Chicago’s Comic and Entertainment Expo, or more lovingly known as C2E2, is currently happening and it’s absolutely fantastic!
Josh and I went today (Friday), which seems to be the “just right” day in Goldilocks standards. We were able to sleep in a tad, get pretty good parking, make it through will-call quickly, jump into line to get his D.Va Pop! signed by Charlet Chung (who was a freaking DOLL and said “Meka Activated” before we walked away and I may have cried literal tears from happiness) and then get to Artist Alley to peruse.
Would you believe me if I said this was my first time going to such a large convention? Oh, I’ve been to several MUCH smaller cons of both geek and craft nature, but never one that people from all over the country/world flew to visit. There were so many amazing cosplayers and artists everywhere and I’ll admit, it was a tad overwhelming. For someone who loves to take photos and used to do it for a living, I remembered to take like, four? One of them being a selfie in the car on the way to the damn con. (insert face palm emoji)
After a few hours, ya girl was hungry and had sore feet. Which made me realize, I didn’t think this comfort thing quite through because I was just too excited to attend C2E2. Although our day went super smooth, that’s not always the case. So, here’s a round up of some sweet tips for the first time Con-Goer who
wanted to cosplay but didn’t plan and ran out of time isn’t in cosplay.
Check the Conventions’ Social Media and Website
You’ll want to see what you can or can’t bring (backpacks are usually allowed, but you never know) and to double check dates/times, location, parking and hotel information if you’re coming from out of town. Also, I like to check out a map of the floor/s, so I can make a game plan of where I’d like to go. You’ll also get convenient updates about the Con and guest appearances. You can also connect with other Con-Goers through Facebook groups and Instagram! I’ve met some veterans through IG and I can’t wait to connect in the future for cosplaying.
Make a mental/physical list of things you want to check out
Whether it’s making sure you get to Artist or Autograph Alley or checking out panels and screenings, you’ll want to have a good idea ahead of time. If you’re only able to go one day of the conference, you wouldn’t want to get overwhelmed and forget to do something you were pining for in the beginning. Josh and I got the autograph we wanted and visited the booths that were a must for us first, THEN we wandered (literally walked up and down aisles A-U of Artist Alley to make sure we didn’t miss anything).
Ask permission before taking photos
This is something I’ve always done! Be polite! I’m sure you’ll be super stoked to see your favorite character/fandom cosplayed by the talented people out there but ASK FIRST. They even probably have some poses picked out for photo ops, so allow them to really give you a great shot. Try to avoid interrupting them if they seem to be taking a break or are in the middle of something. Also, if they say no, don’t take offense- there’s probably a good reason behind it. I’ve yet to meet an asshole cosplayer – legitimately, these guys and gals are pretty fantastic – just don’t be an asshole.
Remember to bring supplies
This includes a portable phone charger, medical/personal essentials, sharpies, water, snacks, plastic sleeves and/or poster tubes for artwork and a back pack to carry it all in. I had a string bag which helped for small items, but I wish we had a bigger backup to help carry the rest and some water, so I didn’t have to search for the damn water fountain or buy a $5 soda.
Speaking of $5 soda
Be prepared to spend some money
That is, if you don’t bring your own water/snacks. Convention food can get expensive and I’d honestly rather spend my bills on original artwork and collector items. It’s up to you obviously, but keep it in mind. Also, most people these days take cards at the booths (super convenient, though I ended up spending more- price of being a geek, right?) but it’d be great to have a bit of cash on you in case you do run into a booth that doesn’t. ATMs are usually around but getting cash before you arrive is ideal. Especially if you’re in a city like Chicago when you have to pay for parking.
Wear layers and comfortable shoes
I can’t stress this enough- you’re going to be walking and standing A LOT, so remember to wear comfortable shoes. Also, even if it’s summer, you never know the temperature inside. For us at C2E2, it was like 35 degrees outside, but I was hot as hell inside. It could be the very opposite at another con, so layers are key. You can always put on/take off a jacket.
Lastly, ENJOY YOURSELF
Geek/Horror/Comic/Etc. Conventions all around the country are an awesome experience! There’s so much to see and do and the amazing talent is brought to us, the fans, in one place. Choose things you love and go all out for it! Geek out over cosplayers, buy the incredible art from your favorite fandoms, movies, shows, whatever and talk with your fellow fans. Don’t get FOMO (fear of missing out), because ultimately, what you get to see and do is still pretty damn rad. So, have a happy con!
I’m hoping to attend another convention later this year and prep my first-time cosplay for it (or for C2E2 next year). That’s definitely on my list of things to accomplish.
Do you have any first-timer tips to add? Comment below!