Keelan around with us at the shoot and events so I made him a onesie that said 5 1/2 so he could be part of the group too.

6) Any advice for parents that want to cosplay with their kids or just dress them up?

I’ve found that you really have to roll with it to cosplay with kids. If they are babies, they are probably going to spit up all over the outfit, chew on it, then grow out of it in a week. And then they probably will fall asleep or refuse to wear whatever you spent all that time making (or ordering). So get that quick pic with the screaming baby and then do something to make them happy.

Also, wear baby-friendly costumes. I never realized how pokey my costumes were until I had a baby I was trying to hold. My New 52 Wonder Woman might as well be baby repellent. And I spent hours crafting that House of Targaryen 3 headed dragon brooch only for it to make it impossible to hold Keelan close to my chest. My costume prep ritual used to include making sure I could walk, sit and go to the bathroom. Now it includes can I hold/change/feed a baby.