Convention etiquette is something that is very important to me. Maybe because I’m getting older, but I find myself shaking my fist and going, “you damn kids” a lot at conventions. I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade, conventions are for having fun and I am not a miserable bitter old lady. What I am more getting towards is politeness and courtesy towards other people.
Conventions can be pretty intimidating sometimes, especially for a first-timer. The first time I attended Anime Boston, it was a total sensory overload. Eventually, you get accustomed to it, but for those of you that have never been to a con (or even those of you that have!), here are a few tips and pointers on con etiquette, things to expect at a con, and general tips for surviving con weekend unscathed.
1. Taking public transportation to a con. I do this. I do not have a car, and Boston’s MBTA (although we love to hate it) is close to the convention center, and runs frequently. Many people take public transit to cons. That being said… the biggest thing I can say is to be courteous to your fellow passengers. If you are in costume, you will get funny looks, that is just how it works. Be friendly and approachable if anyone is curious. Do not be disruptive, rowdy, or rude. If you are wearing a costume, take care to make sure it does not get dirty, in anyone’s way, or stuck in the doors. Try to avoid rush hour times! The T gets packed, and it’s unbearable even when you’re not in costume! I recommend carrying your costume in a garment bag, and changing into it at the convention center. It is much easier. Also important: know what time public transit stops running! Not all cities have 24-hour transportation. You don’t want to get stranded so plan ahead!
2. I know, everyone forgets to eat or stay hydrated during a con. This is not good! Try to eat at least two big meals, with snacks in between. Drink lots of water! You will be in a crowded area, and it gets hot and tiring from walking around. The last thing you want to do is faint. If you are worried about getting food or drink on your cosplay, bring something to cover your top with, and eat leaning over a table. If you are worried about spills, drink water or Sprite instead of colored soda or juice! Just please eat and drink. You don’t want to faint at the con.
3. Bring extra money, carry an ID, and possibly your insurance card. If you fall and break your leg, you will need these things! It’s just always a good idea to have an ID with you, as well. As for extra money, it is not for buying things in the dealer’s room, but for emergencies. You might need a taxi, or extra food, or you might need to pick up extra band-aids, safety pins, or socks. You can never anticipate what might happen, so it is better to be safe.
4. To those that ask for hugs at cons: be polite. Say please. Do NOT hug or touch someone without their permission. It is rude. People spend a lot of time on their costumes, and costumes can be very fragile. Please ask first. If someone says no, don’t get snippy. It is probably nothing personal. To those getting asked for hugs: You can say no, and if someone gets offended, big deal. You are a person, not an object.
5. Please don’t say rude things about other people at the con, at least while they are in earshot. If you want to critique someone’s costume, do it with a friend somewhere else. And don’t question why people are dressed up as what they are. It’s rude, and it sucks.
6. Buddy system! It is okay to wander around a con alone, you will probably make friends, but I am a huge advocate of the buddy system. A friend can always be there to assist getting you out of a sticky situation. If you attend with friends, and plan to separate and meet up later, plan a place to meet that is in a low traffic area so you will be able to find each other easily. Keep cell phones charged and on your person at all times.
7. Don’t shout over-used memes. It is so obnoxious.
8. It is okay for a cosplayer to refuse a photo. Sometimes they are trying to get somewhere, such as a panel, or are on their way to go eat. Cosplayers, don’t be rude about refusing! Apologize and quickly explain why you can’t stop. Photographers, don’t get offended. Conventions are busy places and a lot of attendees are busy running around to meet friends or whatever. Stop the cosplayer later if you see them again, and I’m sure they’ll oblige for a photo. And cosplayers are always happier when they are asked for a photo, rather than a snipe photo. It catches us off guard and we want to give you a good photo! Please ask!
9. One of my biggest, biggest pet peeves is that person that monopolizes the character and thinks they are the best. Sometimes, they are the best at the character at the particular con. But humble pie goes a long way in my book. You do not own the character, and just because you are cosplaying them does not mean that no one else can. I don’t understand why people think this way. Personally, I love talking to people cosplaying the same character, to chat and learn how they did things and learn something from them. Trashing people based on the character they are cosplaying is immature and lame.
10. Have fun. Do what you want to do. You want to see a panel? Do it! Wander around the Dealer’s Room! Check the forums of the convention and arrange a meet-up with other cosplayers. Or do nothing! My favorite thing to do at a con is meet other people with similar interests, and to wander around and people watch! See as much as you can, don’t just stand in the Dealer’s Room the whole time.
Take the good with the bad. Cons have positives and negatives, but please, don’t do stupid things and throw common courtesy out the window once you step into a con. By the way, I’m jealous of all of you at AAC. I have con fever, my sewing machine is not with me, and I’m dying to work on something. Have fun, guys!
Hopefully the next time I update will be with progress on Amano-inspired Terra or dream dress.