Essentials for Cosplaying at a Convention

Anime-Girl-School-Chalkboard-2-800px-cosplayCosplaying for the first time at a convention can be a bit daunting. With a bit of planning and being prepared. You can have a great time. Here’re a few essentials that are worth considering.

Essentials for Cosplaying at a Convention

Plan in advance.

Sometimes it can take months to prepare a cosplay. Before you even get started, consult the convention rules and policies if your costume is alright. If you’re still not sure, you can always ask. A good convention will post their contact info on their website.  It would suck after working months on your costume and then be told to change by convention officials.

Make sure your costume is ready before you leave for the convention. You don’t want to be stuck in your hotel room working on your cosplay on the day of the con. If you can rehearse-wear your completed cosplay a week before you leave for the convention, then you’re in good shape. You’ll have the rest of the week to figure out how you’re going to pack and transport everything.

Of course, if you order your cosplay, be sure to give yourself enough time for delivery and modifications you’ll need to make.

Comfortable Shoes, footwear.

Geta, important to get the size right.

If I learned one thing about cosplay, it’s to wear comfortable footwear. Here’s the story. I once wore a samurai period kimono costume, complete with Wooden Geta Sandals. I did my research and made sure that the physical size was slightly smaller than my actual foot. I tried it on a week before I left and thought everything was good.

Zori are much more comfortable.

Now here’s the thing with Geta, they are made completely out of wood and they do not flex at all. Apparently the size I got was not small enough. So half-way through the day my shins were sore from the geta trying to pull my foot down with every step. On top of that, since I’m used to wearing sneakers all the time, the soles of my feet were sore to the point I started limping. Unfortunately, I did not have backup footwear besides my sneakers. I found out later that I could have used a pair of Zori Sandals as my main footwear. Much more comfortable since they are close to modern flip-flops.

Anyways, the point I’m trying to make is, make sure you have comfortable footwear or backup footwear.

Make a Coplay repair kit.

Sometimes stuff happens and your cosplay gets damaged, either during transport or some other accident. For sewing materials, you can usually purchase one at a dollar store or Walmart if you are concerned with quality. Try to include all the coloured threads you may need as well as velcro. You might also want to consider a hot glue gun or tape if you have to fix any props. They’re also available at some dollar stores or Walmart. Here’s a sewing kit on

Careful how you swing that.

Weapon Props
It’s dangerous to go alone.

Some people use props along with their cosplay. If the prop is a weapon, make sure you consult the convention rules on weapon props. Try not to get too carried away when acting out a character. The last thing you want to do is end up hurting someone or breaking a light bulb.

Keep in mind for large cosplay and props that you may have to squeeze through crowds, doors, climb stairs, fit in an elevator or even ride an escalator. There’s even the bathroom to consider. Will you be alright not going to the bathroom for awhile? It can’t always be done, but you might also consider some sort of quick release mechanism in case you have to get out of your costume, fast.

Stay Clean!!!

Wash, you know, all over...
Wash. You know, all over…

Yes, this is worth repeating from Essentials for an anime otaku convention. Sometimes there’s no helping that you’ll sweat with certain costumes. My advice, if you can, is to wear thin undergarments (t-shirts, shorts, etc, …) under your cosplay. This way, it minimizes your sweat (and maybe smell) from transferring to your costume. If you wear your costume for the next day, you just have to change into something fresh underneath… and make sure to wash!

I’ve heard that some people would use Febreze Fabric Refresher on their clothing or cosplay. I guess that’s one solution, but still, eww.


Stay Hydrated.

As I mentioned, you may end up sweating a lot wearing a costume. It’s bad enough that the build up of heat from several thousand people can make things hot, but add in a costume… So take a water break from time to time. Carry a water bottle. If you feel that the bottle doesn’t go with the cosplay, then have a friend carry it. Personally, I rather have that bottle. Drink up and towel off that sweat. If you pass out while wearing a big bulky costume, then there’s a chance nobody will notice unless they see you suddenly keel over.

Work That Pose.

Work that pose.
My fireball will be ready if I hold this pose for a week.

If your cosplay is popular enough. You may have people asking you (or your group) for a photo. Try out a few poses at home before leaving. Use a tripod or a friend and start snapping away. You can go over the photos and see what works on camera. Don’t be shy, you can always delete the ones you feel embarrassed about.

If people don’t ask you for a photo, don’t be sad. That can’t be the only reason you wanted to cosplay, is it?



Cosplay Masquerade Contests.

Go for the Gold!

Some people like to walk around all day as their favorite character. Some people like to play their character so much that they enter Cosplay Masquerades. In most cases, this involves standing in line, waiting for your number to be called to walk on a stage  and show off your cosplay creation. Depending on which convention, they might have different categories such as age, beginners, groups, short skits, etc…

If you or your group are going to do a skit, it might help if you rehearse before even leaving for the convention. If the contest will play an audio track while you are on stage, then consider pre-recording your lines on the audio track. This way, all you have to do is just lip-sync your lines (if any). By doing this, you won’t be as nervous from stage fright, everyone can hear your dialogue and you can concentrate on any physical performances.

 At the end of the day.

There are many reasons why we’d want to cosplay. For some people, reasons can change from time to time. You may have heard of some cosplay celebrities such as Jessica Nigri or Yaya Han. They are two people that started small and grew their passion into a livelihood. Not to mention that they are good at what they do. When you see impressive cosplay like that, it’s easy to feel intimidated. Just remember that everyone has to start somewhere.

Anyways, I hope this will help out if you are trying to decide if you want to cosplay or not. Just keep this in mind; the one main reason why we cosplay is because it’s FUN!

If you have any comments or if you think there’s something I missed. Please share them in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

You might also want to check out,  Essentials for an anime otaku convention if cosplay isn’t your thing and want to still go to a fan convention.


I listed below some of the items I mentioned in this post that are available on for reference. Some of them will even ship to Canada!