Cosplay and Conventions 101

An introduction to conventions for when you hit the floor


Alyssa M. Milano, Senior Staff Writer

Hello! My name is Alyssa and I am a cosplayer (cosplayer: someone who dresses up as a character) and convention goer (convention example: Comic Con). I’ve been cosplaying for two years and make most of my own costumes. I’m here to share some tips and tricks in the field of cosplaying, convention going, and fandoms, and maybe a bit of history behind all of it. I have written this article to help people who are new to cosplaying or who just might be going to a convention in the near future. There will be more installments of how to do specific things within cosplaying so watch out for those new articles. I hope this article will be useful to you.

Welcome to the Fandom:

The entertainment industry has been important to American society for a very long time. From old tribal dances to the obsession with comic books, movies, music, games and shows of any kind today, various forms of entertainment have been able to take us away from the everyday stresses of life. But some people bring that love of entertainment to even greater heights, and cosplaying is one example of this. It allows people to make art, create fan fiction, and dressing up as a character from your favorite piece of entertainment. This is called OC and stands for Own Characters. If you communicate with others with the same burning passion you have for a certain type of entertainment, you have joined a fandom or fan base. This is where most people start their convention career and this is where I started mine.

Meeting New People:

Oh, yes, social interaction. It is the bane of many people’s existence. We all know how scary it can be to talk to other people, and you can trust me from first-hand experience. Most, if not all the people you will meet at a convention, will be some of the nicest people you’ll ever encounter. They are supportive of you just being you. Everybody is opening up a little more than usual, and spreading their passions with similarly interested individuals. Every time someone recognizes your costume, or you recognize someone else’s, can be one of the most exciting and joyful experiences. (Plus, I get at least three phone numbers at every convention.)

Rules of the Floor:

Here are some big rules that you should follow during your convention experience and some you MUST follow. Yes, this sounds intimidating, but these are very, very simple and honestly, rather obvious.

Rule #1– Do NOT critique cosplays or say someone else’s cosplay is better. A convention is a place for self expression without having to be judged. Even if it’s constructive criticism it will make things awkward. Even worse, saying someone else’s costume is better than another persons is a BIG NO NO. Again, this is for self expression and people aren’t there for criticism specifically. Saying someone is better than another person belittles the one who you said is worse, and makes it VERY awkward for the one you said was better. In short, if you want to critique, a convention ISN’T the place for it.

Rule #2– Do NOT touch other people unless they give you permission. I believe this is obvious since it is against the law. So don’t do it!

Rule #3– Do NOT touch anyone’s costume or their props. Many people put a lot of effort into making their cosplays and a lot of parts of these costumes are very fragile. Seeing the masterpiece you’ve devoted so much time to crumble to pieces is not fun, and being the one who broke it is a horrible feeling. I remember one time someone accidentally walked into someone else’s prop and was so devastated for breaking it, she cried for a very long time because this prop was created with a lot of love. Of course, it wasn’t her fault, and I wouldn’t be mad at her, but this is how important these costumes are. So please, don’t touch other people’s costumes just to be safe. 

Rule #4– Be kind. I think this is obvious too if you want to make friends.

Rule #5– Spend your money wisely. There will be many booths at a convention that will have merchandise. Look for things you REALLY want and don’t overspend.

Rule #6– Prepare. This isn’t really a rule but it’s a good idea. There will be many panels and meet-ups in different rooms at different times. Choose the ones that interest you the most before going to the convention.

Rule #6– Have fun!

I hope I was able to teach you a little about cosplaying. Stay posted because I will be writing new content on how to make a cosplay in future articles for The Shield