Con season is back and it’s time to go get your geek on! For many, it could be their first time at a con; and there are some handy tips to know before taking the leap into this world of fun! Here to provide some comic con tips for first-timers are con-goer Samantha White along with fellow con-goer Jay Cochran who is co-owner of the Bangor Comic and Toy Con in Bangor, Maine. Here they cover topics like what to bring, budgeting, and cosplay rules!
First, let’s answer what a con-goer should bring in general; right down to if backpacks are allowed.
WHITE: “A sense of wonder and plenty of money! They can be really overwhelming, so definitely bring your patient pants.
COCHRAN: “Make sure you have your tickets!! Wear comfortable shoes, ’cause you may be doing a lot of walking or waiting, depending.”
WHITE: “Your bag may be searched before you enter the con, if it’s a bigger one.”
COCHRAN: “Backpacks are allowed at our show; every show is different. We thankfully haven’t had any issues.”
Money is a key factor; if you wanna play, you gotta pay! It can add up if you don’t think ahead.
WHITE: “If you’re on a budget, cash would be best so you don’t go way over. But a lot of vendors take square/paypal/venmo now. I think my first con I had saved up $200 to bring, and I could have spent more. Also budget in food, travel, etc for outside of the con. Sometimes it’s cheaper to leave the con and go somewhere else to eat.”
COCHRAN: “It’s hard to say what makes sense financially ’cause you could go and enjoy everything that comes with your ticket price, or you could drop money very fast on autographs, photos, and collectibles. It’s hard to put a number on it but I know a lot of people that can get a hotel for the weekend and splurge for under a grand (that’s having a wild time, by the way).”
As far as emergency items for, say, one’s cosplay… Many cons have repair tables for just such situations now!
WHITE: “They have wig supplies, safety pins, clips, hot glue, etc. if you’re able to bring at least bobby pins if you’re wearing a wig and safety pins, it definitely couldn’t hurt.”
Regarding cosplay, it’s good to know the etiquette and rules about it for each con.
WHITE: “Most cons don’t allow actual weapons and will check them beforehand. I cosplayed as Negan from The Walking Dead and had a wiffle ball bat that I had painted to look real. They checked it. They said aluminum and wood ones weren’t allowed. Any weapons with a gun usually need an orange tip, from what I understand.”
COCHRAN: “Every event is different; whether it be no projectiles for your weapons or not being too inappropriate with showing too much skin in an outfit. Keep in mind this is usually a family-friendly event first and foremost. Common sense goes a long way.”
Basically, learn to budget for each con you hit; there’s lots to do if you have the dollars for it, so arrive with a plan. Cons vary if they allow backpacks; best to ask your intended con ahead of time or check their rules if they have a website.
As mentioned, Cochran co-owns the Bangor Comic and Toy Con run from Bangor, Maine; the next show for this con is scheduled for October 1st-3rd, 2021 and more information can be found here. When Cochran isn’t working for the con, he is a full-time tattoo artist with Forecastle Tattoo.
White owns and operates a small geeky business called “Screaming Donut – Arts, Crafts & Curiosities” which makes “handmade nerdy goodness”… Wares include wallets and bags made with fandom fabrics, resin keychains, paracord goodies, and “some other random geekiness” and it can be found on Facebook!
Come back for more first-time comic con tips from White and Cochran next week!