Guest Post: 13 Rules Of Engagement That Will Make You An Awesome Convention Attendee

By Joshua Clough

Okee dokee, Geekertons. We are well into con season and it’s time for a rehash of the rules that everybody should follow at any convention.

1. Cosplay is not consent. This means that just because someone is dressed in a costume, that does not mean that you can just walk up and take a picture. Ask nicely and, if they seem like someone you want to get to know, then by all means ask them for Facebook info. But don’t be pushy. No means no.

2. Cosplay is not consent part 2: Just because someone is dressed in a revealing costume, male or female, does not give anyone the right to comment or touch that person in any way that might be inappropriate. Keep it classy.

3. A bum on the floor means pictures no more. Look, those costumes can get uncomfortable and cons can get exhausting. If you see someone taking five, let them. You may ask if you can take a picture after, but don’t hover around them. Let them take a breather, grab some chow, go potty, or whatever they need to do.

4. Cosplay is not consent part 3: Some minors may have really awesome costumes (I, for one, saw a brilliant Calvin & Hobbes one year), or may want to take pictures with you. If you wish to take a picture, please ask a parent or guardian first and be prepared to offer up your email address or Facebook information so that parents can be assured that those pictures will be safe.

5. Keep the line moving. Yes, it is awesome to meet these celebrities, artists, writers, professional cosplayers or whomever in person. Yes, some of them are very friendly and chatty. But remember, if you’ve waited an hour in line, the person behind you has waited an hour plus however long you’re taking. You don’t have to be rude, but please keep your interactions brief.

6. I shouldn’t have to say this, but please be mindful of food and drink. Most conventions have designated areas to grab a bite. If there aren’t any seats, please go off to the side somewhere. Always put your trash in the containers provided. Do NOT set your coffee on any vendor tables!

7. Please be courteous to vendors. They are at their booths all day and have to deal with a lot of people. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, ask for a business card and perhaps you can get it from them later.

8. If you want to save money, it’s best to purchase things on the last day as most vendors are willing to knock off a couple of bucks rather than lug all that stuff back home or to their shops. This is not a hard and fast rule, however. Stuff that was actually made by the vendor costs money to make, and the vendor needs to make a profit.

9. Don’t be a cosplay snob. Not everyone has the same skill level, resources, or just plain access to materials. Sure, Magneto from the COMICS may have a bullet shaped helmet, but don’t be a jerk to the Magneto wearing a bucket.

10: Don’t be “that guy/girl”. The one that calls someone out for not being as knowledgeable of a particular fandom as you are, or who critiques someone’s costume as a cry for attention. Say NO to “fake geek” labeling!

11: Lines for food can be crazy long and sometimes a little pricey. Bring a few munchies to snack on like a bottle of water, some trail mix, and the like.

12: The Golden Rule: Have fun and be safe.

13: The Platinum Rule. Con Drop can happen. Create a support network ahead of time who will be there for you if you need to talk.


Joshua Clough is an admin/founder of the Extraordinary Geeks, Gamers, and Nerds of Ottawa, Gatineau group on Facebook. Follow along with his cosplays, capers, antics, and other assorted amusing buzzwords at Mister J’s Magical Cosplays. He is studying to become a Personal Support Worker, moonlights as an amateur comedian, and loves all things geeky. He lives alone in Ottawa with his cat, Necromancer.

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