I’ve been an archer since I was little, by the time I was seven I had won my first gold medal at the Sooner State Games. It was an easy choice for me to decide to be Merida for Halloween after the movie was released. Every girl has a Disney princess that she connects with, mine was Merida. She was an archer with a fiery temper who wanted to be able to be her own person and she was Scottish. She was my princess. I may not be full blood Scottish, but I have enough to be proud of my heritage.
At the time the movie came out I didn’t have the money to make the costume. This year was different, I had the money and pattern, but not the time. I made this costume in three nights, finishing the last bit of it on Halloween, minutes before I had to leave for a party. It was a small party, just my friend, a co-worker, and her family, but it was still enough to see how people would react to my costume before the next day.
I’d been planning for months to attend Izumicon, an Anime Convention in Oklahoma City. My best friend had planned to go with me. I had decided to go on Saturday, November 1st. It started out as a normal Saturday, my friend arrived at my house and we left. We planned on just looking around the convention, it was our first one after all, and having a fun day, just the two of us. I figured that a few people would want to take my picture, but I didn’t think it would get the attention that it received. The response to my costume was overwhelming, from the moment that we stepped foot into the building, people kept yelling, “Merida!” and asking to take my picture. I gladly obliged and my friend said she felt like she was with a celebrity with all the people wanting to take my picture. It was a great response and made me feel proud of my costume. However the best part of the day was when a mom pointed me out to her daughter, who was around five years old. The little girl’s face lit up as she hesitantly walked over to me as her mother asked if she could take a picture of us together. I agreed and knelt down to talk to the little girl for a moment, I asked her what her name was and if she’d like to hold my bow for the picture. I’d been fighting all month to get my Scottish accent just right and at that moment when I spoke to the little girl it was perfect. I was Merida.
Another great response I had to my costume was when I waited to get an autograph from Dante Basco. I waited in line for nearly an hour and when I finally got to meet him, he even complimented me on my costume and how great it looked. After I received his autograph, I was escorted out by another attendee to the convention. He said that a princess deserved a royal march and played his harmonica and ukulele as I left the room. He also complimented me by saying, “You look like the real, no, you are the real Merida.” I felt very accomplished to get such a wonderful comment.
The final event that made my day with my costume was the awards ceremony. Earlier that day I had decided to enter what they called their Hallway Cosplay Contest. Cosplayers could go and have their picture taken in the hallway and enter the contest. The pictures were then placed on a computer and people would go along and vote throughout the day on the person they liked the best as far as their costume. Sixty people, including myself, entered this contest.
At the awards ceremony they announced the winners for the other contests that had been held, leaving the hallway contest for the last. I had already told myself that I would not win since that was my first year to attend and I had only spent three nights constructing my costume, when most contestants had spent at least a year working diligently on their costumes. Imagine my surprise when they called my name! They mispronounced it, which was nothing new for me, but it was mispronounced so horribly that even my friend couldn’t tell it was me until they said who I was cosplaying. “Stand up!” My friend said to me, both of us still in shock as the crowd cheered. They then invited me to the stage so that everyone could see my costume. After the ceremony was over I was invited to go and get my prize, but the real prize for my costume was the response that it got from everyone who saw it. I recently posted pictures of my costume on Facebook and it has received a positive response as well. Everyone who sees it tells me that I did a great job on it and how much I look like Merida. It was difficult to finish it in the time that I had and the material was thick and stubborn at times. I think the worst part about making my costume was when I realized that I had lost the instructions that were with the pattern. I had to make the costume by looking at pictures of Merida’s dress. I do know, however, that the best part was the response and the fact that I made a little girl’s day by letting her meet Merida. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.