Anime Convention Tips for First Time Con-Goers and Cosplayers

Disclosure – This post was originally “sponsored” by Vegas.com. I was invited to write this post and I am not being paid for it.

Hey guys! Today I’m making a post about tips for your first anime convention, or if you’re cosplaying for the first time at a con!

I was originally contacted by Vegas.com to do this post. The Las Vegas Comic Con is June 23-25, so this post is a little late if you’re going, but I thought this would be a good post to do regardless! I’ll probably do another of this type of informative post after Otakon this year.

If you are planning to go to the Las Vegas Comic Con, here’s a website for Las Vegas travel deals that Vegas.com wanted me to share with you. Again, late, but it may help someone.

I’ve only been to Otakon twice (website here), with my third year coming up this August. Last year was my first year cosplaying. I’m no expert by any means, but I’d like to share what I’ve learned from the last two cons.

Otakon was very fun, and was not nearly as nerve wracking as I expected on my first visit. I didn’t cosplay my first year because I didn’t want to have to fuss with that and worry about crowds and such. It is a big convention (so big it actually moved to Washington DC starting this year) but the crowds weren’t as bad as I thought. If you have anxiety, like I do, it can be a little overwhelming. I had the hardest time in the Dealer’s Room and especially in Artist Alley. So many people trying to look at things causes you to get a little cramped.

I was also super nervous last year cosplaying for the first time, but it was great. I was afraid people might not think I looked good, or thought my costume was subpar, but I only got positive comments. People were actually excited to see me and I had several people ask for pictures. It was an amazing experience.

First Time Con-Goers

    • Book hotels early! The earlier you book, the cheaper they will be. The hotels in the area know when Cons are and will jack up their prices come Con time. Also, the closer to the convention center or wherever the Con is locate, often the prices are higher. And please, make sure  you know if breakfast is complementary or not before going to eat. Yes, I’ve been there.

 

    • If you’re going with a group of your friends, share a hotel room if you’re comfortable with it. It’ll be cheaper for all of you. Most hotels won’t care much.

 

    • Make sure your phone and camera is charged. Take your charger, extra batteries, and/or a battery pack just in case.

 

    • I shouldn’t have to say this, but shower every day. Cons get hot and sweaty even if you aren’t in costume. If it’s hot out, it’s only worse.

 

    • Have a map of the building and area where the Con is located. This will help you find out where you need to be for events, photoshoots, etc. Otakon, and most conventions I believe, gives you a little welcome packet that includes a map of the convention center and nearby areas.

 

    • The above being said, find out where you want to be. If you want to attend a photoshoot or other event, plan ahead using your map and other resources to find where and when you need to be there.

 

    • Get in lines early. The 18+ lines, panel lines, etc will get long quickly.

 

    • For both con-goers and cosplayers alike, if it’s hot out – please take water! There are places that sell refreshments too but they can also be more expensive.

 

    • Carry your ID. You might need it to get your badge and you will need it if you want to attend an 18+ event.

 

    • Take cash, and have a safe place to keep it. You can use credit cards at most vendors but there’s often a small fee for using it for both you and the vendor. Keep it in a safe place so people can’t pickpocket you. I’ve never had problems but that’s not to say this problem doesn’t exist.

 

    • There will be places you can’t take photographs. There should be signs posted.

 

    • Ask before taking a picture of someone and/or touching any cosplay or prop. If you’re at a photoshoot you obviously don’t have to ask for group pictures, but it’s still a good idea to ask if you want an individual picture of someone at the shoot.

 

    • Be mindful of your surroundings and courteous to those around you. Move to the side if you want to take a picture of something so you don’t block the way.

 

  • Treat your hotel and the convention center like you would your own home (and you know what I mean.) You are a guest. Don’t litter or cause destruction. This often causes prices to go up in hotels and the convention itself if it’s a continuing problem. You’ve probably heard of the problems at Katsucon. Here’s a link to one article, but a quick google search will find more. Ick.

First Time Cosplayers

In addition to the above tips, here are some I have for cosplaying.

    • Start planning and making your costume now! You may think you have plenty of time, but you’ll probably still be working on stuff the night before the convention.

 

    • WATER. Please take water whether it’s hot or not. Especially when it’s hot out. Even if you’re drinking soda or tea, drink water too.

 

    • Take breaks and sit down if you need to. If you’re in a hot costume you may need to take a break and change completely.

 

    • If you have a large costume, you may want to take part or all of it to the convention center and change there. I walked 2 blocks with just regular clothes on to get to the convention center in 104 degree heat, that’s tiring in itself. Also, if you have a large costume, consider hiring a friend as a caddy. My boyfriend did this last year with his Songbird costume, all he asked his friend to do was pay for his own badge.

 

    • Have a repair kit with sewing supplies, hot glue, whatever supplies you need for your costume. A lot of cons, Otakon included, have a room dedicated to cosplay repair. It’s still nice to have a kit with you or at your hotel room.

 

    • Pockets! Put pockets in your costume where you can to carry your ID, money, phone, etc. There are lots of ways to stash stuff and it will help out.

 

    • There are unofficial photoshoots and get-togethers in addition to the official ones. Facebook and cosplay-centric websites are a good place to find these and coordinate.

 

    • If your cosplay involves a fake weapon, baseball bat, a heavy object or something similar, you will probably get stopped by security guards to check it out. Depending on what it is, you might not be able to take it into the convention center. Most fake weapons made out of foam or another light weight material will probably be allowed though. To be safe, check out the website of the Con you’re going to. They’ll probably have a weapons policy. Otakon’s is here.

 

    • Don’t be afraid to speak up if someone is harassing you. I had virtually nothing said to me in my costume that was kind of revealing, but it happens a lot in the cosplay community. Let yourself be heard and please say something to convention staff. They will take you seriously. Don’t let this deter you though, cosplaying is an amazing time.

 

 

 

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