Long before we started loading the car, I knew Ranger was eager for GenCon Indy. Last Halloween, when he first donned his Mario costume he said, "Let's go to the Costume Place [his name for GenCon]!" For the next 10 months, every time he saw his Mario costume I had to explain that GenCon only happened once a year and yes, we would pack his costume.
We worried about how Scout would tolerate the crowds this year. Last year, she rode in our awesome Kelty Town backpack where she napped a lot. She was not yet a walker, so her independent nature wasn't insulted by the continuous carrying. This year, she's a toddler who prefers running to walking and she only endures a stroller for short periods of time. The backpack offers her a better perspective, but we couldn't imagine her quietly napping between intervals of waving and people-watching like last year.
And her brother wanted her to dress as Luigi. I envisioned her felt mustache, hat, and overalls staying on for maybe 30 minutes before she demanded something more comfortable. After filling my bag with snacks, small games, and a girly sundress, I crossed my fingers that her upcoming meltdown wouldn't deafen too many innocent bystanders.
After the long drive to Indy, Ranger was so excited to change into his Mario costume. Scout was far less enthusiastic to change clothes. We had to park in a nearby mall parking garage and take skyways to the convention center. When we entered the elevator to enter the mall Luigi was whining in her stroller and Mario was bouncing off the walls. Then the elevator doors opened to a chorus of "awwwww" spouting bystanders and Jim and I magically transformed into celebrity handlers. We weren't 10 feet out of the elevator when the first person asked to take the kids' photo. The photographer was a mall shopper, not even a con-goer.
Scout has strong social instincts and relished the attention. Ranger can be shy, but as Mario he's unflappable. As we neared the convention center and met more costumed people, the kids filled with excitement. Their euphoria reminded me of childhood Halloweens and returning to summer camp.
Within our first hour at GenCon, Luigi was kidnapped by the World's Tallest Leprechaun. Her casual attitude about towering over all the people surprised us.
The kids got to meet icons of our childhood like Zelda's Link, Alice's Mad Hatter, and the Duck Hunt Dog (with Ratchet) .
They also picked up world-domination tips from the villainous, venomous Cobra Commander:
The next few days were a bit of blur. Jim and I stayed up way too late trying to solve Puzzle Hunt 9 the night after the family scoured the convention hall for all the clues. The kids insisted on wearing their Brothers Plumber costumes every day and relished all the smiles, waves, and high fives that resulted. Ranger climbed and bounced around LEGO Games' giant inflatable Ramses' Pyramid at every opportunity. We played demo games, tracked down some titles we've been looking for, and people watched.
Keep an eye out for upcoming reviews of the games Ranger and Jim played.
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Photos (all but Link): (c) babytoolkit.blogspot.com, 2010 all rights reserved. The Link photo is John Stanifer's (Link).