While many people think of Dragon Con, the city’s biggest pop culture convention, as being just for adults, it has several family-friendly panels (the Kaleidoscope track’s programming, in particular, is aimed at ages nine through 13) and plenty of kid cosplayers. After Saturday’s annual Dragon Con parade, writer Heather Buckner and photographer Caroline C. Kilgore talked with some of these young costumed heroes, villains, and sidekicks.
Emery and River Daniels, 4 and 3
Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Mini Moon from Sailor Moon
Sabrina Daniels (mom): Sailor Moon is my fandom, and I love the community here at Dragon Con. It’s something I wanted them to experience and be a part of too—plus they love hamming it up. Friday they were Superman and Supergirl. So far, we’ve been to the kids encounter, where River got to spend time with Cinderella. Emery really likes seeing the costumes—especially the scary ones.
Kiki and Bella Dekel, 12 and 8
Chell and a companion cube from Portal
Kiki: I wanted to do something with Portal, so I told Bella she would make such a cute companion cube!
Bella: We wanted to buy a [companion cube] dress first, but they didn’t have my size so we just built this instead.
Kiki: Yeah, we cut and sanded and painted and—what’s that word, Dad?
Dad (aka Amir): Spackled.
Kiki: Portal is one of my favorite games because it’s so clever and smart. You have to think when you play it, and I think that’s a really good quality in a game—you’re not just killing people.
Kendall Sesberry, 12; Kennedy Rush, 2; and Elizabeth Green, 38
Princess Poppy and Smidge from Trolls
Kendall: I love Princess Poppy because she’s so pretty and full of joy. Kennedy is Smidge. I think it took about four or five hours to make all of the costumes. We just came last year, and my mom was like, “Oh my god, we gotta come every year.” We just love the costumes and seeing everyone dressed up.
London Brevard, 9
Hometown: Chattanooga, Tennessee
I love Asian culture; I’ve been watching anime for a long time now. My best friend from school, Sebastian, got me into Naruto. Last year I dressed up as Big Hero 6. Coming to Dragon Con is a really fun experience. You get to see a lot of cool stuff, but I personally like the shopping the best.
Alex and Nathan Crowson, 13 and 11
Green Arrow and Speedy
Alex: My dad really wanted dressing up to be a family thing, so I dressed up as Green Arrow. It’s a family tradition now. The best thing about Dragon Con is meeting new people every year and becoming friends with them.
Nathan: I dressed up as Speedy because Speedy is awesome.
Noah Smith, 6
Bernard Warren Jr., 4
Noah: I like Spider-Man, especially when he uses his web.
Bernard Jr.: I like my costume the best because I have big muscles. Next year, I’m going to be Batman.
Lily Harris, 8
Mal from The Descendants
I really love the character and [actress] Dove Cameron. She’s really good in the first one, but in the second one, she just really shows every single emotion. And I love both movies. We were on a long road trip when the new movie came out and we watched it, like, every night. Beware, forswear, replace the old with new hair!
My favorite thing about Dragon Con is the parade and that I get to see so many people; I even saw another Mal.
Mark and August Butti, 14 and 10
Mark: We bought the jumpsuits, so it only took us a few hours to sew all the patches on. We chose Ghostbusters because it’s one of the best movies ever.
Avery Blankenship, 7
I’m Harley Quinn because she kicks butt!
Nehemiah Parks, 3
Kion from The Lion Guard
Robyn Parks (aunt): We like Kion because he’s strong and brave, like Nehemiah.
Nehemiah: He’s yellow and he has a tattoo!
Sydney Samples, 11
Cindy Lou Who from How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Sydney knitted the mitts and the pompoms for her costume, and her mom did her hair “in about 20 minutes.” Sydney has dressed up as plenty of characters in the past few years, everything from a Walking Dead zombie to X-Men‘s Mystique, to the Childlike Empress from The Neverending Story.
Jackson Bryant, 11, and Lee Bryant
Lee: We love dressing up and seeing everyone. I chose stormtroopers because I saw the original Star Wars in a drive-in theater in 1977. I made Jackson’s uniform from scratch in about five days.