Yatta-Tachi’s Ultimate Convention Guide: Cosplaying

Cosplay, ho!!!!

Whether you’re a veteran or a newbie, this guide will be helpful in getting you ready for convention season!  Each week for the next 6 weeks, I will be covering a topic that I have listed below and what advice Yatta-Tachi fans and I have to share. This week I will be discussing things to do to prepare for cosplaying!

What is Cosplay?

A cosplay is a combination of costume and roleplay where fans dress up as a specific character from any movie, TV series, book, comic book, video game, anime or manga. Some cosplayers even create their own unique characters. Cosplay can be a profession or a hobby, and there are competitions held around the world that offer professional or entry level cosplay entries. (source)

Your First Cosplay

Me as Kiki from Kiki's Delivery Service (Convention Guide Cosplay)

When you’re deciding on the materials and props you need for your first cosplay, it helps to get inspiration and gather images of the character you want to cosplay as. If you’re lucky, you can find the character sheet from the animation studio as a reference.

Thrift stores are your best friend. There are so many wonderful things you can find at your local thrift stores, such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, or any general donation based resale store. You can get cheap sewing supplies, clothing and fabric. Check to see when they are having a sale and head on over. Be sure to clear your schedule and have a list of what you are looking for.

If you don’t want to worry about sewing your cosplay, you can go to cosplay shops such as SpreePicky  or hunt around Etsy shops to find what you are looking for! You can also find costume makers on Instagram who can make you a custom outfit, though it can get rather pricey.

Don’t worry if you think your cosplay isn’t that great. It’s your first time! Don’t stress out too much and do expect some things to go wrong. The point is to go out there and have fun!

HAVE FUN! That’s the point, whether you cosplay, go to panels or anything else!” – Mia Moore from xomia.com (Twitter)

Prepping For Your Convention Trip

I can’t express enough how planning ahead saves you in the long run. So let’s start with the obvious things you need to consider when you begin creating your cosplay….

Build your costume so you can go to the bathroom easily. I have heard quite a few cosplayers say they were sewn into their outfit because they were rushed and just wanted to get onto the convention floor or to participate in the cosplay contest. If not, they have so much stuff on them, it takes forever for them to get out of the costume, which can lead to potential embarrassing events. Do yourself a HUGE favor: think ahead and test out how to get in and out of your costume and see how long it takes.

Another reason to test out your cosplay is to see how it is on you. Can you move around? How comfortable is it? Can it be something you wear for a few hours? Are you willing to stay in it for that long? This is why I stress to not rush getting your cosplay done at the last minute. You’re saving yourself the stress and potential embarrassment later on.

More than likely people will want to take your photo, so why not work on different poses with your cosplay? Cosplay Tutorial created a neat template you can use to help with that.

Make sure your costume has easy going-to-the-bathroom details. I’ve gotten myself into these terribly hard to undo costumes and then hated myself every time I had to go – ended up not drinking water and being terribly dehydrated. Also, have a couple poses prepared in case someone wants your picture (obviously only if you’re cosplaying). It’s seriously a bummer to have to do a stupid V-sign smile because you weren’t prepared.” – AyaSnow (Reddit)

If your cosplay calls for you to use makeup, make sure to bring your own towels and makeup removal as a courtesy to the hotel you’re staying at. Also while cleaning up, be mindful of the condition you’re leaving your hotel bathroom in. If you make a mess and have trouble cleaning it up, inform the hotel staff. They should have the right cleaning supplies to be able to remove the makeup stains before they set.

Something to definitely keep in mind is how you will be transporting your costume and props. You don’t want to throw everything into a box and hope it will be in perfect condition when you are ready to put it on. If you are flying to a convention, make sure you look over the flight regulations and check in your cosplay. Don’t forget to label your luggage as “FRAGILE”. I’ve even seen other cosplayers leave a note explaining to the airport security what is in their luggage and instructions to be careful with it.

Think of the worst case scenario and have a backup plan. If you run into issues while trying out your cosplay, be ready in case it happens while you’re on the convention floor.

When You’re At The Con

Convention Guide CosplayWhen getting your photo taken or taking someone’s photo, don’t stop in the middle of traffic. Please find an open area or cosplay designated zones, which are usually labeled or sectioned off by the convention staff.

Bring comfy shoes to switch into because, more than likely, your cosplay shoes will not be comfortable and may cause blisters. You can get roll up slippers to stow away in your cosplay bag. You can even find some on Amazon to match your cosplay!

Be wary of your props. Try not to poke someone’s eye out. If something happens to your cosplay, don’t panic. Ask around to see if anyone has a mini emergency cosplay kit. At some conventions, they offer cosplay repair stations. If you’re lucky, you might find a fellow cosplayer dressed as a cosplay medic!

Safety & Etc.

Convention Guide Cosplay
Credit to: The Nerd Stash

Cosplay is not consent. Let me stress that again. COSPLAY IS NOT CONSENT. If you feel uncomfortable or don’t want your photo taken, make it known and be alert. If someone is being a creep make sure to let the convention police or staff know.

If you see a cosplayer that you think is awesome, don’t be a creep yourself. Ask if you can take a picture of them. As the saying goes, treat others how you wish to be treated.

Be safe from creeps and don’t be a creep yourself. Cons are a great way to meet people but that doesn’t mean you’re best friends immediately; stalking is creepy, don’t do it; if you’re not invited to somewhere don’t invite yourself, do your best at reading the mood and social cues. Everyone loves compliments but don’t do it while bringing yourself or someone else down (‘your cosplay is so awesome! I suck at this…’).” – Alice Romero (Facebook)

Never make fun of someone else’s cosplay – it could be all they could afford, all they had time for, all they have skills for.” -myrla_cat (Twitter)

Did I miss any tips on cosplaying? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll add them in (and give you credit, of course).

Convention Guide Cosplay

You can find more cosplaying tips by visiting Mia Moore’s site

Check out below for the articles I will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks. This will lead up to the first convention I will be going to this year, A-Kon.


Yatta-Tachi’s Ultimate Convention Guide:
  1. Introduction to the Series
  2. Prepping for Your Trip (Research, Scheduling, Meet-ups, Packing List)
  3. Cosplaying (Tips, Tricks and Do’s & Don’ts) [You are here!]
  4. Before & Arriving At the Con
  5. Things to Look out for (Safety)
  6. What to Expect / Keep in Mind / Conclusion

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About the Author

Katy Castillo

Teresa (Katy) Castillo. Owner & Editor-in-Chief of Yatta-Tachi! Hispanic. Puro 956. Queer AF. Femme. She/Her. You can find me discussing anime/manga, yelling about the importance of accessibility / inclusiveness / diversity, UX / Visual Design, and stress baking / cooking on Mastodon, Twitter, and Instagram.

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