Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Going to Your First Con

It's just about Summer and that means Cons are in full swing.   One question that comes up from readers is "what do I do at my first Con?" or even "how do I prepare?"

I have talked about these ideas in the past and was recently inspired to share some of these ideas in honor of the Amazing Las Vegas ComicCon coming up at the end of June. If you're trying to plan your travels for your first ComicCon there are awesome Las Vegas package deals to suit anyone's needs.

I would say I have not been to a lot of cons, but so far this year I guess I have already been to three! So as always, your mileage may vary.

What Should I Bring With Me?
Many Cons are now limiting what you can bring in with you. Some don't want you to bring in fake weapons anymore, others might allow real swords, but have zip-tie on them.  If you are cosplaying be sure to check the rules first!
At many cons, the lines for food, drinks, and everything else are long. Sometimes really long. If you can bring in a bag, pack some snacks.  I still hear horror stories about the year that Gen Con ran out of bacon! So plan accordingly.
No one loves caffeine more than me, but skip loading up on sodas and energy drinks and instead opt for water.  IF you are walking a lot (and you do at most big cons) you will need it.

What should you wear? 
Comfort is the key.  If you are going to a large con then again you will be walking a lot, so comfortable shoes are a must.  This is also your time to let your freak-flag fly. I have an entire collection of t-shirts I can only wear in public around cons! Nothing offensive, but certainly ones that only my Geek brothers and sisters would enjoy.

If you are Cosplaying, again comfort is key.  Granted you might not be walking as much since you could be posing for pictures more, but consider it.  I have a great Victorian outfit I wear. But the trouble is it is also all black wool.  Great, as long as I can stay in some AC all day.

Whatever you decide, make sure you have everything.  Like any trip make sure you have extra clothes too.   I also make sure I have room for the t-shirts I'll buy at the con too.

What are some important dos and don'ts?
Please, PLEASE, check with your con's website to see if they have any special rules long before you go.
Many/all cons have a website FAQ of things you can and can't do.  Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con, for example, has a FAQ here: https://www.amazingcomiccon.com/about


DOs
- Pace yourself! You have a lot to see and do, no sense wearing yourself out Day One.
- Eat well! Plan your meals. Cons are great times, but eating sometimes gets pushed aside.
- Wash Your Hands!  Ever hear of "Con Crud"? You will! Exposure to so many different people leads to new viruses. Add bad eating habits, less sleep and different levels of exercise you have a nice mix that leads to Con Crud.
- Bring cash.  Not every place takes credit/debit card and some autograph lines only take cash.
- Budget yourself! Don't spend all your money day one.
- Have a great time! This is great experience and you should enjoy every moment you can.
- Looks for hidden treasures! Every town that hosts a con hopes you enjoy yourself.  See what they have to offer. I have found great places to eat and some I get just as excited about as the con itself.

Make sure you have your hotel and travel plans set and ready to go.

But there are also a few DON'Ts
- Don't be a jerk. Other people are coming to the con too. Some it might be the only one they go to this year or for many years. Don't be a jerk and ruin their con.  That goes for people working the cons, people working at the hotels, restaurants.
- Don't forget you are there to have fun!

I have to add that when it comes to Cosplay.  Cosplay is NOT Consent. Come on, don't be a jerk.
I don't care if you know every line of every Deadpool issue there is, that girl wearing the Gwenpool outfit that she spent hours (maybe days or weeks) working on is just as welcome here as you are.  She (or he) doesn't need Geek Gatekeeping from you, harassed or touched.  Tell her "hey, that's an awesome Gwenpool!" Ask her if you take her picture and then move on.

Remember the rule: "Butt on the floor, pictures no more."


Cons are becoming more and more family welcoming. So remember that this is also a lot of little kids' first cons too.  Give them a reason to want to come back every year!

Ready?  Let's go!


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Don't forget that the big OSR Sale is going on over at DriveThruRPG.  Just a little over 10 days left. Lots of great titles on sale including some from The Other Side.  Check them out.


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