Anime STL is this weekend and, for the first time since high school, I have off work without asking for it. I try to go every year, but sometimes, I am just not able to. That being said, as one of the largest anime conventions in the Midwest, ASTL is one of the few events I look forward to every spring.
In honor of ASTL starting tomorrow, I have created a Cloud 9 post of basic Dos and Don’ts for con going!
Do – Pre-register
If you know you are 100% without a doubt attending, definitely pre-register. Most cons have discounts if you pre-register early enough which can save precious dollars. Most cons also allow for those who pre-reg to pick up their badges early, maybe by a whole day. This can save precious time. Nobody wants to be stuck in line forever simply waiting to pay or get their badge opening day! Even from the start, there are awesome events to go do and see and you don’t want to miss them!
Don’t – Be afraid to dress up!
Seriously don’t. Even if it’s not handmade or homemade, don’t be afraid to wear a costume or something you normally wouldn’t outside of a con. Like every fandom, some people can be d***s, but the majority of con goers are pretty laid back and happy to be there among like-minded people. Worst case scenario would be some jerks making fun of your outfit but more likely a couple people may recognize what it stems from and making a positive comment about it.
Do – Vendors!
This is a category all its own. I filtered through a couple options like “treat yourself to a gift” and “be sure to buy some tasty treats .” Eventually, I just settled on Vendors because you can’t just focus on one aspect. Be sure to splurge on at least one item for yourself. Whether it be a plushie, action figure, an item of clothing, or what have you, don’t be afraid to spoil yourself with at least one large ticket item.
Also, don’t forget to partake of their tasty treats. Cons typically have at least a few vendors selling foreign noms for the testing, many of which are absolutely phenomenal. I have found some of my favorite snacks just from picking up random packets that looked good. Even if you can’t read the labels, the images on the packaging are pretty transparent and you can get an idea of what may be inside.
Keep in mind that a lot of vendors are actually local. Cons are a great way for them to get publicity as well as earn some extra money. So when you purchase from these vendors, you are not only supporting the con, but your community as well.
Don’t – Forget your manners
This was another topic that was more specific, mainly “don’t touch anyone without their permission,” but I broadened it after a bit of consideration. While “Cosplay is not consent” is still a major glaring problem, so is a slew of other behaviors that include tearing up the venue, disturbing other patrons of the surrounding area, and just generally being disrespectful to property and people. I am not sure where all this stems from, but it needs to stop. Cons have a much different atmosphere than just hanging out with friends, but that doesn’t negate the general rules of society, mainly have some manners. The reason I am so adamant about this is not only because of the stigma that gets tagged on to con goers but shutting down cons as well. If con goers are going to tear up the venue and harass patrons of the surrounding area, venues can and will refuse to host them and even close them down. You want nice things? Then be respectful.
Do – Visit Artist’s Alley
One of my favorite parts of cons is Artist’s Alley. Like the vendors, the Alley houses local artists selling their wares, whether it be artwork, crafts, or handmade products of some kind. It also is a great publicity opportunity for them and helps them earn money. Unfortunately, it also costs them a good amount of money just to have a table. Even if you can’t afford anything, please check them out! They typically have business cards so you can follow them on social medias or visit their online shops. Cons are a great way to get exposure and it means a lot to these artists for you to even just stop by, look at their products, and say hi.
That being said, you can find some amazing artists that are definitely worth checking out.
Don’t – Limit yourself/do something you don’t want to do
This can be a wide-ranging topic. If you want to go to the serious dark side of it, don’t do anything you feel uncomfortable doing whether it’s something as serious as going to someone’s hotel room to something as simple as taking a picture with someone. If you don’t want to do it, DON’T.
The lighter side of this is something as basic as sitting through a panel you aren’t enjoying. Cons are usually stuffed to the last second with fun and interesting events, panels, etc. so if you find that the panel you really wanted to go to isn’t as fun as you thought it would be, move on, find something else. With events constantly happening, there should never be a dull or wasted moment.
Do – Take a lot of pictures!
Cons can be one the most enjoyable things you partake in all year. With the rise of cell phones and social media, it is much easier in our day and age to commemorate the funs times with photos. And if you ask any con goer, pictures are among the best souvenirs you can bring home from a con. There are even groups and events/meet ups dedicated to it. Not to mention there are always amazing cosplays to witness. Cosplayers work hard on their outfits and one of the best compliments you can give them is asking for their picture. And don’t be afraid to ask for one with them!
Don’t – Curb your enthusiasm
You have been waiting for this con for forever! It is clearly something you’re passionate about otherwise you wouldn’t be going. That being said, don’t curb your enthusiasm. You are surrounded by like minded people who are just as excited about it as you are! Open up, be free to fangirl/boy all you want over something you enjoy. Rather than make fun of you, you’ll probably find someone who is just as passionate. Cons can be some of the most liberating events and you may find some new friends in the process.
Do – Explore & relax
This is another topic that is a bit vague and broad-ranging, but there is no better way to word it. There is a lot to do at cons. From the shops to the panels and shows to the meetups, there are always funs things going on. You may miss them, though, if you are hiding out in a corner. Explore = experience! And don’t be afraid to do something you typically wouldn’t do. The truth is there is someone there just as scared or shy as you are. Cons are a great opportunity to explore things you normally wouldn’t on a regular basis.
That being said, also try to relax. Don’t have a heart attack if you are a couple minutes late to a panel you wanted to see or didn’t get to buy that pocky you wanted. Having a game plan is a good idea but don’t be so inflexible that if you veer from the game plan, it causes you undue stress. Cons are meant to be enjoyed so don’t turn it into a chore/work.
That is my Cloud 9 posts of nine things you should and shouldn’t do at cons. To me, they are fairly simple things that (save for #3) don’t cost any more than effort.
Do you agree with my list? What are some things that you feel con goers simply must do or avoid?