What’s the Deal with Cosplay and Prop Rules at DCC?
No one likes this topic. Literally no one, and least of all us. We are in the business of fun, and enforcing rules like these don’t make us happy and they don’t elicit a sense of “fun.”
Props policies, however, are complicated and stir up a great deal of emotional response from attendees, vendors, and cosplayers. We get responses all along the spectrum from “thanks for keeping us safe” to vitriolic, unrepeatable angry comments. And we understand.
So, let’s talk about it. Or more to the point, let me explain why this policy is here to stay and how you can save yourself as much headache as possible.
This Policy is Not Designed to Make People Miserable and Inconvenience Dedicated Cosplayers
The bottom line is, we don’t do this for entertainment. We didn’t sit around tenting our fingers like Mr. Burns on The Simpsons, thinking: How can we make people really angry with us?
Instead, and based on a great deal of internal knowledge that is not appropriate to share with the public, the thought was: How can we make attendees safer and reduce possible threatening situations? After all, we are people with families who care about this community deeply, and nothing keeps us awake more than the possibility of harm coming to anyone at our event.
The next piece to consider is that our comic con world — as much as we want it to be — is not insulated from the real world, and not everyone who attends our show has good intentions.
That’s a sad truth, and you don’t need to look far on any given news day to find examples of people in places who believed that nothing bad would ever happen in their pleasant little corner of the world. Until it does.
You Might Ask Yourself, “So, Why Don’t You Just Increase Security and Prop Checks Instead of Banning Things?”
The answer to this is also not simple. What is lacking is the sheer amount of personnel we can employ for the event, both from an availability standpoint and without a drastic change in ticket prices. Perhaps even more importantly, it doesn’t mitigate the situation that is created if a live shooter were in or outside the building.
We live in a world where walking around with realistic firearms is no longer a smart thing to do, and we feel it is irresponsible to allow it to continue, knowing that it increases risks to every person at our show, including the people carrying said props.
“But This Stupid Policy Ruins My Costume.”
We do understand this and empathize; however, in the grand scheme of things, safety must outweigh accurate costuming.
This doesn’t mean we don’t like our cosplayers and community partners, or are intentionally disrespecting them, but managing a large event is about the majority, and the majority of you have spoken that you wish for better security measures at DCC.
We understand if you take the policy personally and it affects your decision to attend. Unfortunately, the policy isn’t going anywhere and while it may change slightly from year to year, the central premises will remain for the foreseeable future.
“What About Uneven Enforcement?”
Yes, we know about this and it is infuriating when our enforcement doesn’t go as planned.
We are taking great strides for 2018 to standardize the policies with bag and prop checkers at the con. It’s another sad truth that when tens of thousands of people are being processed by people who don’t work for us year-round and know us well, it will never be perfect.
Please know we are always working toward that end, and you should see some big changes in 2018 that we hope will make things simpler for entry.
How to Make This as Painless as Possible
We always recommend bringing as little as possible with you to the con. If you can arrive bag- and prop-free, you will enter a great deal faster (but that doesn’t mean that you won’t have to still potentially wait on Saturday during peak entry).
If you must bring a bag, and most people fall into this category, make sure to have as few items as possible and be prepared for a full bag search.
If you are using a prop of any sort (a prop is defined as something you carry as part of a costume), you will need to undergo a prop check, with the understanding that you may not be permitted to bring the item in with you.
We will provide as much information as possible on our website about what is and is not allowed in advance of the event, but if you are in doubt or are not willing to part with your prop by returning it to a vehicle or disposing of it, please leave it at home.
For Next Time…
Touchy topic this week, but I hope this helped. As always, if you have more questions or would like to suggest a topic for me to cover, feel free to write them in the comments below, or post them on our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages.
Also, we have an official Facebook group dedicated to DCC Cosplay, linked HERE. Posting your questions or comments on the FB group will get the fastest response, and you can send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep an eye out for our next post in a few weeks, where I’ll give a behind-the-scenes look at how we book our celebrity guests.