Convention Survival Guide
Conventions are a major part in the lives of many Geeks. While
they can great fun, there can also be some pitfalls hidden in these
great gatherings of Geekdom. Particularly if one is a new-comer to
the scene. Here are some useful tips to get the most out of your Con
It is truly amazing how quickly most Cons sell-out. Most of them have tickets available online through the the convention web-site but even these can disappear weeks in advance, depending on the size and popularity of the Con in question. Many will say that they have tickets available at the door. This is, at best, wishful thinking on their part.
Consider the Weather
This may seem obvious to say but there is nothing like wearing all
black in San Diego in the summer or shorts or a skirt – looking at
you cosplayers – in Seattle in February to put a dampener on an otherwise lovely Con experience. Most Cons take place in the late-spring and summer - what the people in Halifax are thinking having theirs in November is anyones’s guess - and one should likely take this into account when choosing a cosplay. By all means, dress-up in a PVC body suit or 15 pounds of foam rubber if it strikes your fancy, it is all part of the fun!Though it is also a good idea to try and stay hydrated and minimize one’s time outside the air-conditioned convention venue. The first can be done by secreting a small water bottle on or in your costume. This is particularly easy in the case of costumes that come with utility-belts such as Batman, Deadpool and V. Female costumes can be a bit more challenging, many of them not leaving much to the imagination, though this can be gotten around with a bit of creativity. Even notorious vixen Lara Croft has been known to wear a backpack, a shoulder bag is standard-issue for any Ramona Flowers and, carefully worn, a hip flask in a garter belt can be effectively concealed beneath almost any length of skirt. In terms of limiting time in the sun, it is advisable to try and get accommodations as close to the Con venue as possible, if not the venue itself, should the Con be held at a hotel.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
This point really cannot be stressed enough. Cons mean walking. Large Cons mean lots of walking, usually in crowds. High-heels are a very bad idea, as are open shoes, including sandals. Closed, flats with hard soles and sturdy backs are strongly advised, as are steel-toes. You never know when mighty Thor might accidentally drop his hammer.
Remember To Shower
Remember To Shower
Cons can be a lot of fun with lots of things to do but one must still take time for the essentials, particularly if 15-pounds of black foam rubber is going to be a major part of one’s weekend wardrobe.
Find the Best Food Sources Ahead of Time
Cons offer myriad purchasing opportunities and food is no exception. All sustenance is not created equal though, which is why it is a good idea to know where you are going before the hunger strikes. A staple of most events, hot dogs are a great choice for non-vegans. Cheap, filling, tasty, toppable and portable, they are arguably the perfect Con food. Corn dogs, while similar, are not quite as good but still passable. Unless you are used to it, spicy food is best avoided. As interesting as the inside of a convention centre lavatory may be, this is not the best way to spend one’s time. On the same note, beverages out of sealed bottles are strongly recommended. High-sugar foods, while abundant, are best avoided, they are expensive for what they are and not terribly filling. If you have time to spare,many Con-hosting hotels have their own on-premises restaurants and the majority of convention centres are in downtown areas near several local restaurants. If one is more of a foodie, it would be a good idea to search the phone book ahead of time to locate the best dining establishments near the venue. Cosplayers may want to consider changing back into their civvies before attending any outside eating establishments.
Take Prop Safety Seriously
Many costumes come with props of different kinds. From medieval weapons, to magic staffs to cute side-kicks to blaster-guns and all manner of other things, it can be great fun to make and experiment with different props. Though this also one of the supposed down
sides of cosplaying at the majority of conventions: Prop checks.
While they can be annoying, prop checks really are there for your safety. There have been cases of particular people - “arseholes” to use the more specific vernacular - getting into crowded convention halls with real baseball bats, switch-blades, swords and even guns. This is not a good situation for anyone, particularly considering how argumentative those in the Geek culture can be. Don’t be that arsehole.
Look, Don’t Touch
There can be many cosplays that come across as very sexy, as according to the character upon which they are based. There has, however, been a bit of a problem in recent years with some people taking a sexy costume as an invitation. It’s not and most cosplayers dressed like that are not just doing for attention and even if they were, it is still not a justification for harassment. Looking is fine, particularly in admiration of how accurate the portrayal is. Touching, without expressed permission, will make you about as popular as Judas at a Disciples Reunion and is a great way to get bounced by security.