One of my favorite big conventions is almost here – San Diego Comic Con! I went the year I got pregnant and haven’t made it back since I had my son, but we have done a lot of other conventions together. In fact, he attended his first con at just 6 weeks old! I look forward to taking him to SDCC one day, but until then, we’ll be hitting up cons a little closer to home.
Attending a con with a kid was a whole new experience for me. My usual plan was just show up, take a lot of pictures and basically party all day and night. Now I have to plan around nap times, changing diapers and having no choice about being up at 7AM every morning.
So here’s my Top 10 Tips List for Attending Conventions with Kids:
Try something local first. Short trips are best. There’s lots of great resources to find a local event no matter where you are. There’s sites that list cons by state like UpComingCons.com & Cosplayconventioncenter.com, and then overall event pages where you can also buy tickets like Eventbrite.com. Basically, if you just put “cosplay conventions” or “comic conventions” into google, you’re going to find something!
If you aren’t going to be local, be close enough so you can easily walk back to the hotel for naptime. Believe me, this will make things SO much easier.
Check out the event ahead of time and plan your day. Make a list of events and things you want to attend with time and location.
Forget about actually making it to any of those things. Just kidding. A little.
If you have a baby, make sure you have something to cover your costume with. Nothing like ruining all your hard work with a bunch of spit-up.
Plan your costume around being able to pick-up and hold kid, feed kid and change diapers. If you are not able to do this, make sure you have a “baby handler” with you for assistance.
Go easy on the kid costume. They are probably just going to fall asleep, drop food on it or rip it off after two minutes anyway. A good easy costume is a t-shirt that matches your general theme. When I do Wonder Woman, I often dress my son in a Superman t-shirt. He’s had an impressive collective since he was born. He never went a month without one in his size. I actually just printed out a bunch of ink jet iron-ons and would make whatever size I needed at the time.
If you start taking them when they are young, then they will love it as they get a little older and you won’t need to worry about them being afraid of the characters and costumes. My son loves getting up close and touching the costumes.
Pack more than you think you need- extra food, diapers, clothes, drinks…extras of everything! We went to ConJure and after a 2 hour car ride my son started projectile vomiting. We went through a LOT of clothes. You never know what you are going to run into. Be prepared.
Do a kid-friendly cosplay group. I had a great time as Princess Parfaya in a Sesame Street Star Smores group at Star Wars Celebration and the kids and parents totally got it.
And most of all, just have fun, soak up the experience and share every moment with your little one. This is your chance to share your fandom and geekiness as a family affair.
We had a great time as Sesame Street Star Smores at Celebration! It was Keelan’s first time as a part of a big cosplay group. We got off to a bit of a rough start with our little Luke Piewalker, who was promptly renamed “Luke Crywalker”:But then there was an attitude shift after we managed to get everyone dressed and out the door. He stayed in his stroller for the first half, just taking everything in, and then wanted to get out and run around for the next bit. He high-fived wampas, took pics with Chewie and didn’t seem to mind all the crazy costumes around him one bit. Guess this means he is ready for Disneyworld!
Star Wars Celebration is always a great event for Star Wars fans and I was really excited to get to share it with my family. This is my third time, but their first! It was also husband and son’s birthday weekend so it was a celebration all around 🙂
And to top it off, my friend Bridget and I made it onto Entertainment Weekly’s coverage of the event!
We spent the weekend on Jekyll Island, GA, for their 2016 ComicCon. I was a cosplay guest so I had a table all weekend and Sean was on daddy duty. We did manage to break away on the last day and check out the famous Driftwood Beach, where they recently filmed some scenes from the Walking Dead.
The beach was pretty amazing, though Keelan was mostly interested in throwing sand. I’ve been wanting to visit for a while, but it’s an hour and half north of us so the comic con event was the extra incentive I needed to finally make it happen.
We stayed at the beachfront Days Inn, so of course I had visions of going out and enjoying the sunrises and taking some pretty family photos. Keelan had other ideas. Lesson number one with kids: nothing ever turns out the way you have it planned in your head. Lesson number two: never let it stop you from trying because it is still worth it!
The con was small, but fun. I dressed as Sub Zero on Saturday and Wonder Woman on Sunday. Keelan had fun looking at all the costumes. He had to go say hi to all the Stormtroopers. We even found Santa Claus and then found Deadpool dressed as Santa, so we got our Christmas card pics taken care of. Photo of that coming soon 🙂
This is going to be pretty short and sweet because I wrote a nice detailed wrap-up right afterwards, saved it as a draft and now that I am ready to post it has gone into the Internet black hole. Zero drafts saved. Nooooooooo.
So here’s the trip in a nutshell: nothing really went as planned, it was hot and sweaty, nobody showed up for our panel, Keelan wore his costume for maybe 30 min. then got cranky and needed a nap, and we spent maybe 3 hours there total. Was it worth it? Oddly enough, yes. Every outing is a learning experience, some maybe more on the “how not to do thing” side, but a still a valuable experience. And I did get some cute pics of my little Peter Pan!
Bridget and I were dressed as Tinkerbell and Wendy, based on an apocalypse inspired Disney fan art print. It’s as random as it sounds.
I was excited to do my first kids cosplay panel with a couple of cosplaying mom experts Jenna Esposito and Dementia Von Grimm. I made a facebook invite and we had a good number of rsvps and interested people. I had a major stressful time walking a mile in the blazing sun trying to get into MegaCon, get my ticket and get to the panel on time. All for nothing it seems as nobody ever showed up to the panel! Not ONE person. Instead of just sitting there we decided to do the panel live on Facebook where we ended up with a good audience so it worked out after all. And we have this nice little video of the panel on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CandyLKeane/videos/1099945683433305/
After the panel we wandered around a short time before Keelan needed a nap and had to go back to the hotel. Bridget and I stayed a bit longer and after having some pizza I felt ready for a nap myself!
Things I have to learn to work around for the next event-
Nap times. Cranky babies are no fun and will not pose for pictures no matter how cute they are in their costume. Getting a hotel close enough to walk back for a nap is crucial.
Baby friendly functional costuming for myself. It’s hard to hold a baby wearing big cardboard wings and shoulder armor.
A dedicated baby helper. I didn’t even think about this until I got there, but there was no way I’d be able to change a diaper in the outfit! My wings were attached to a corseted harness so taking them off was like getting half undressed.
Our next event will be Ancient City Con, July 15-17, though I will have a Three Muses Clothing booth at that one so Keelan will just be visiting with his dad one day. I’ve got it all planned out…no really…
11 AM Sunday, May 29, I’ll be doing a Cosplay with Your Kids panel with cosplayer and fellow geek mama Jenna Esposito at MegaCon in Room W311A. I’m a professional costume designer and long-time cosplayer who has been planning my son’s costumes since before he was born. Me on Facebook: Candy Keane
We will be chatting about our experience cosplaying with our kids and things we’ve learned along the way.