So your child wants to cosplay at a fan convention. As a parent, you want to support them, but this raises some obvious concerns — especially if you google cosplay costumes and see images of attendees in skimpy outfits. But don’t fear, true believer. Here’s everything you need to know about cosplay safety and how to support your child’s passion at the same time.
Supporting Your Cosplaying Kid
This may seem simplistic, but the easiest way to support your cosplaying child is to let them do it. They’re dressing up because this is something they’re passionate about, and going to a place where people understand that passion.
“Cosplay is my way to enthusiastically express my love for a certain genre, a certain character or storyline or show – whatever it is. It’s just my way of expressing my love for those things,” says Monica Duarte, who has been family cosplaying at conventions for six years. She tells Parentology that when they discovered the cosplay community, it was like she, her husband and two boys had found their tribe.
“To find a place where you can go and suddenly everyone [understands] you, that’s a good feeling for a kid,” she says. “It’s a little bit of validation. I think it really helped with [my son Ashton’s] self-esteem.”
That said, cosplay can be expensive. Some cosplayers start out with basic Halloween-style costumes, but once you get into the scene the wardrobe and props can become much more elaborate.
“Start researching with them,” Duarte suggests. Figure out what they want to cosplay, and what it will cost to make, build, or buy the costume. “That’s unique to every person, and has a lot to do with the parent, the child, and the amount of money you have budgeted.” Be realistic with your child, and remember that this isn’t the last convention to ever happen. You can go small on their first events, learn tricks from other cosplayers, and improve the costume for future events.
Cosplay Safety — Researching the Event
Before attending any convention, you and your child should review the convention policies regarding cosplay — like the one from Comic-Con linked below. From checking in prop weapons with security so that there are no misunderstandings, to reviewing what is considered appropriate behavior, these guides are a good primer for parents.
Likewise, mainstream conventions are family-friendly events. As San Diego Family magazine notes, “While there are some risqué cosplayers in skimpy costumes, conventions have a dress code so kids won’t see anything that they wouldn’t see on a public beach. Also, mainstream conventions don’t allow adult material on the exhibit hall floor. There’s very little chance your kids will stumble into anything too graphic.”
Being at a fan convention is no different than allowing your child to hang out at the mall with their friends. The big difference? Contention attendees often take photos of cosplayers. While most ask before doing it — or do it with a larger group of fans who have gotten permission — it’s still good to discuss this with your kids before they go.
“For the most part, I see convention and cosplay communities as very well behaved, but it’s important to teach your kids what is appropriate behavior and what’s not,” Duarte advises. It’s also common, and sometimes a good idea, for parents to attend with their children no matter what their age.
“Being their support, their handler – holding their stuff as people take their photo – is nice,” Duarte notes. “They might not want you to be there with them the whole time, but until you know how to navigate your way [through] conventions I think it’s very important for parents to go with their kids.”
And whether or not your child wants to admit it, you being there helps. It not only gives you peace of mind, but it shows your support for their hobby, and offers you both the opportunity to make new memories together.