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JennyBond

First Time Cosplay / Teenage Daughter

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Hello!

I have a few questions. I have never been to one of these kinds of conferences before. My 12 year old daughter has requested to go as her birthday gift this year and really wants to participate in the Cosplay parts. She was Ezio from Assassin's Creed for Halloween last year and has a few ideas on what she'd like to do for Otakon.

Being new, I have no idea how all this works. I have read around on the different FAQs and it looks like the general stuff like no real weaponry allowed and drink water and don't block traffic flow to take pictures is pretty common sense.

I assume a plastic "knife" from the Halloween store is okay?

For her other costume idea, can we make a cardboard knife prop that is painted semi-realistically? I assume that is okay.

Also, is there anywhere that sort of tells what to do or what options are out there for kids specifically? Do they have kid specific costume shows or contests? Do you just show up and walk around and attend in costume (like the ren fair?) Any advice you can offer a mom bringing her daughter who wants to do the cosplay for the first time would be appreciated. And I will not allow her to wear anything inappropriate for her age (no thong or sexually suggestive stuff...she can wear that when she is 18 and can make that decision on her own, I have no problem with that if ladies choose, I'd do it myself if I had that kind of bod but I think it's inappropriate for children to do that).

She is super excited and I want her to enjoy herself. I did see that it's good to look at the schedule and plan your weekend so we will do that. But Cosplay specific, I'd love more information on just general things I might want to know/be aware of/look for activity wise with her as a "kid" and stuff she might enjoy doing. As a side note, she is super into art and drawing manga if that helps.

Thanks in advance!

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the good news is most of the stuff that has anything that a kid should never be allowed to see requires the 18+ armband.  So there is basically a zero chance of her accidentally seeing anything graphic.  And as for kid friendly honestly most of the con is for all ages.

so basically anything that isnt late at night or has the 18 restriction should be fine for your daughter.  But if she loves to sing they always have a karaoke room and recently added a manga library if she wants to rest while reading.  and there is a video game room which is another all age appropriate kind of rooms if you need to sit.  Besides that it is ren fair esque as in just show up in costume walk around and have fun.

Since you mentioned she loves to draw i would suggest going to the artists alley.  It has people selling stuff they either drew or made themselves so that would probably be alot of fun for her.  And there is usually a panel or 2 about drawing and so forth so when they release the schedule i suggest talking it over with her see what sparks her interest.

There is no real costume contest except the masquerade but i am not sure if that has a age limit.  In terms of labeled exclusively for kids no event springs to mind unless they add something new for this year.

And a plastic knife should be fine just nothing sharp or metal if it is metal then chances are you will have problems.

And some general tips would be

1. Bring cash not everywhere excepts a card.
2. try to avoid eating inside the convention center most of the times the food is overpriced.
3.  Bring a sewing kit if you can sew in case something happens to your daughters costume.  or they have a costume repair station at the con to fix any mishaps.
4. Take 1 hour before you plan to show up to just get familiar where everything is.  Bathrooms water fountains,help desks and so forth.
5.  Always show up early lines can be a big problem.

And i think thats it any other questions feel free to ask

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What Ed said, with a small correction. There's the masquerade, and the hall cosplay contest. I assume Masquerade isn't age restricted, hall contest has a special category for it: https://www.otakon.com/programming/events_hallcostumecontest.asp

Cosplay is worn at all times by what feels like the majority, or almost the majority of Attendees. You won't get anywhere in walking distance of the Convention without seeing plenty of costumes, never the wrong time to wear one. Lots of prop weapons present, plastic and cardboard should be just fine. 

18+ wristbands are carefully handed out and fanatically checked, plus most 18+ panels are clustered at night, after the time in which you'll likely have left for the day. There's little chance of catching anything too risque.

Here's last years schedule if you want to get a sense of what kind of activities are offered: https://guidebook.com/guide/40270/schedule/#date/07-25-2015.  Lines often require arriving 45 min -hour ahead of time just to get in the room. General rule might be: the more excited your daughter is by it, the more chance a lot of other people are too. Take something to occupy the downtime: video games, books, or videos, etc. Since it's an anime convention, personally I watch anime on my tablet while I wait.

Hope it helps! 

 

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I do remember there being some kid specific things at last years con, but if I remember correctly that was more for younger kids so 12 might be the upper age limit for it.  Also since you are going for cosplay I would check the schedule and the forums here for any cosplay meetups specific to the series that she likes.  

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ed12345 - thank you for letting me know there are drawing panels. I think she would enjoy those very much.

thefarawaylife - I read your link on the hall contest and the masquerade. Very helpful, thank you! We will definitely check the schedule out tomorrow night to get an idea what kinds of things go on!

Cl78 - good to know they have series specific cosplay meetups! We will keep an eye out for those! Thank you so much!

All - I appreciate the responses! Thank you so much!

 

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check out cosplay.com if you have not already.There s a lot of information about cosplay tutorials,sewing/fabric craft,props accessories ,armor .make up and hair.

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Everyone has made great suggestions here, so I won't repeat what's already been said. But I just wanted to say kudos for being such an awesome parent; I went to my first anime convention (Anime USA) when I was a freshman in highschool, and my parents just dropped me off and let me do my thing. Your daughter will have such a great time with how thoughtfully you're approaching this. I hope you both have a wonderful time!!

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On 4/7/2016 at 2:13 PM, Kristin Garrett said:

Everyone has made great suggestions here, so I won't repeat what's already been said. But I just wanted to say kudos for being such an awesome parent; I went to my first anime convention (Anime USA) when I was a freshman in highschool, and my parents just dropped me off and let me do my thing. Your daughter will have such a great time with how thoughtfully you're approaching this. I hope you both have a wonderful time!!

Echoing Kristin, the Otakon staff are great in making sure that the event is safe and fun. You can actually turn a 12 year-old loose and they will be safe as long as they stay within the confines of the Otakon. The attendees are, for the most part, very considerate and will tolerate much as long as "you" behave.

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ashrubbery - thanks! Added to my bookmarks list!

Kristin - thank you. I must confess to being one of those parents who'd actually rather enjoy participating but just never had time or an "excuse". But now that my daughter is interested then I can totally indulge!

Gremlich - I tend to have trust issues in any large crowd environment. But I appreciate your assurance that it is a relatively safe place for the kiddos!

 

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On April 6, 2016 at 11:18 AM, JennyBond said:

I assume a plastic "knife" from the Halloween store is okay?

For her other costume idea, can we make a cardboard knife prop that is painted semi-realistically? I assume that is okay.

Both of those are great solutions and totally okay by our weapons policy. I hope you and your daughter have a great time :)

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Everyone's already answered, but I just wanted to chip in that I first attended Otakon early in high school, only a few years older than your daughter (though it was much smaller back then).  It's a great con and very kid friendly.  I had an amazing time as a younger teen and found (and still find) people are very helpful, friendly, and respectful to the younger attendees.  I think you two will have a great time and major kudos for being a parent willing to support your kid getting into cosplay but also doing the research on it!

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I was already grown and out of the house when I started going to conventions, but given your daughter's age, keeping her within eyesight is a must. There is a Jimmy John's and Subway right across the street for cheap food options (but I recommend heading there in the morning before the lunch rush; they both get crowded fast!). If you don't mind the hike, there's also a shopping mall/area with lots of affordable dining options by the harbor. I try to hit up the deli there at least once and my friends and I may hit up the Hard Rock or Cheesecake Factory if we feel like splurging.

There's a "chibi corner" in the convention with activities aimed at minors, but she may be just outside the age range of kids that would be interested in it. I also recommend checking out the cultural panels. If my submitted panel is approved, I highly recommend stopping by to check it out, since it's aimed at parents looking to understand the culture shock that comes with conventions.

If you want autographs, get in line EARLY! The lines fill up super-fast! When you get your con booklet, take a look at it with your daughter and mark up the things that look interesting. I also highly recommend the Guidebook app if you have a smartphone. Things can change at the last minute and you'll be in the know with Guidebook.

Also, make sure to bring comfy shoes and break them in before go-time, because you're definitely doing lots of walking. If she's into it, I also recommend checking out the LARP. Even if you don't play much, it's usually in a big, open room and is a nice, quiet place to chill out for a few hours.

And don't forget people watching! Sometimes it's fun to hang out and check out people's awesome costumes and outfits. If you ask, most people will pose for you and create awesome memories to take home.

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Otakon is a family friendly convention, you'll have lots of fun. Everything in the schedule has a description so you can tell if it's appropriate for your daughter, where applicable there are TV maturity ratings, like T for teen.

I would say that if she cosplays be prepared to be stopped by photographers. Children cosplayers get lots of attention, there's also a photo suite where she can get professional photos of her cosplays and get prints. There is a page of all Otakon policies with details on what weapons are prohibited: http://otakon.com/policies.asp

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It's a great convention with a lot of friendly people so don't be afraid to ask! Even if you don't see a staffer(which would be almost impossible) ask a random friendly face, almost everyone will be helpful. Also there are all age groups in attendance so don't be surprised if you make a few friends of your own.

A few things I would like to toss out there.

1. There's usually a how to draw manga workshop, sounds like that would be perfect.

2. Voice actor/actress panels are always fun but line up early.

3. This is still Baltimore which can be a dangerous city. The inner harbor is kind of a safe zone. If you're walking around outside keep an eye on how many con goers are around. You'll notice they thin out the farther you get from the inner harbor. If you stop seeing cosplayers turn around, you went too far. But you probably won't have any reason to venture that far. 

4. There have been a few instances of potentially "objectionable" anime playing in non 18+ rooms. Not porn or anything but a flash of panties or a nipple(usually called fanservice). It is highly unlikely you will run into that but if you are concerned at all about a showing just ask some people going in.

5. The dealers room is awesome, prepare to spend 1-2hrs in there. Just avoid anything that says "hentai","yaoi", or "yuri". They keep it all covered I just didn't want you to pick one up and get a surprise.

6. When you exit the dealers room take a hard right into the art room. You'll spend a good amount of time in there but totally worth it.

7. Wear comfortable shoes. Seriously you are going to walk a lot.

If you haven't booked a room yet you won't get one in the inner harbor. Hotels by the airport will be a pretty safe bet. Just drive in and park at a garage. When it's all over you will have a con hangover but I'm willing to bet you will have a great time and want to come back next year.

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Everyone has made really great suggestions, so I won't repeat them much. I just wanted to say that I hope you both have a wonderful time :)  Definitely take some time to check out the Artist Alley, if your daughter is into art. Echoing what others have said, there's tons of handmade crafts, artworks, jewelry, ect. She can even have customized artwork commissioned of herself (or herself in costume.) in various anime/manga/original styles. That might be a fun keepsake for her. A lot of artist's do commissions on the spot, so if they aren't to busy she could even watch them work on her picture.

It will be hot. I know it's common sense, but always have a bottle of water with you guys.

The only other thing I can think of, is to be prepared for a crowd. Otakon has outgrown the BCC pretty decently, and with this being the last year in Baltimore for the convention (moving to DC next year) it may be more crowded than normal. Make sure if there is something she's dying to see or attend that you give yourselves enough time to line up. The panel and workshop rooms fill quickly.

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On 4/11/2016 at 7:51 AM, KuhnKuhn said:

Everyone's already answered, but I just wanted to chip in that I first attended Otakon early in high school, only a few years older than your daughter (though it was much smaller back then).  It's a great con and very kid friendly.  I had an amazing time as a younger teen and found (and still find) people are very helpful, friendly, and respectful to the younger attendees.  I think you two will have a great time and major kudos for being a parent willing to support your kid getting into cosplay but also doing the research on it!

I have been to a lot of conferences and have been pleased that for the most part, people are pretty awesome. Especially towards kids. Thanks for confirming what I hoped would be the case here as well!

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On 4/12/2016 at 4:33 AM, Tigress said:

I was already grown and out of the house when I started going to conventions, but given your daughter's age, keeping her within eyesight is a must. There is a Jimmy John's and Subway right across the street for cheap food options (but I recommend heading there in the morning before the lunch rush; they both get crowded fast!). If you don't mind the hike, there's also a shopping mall/area with lots of affordable dining options by the harbor. I try to hit up the deli there at least once and my friends and I may hit up the Hard Rock or Cheesecake Factory if we feel like splurging.

There's a "chibi corner" in the convention with activities aimed at minors, but she may be just outside the age range of kids that would be interested in it. I also recommend checking out the cultural panels. If my submitted panel is approved, I highly recommend stopping by to check it out, since it's aimed at parents looking to understand the culture shock that comes with conventions.

If you want autographs, get in line EARLY! The lines fill up super-fast! When you get your con booklet, take a look at it with your daughter and mark up the things that look interesting. I also highly recommend the Guidebook app if you have a smartphone. Things can change at the last minute and you'll be in the know with Guidebook.

Also, make sure to bring comfy shoes and break them in before go-time, because you're definitely doing lots of walking. If she's into it, I also recommend checking out the LARP. Even if you don't play much, it's usually in a big, open room and is a nice, quiet place to chill out for a few hours.

And don't forget people watching! Sometimes it's fun to hang out and check out people's awesome costumes and outfits. If you ask, most people will pose for you and create awesome memories to take home.

I am actually headed to another conference at the BCC so I can scout out food places in the area ahead of time! The chibi corner does sound a bit "young" for her but it sounds like the drawing panels will be her style for sure.  LARP is something that has always interested me so we will check that out. I love that she is at an age that we can do these things together. Thanks for the advice!

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On 4/14/2016 at 3:43 PM, Neardawg said:

Otakon is a family friendly convention, you'll have lots of fun. Everything in the schedule has a description so you can tell if it's appropriate for your daughter, where applicable there are TV maturity ratings, like T for teen.

I would say that if she cosplays be prepared to be stopped by photographers. Children cosplayers get lots of attention, there's also a photo suite where she can get professional photos of her cosplays and get prints. There is a page of all Otakon policies with details on what weapons are prohibited: http://otakon.com/policies.asp

Thanks! We did go to the Ren fair where she wore a full costume and she was stunned at how many folks wanted to take her picture. I told her it was up to her to decide and give permission and she quite enjoyed the attention. How much do professional photos run? I know they probably have packages but in general, can you get something decent for under $100 or would it be much more than that?

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6 hours ago, Irvette232 said:

Everyone has made really great suggestions, so I won't repeat them much. I just wanted to say that I hope you both have a wonderful time :)  Definitely take some time to check out the Artist Alley, if your daughter is into art. Echoing what others have said, there's tons of handmade crafts, artworks, jewelry, ect. She can even have customized artwork commissioned of herself (or herself in costume.) in various anime/manga/original styles. That might be a fun keepsake for her. A lot of artist's do commissions on the spot, so if they aren't to busy she could even watch them work on her picture.

It will be hot. I know it's common sense, but always have a bottle of water with you guys.

The only other thing I can think of, is to be prepared for a crowd. Otakon has outgrown the BCC pretty decently, and with this being the last year in Baltimore for the convention (moving to DC next year) it may be more crowded than normal. Make sure if there is something she's dying to see or attend that you give yourselves enough time to line up. The panel and workshop rooms fill quickly.

Oh! I bet she'd love a piece of artwork with her in the Attack on Titan gear! This is for her birthday so that might be her big treat! I think she will really love the art stuff. Thanks for the idea!

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Thanks! We did go to the Ren fair where she wore a full costume and she was stunned at how many folks wanted to take her picture. I told her it was up to her to decide and give permission and she quite enjoyed the attention. How much do professional photos run? I know they probably have packages but in general, can you get something decent for under $100 or would it be much more than that?

The photographers are volunteers just like the rest of the staff, so you are only really paying for the cost of the materials. You can buy as much as you want or as little, you don't even have to buy anything. You can have your picture taken and they might use it in the program for next year. I can't remember prices because it's been a couple years since I've done it, but I wouldn't have bought prints if they were more than $50. They've also been making your pictures available on a thumb drive they provide.

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Although I suppose some of those photographers do private sessions outside the photo suite for their normal rate.

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I usually visit the photosuite at least once. They charge $35 - 40 per session and put everything on a flash drive for you. Prints are extra. They are super-friendly.

Here's my samples from last year:

Captain America - https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152908508786650.1073741847.717771649&type=1&l=1102267dca

Merida - https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152908512051650.1073741848.717771649&type=1&l=501417eda5

 

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If you are going for the first time please be prepared to be totally blown away. You and your daughter. You are attending one of the biggest and best Anime Conventions in the country. You're daughter I am sure knows all about it. Without a doubt she will be in awe of what she will experience the second she walks into the convention. I guarantee she will love and and never forget it. Just want to prepare you that Cosplay actually is way beyond a costume. Actually costume as far as I see is sort of well below standard as to what Cosplay is. Someone in Cosplay should have every detail of the character they become perfect. Every last detail. From make up, hair, to clothes. It helps to even resemble the character. Totally professional with no short cuts. Believe me it will be known and also admired and honored by everyone there for the effort. Serious Cosplayers go to Otakon. You see You actually become that character and you portray the character with honor and respect throughout the convention. If you get it right you will no doubt have a lot of people asking to take a picture of your daughter in her selected character. She will then strike a character signature pose of her choice and will realize that she has finally arrived. It's hard sometimes for parents who are unfamiliar to sort of understand at first but I know you will say oh yeah I know what he meant now. Even if not perfection  I can tell you that Otakon Anime members are the nicest and most accepting and ready to embrace everyone involved in the Anime community. So if you're attending you and you daughter will get that feeling I'm sure. My advice is to just step back and let her enjoy it and follow her around allowing her to do and see everything she wants. Trust me you're going to love it too. Bring money cause once you hit the Dealers Room there are a lot of must haves and probably related to your daughters character choices and favorites. Be ready for that but don't be scared it's manageable No use going to it if you are not going to take advantage of the vendors from all over who are now in one place at one time. Don't be too cheap, Cause cheap means you might buy a potential bootleg item which is really rare at Otakon but could happen. Hey you never no. By the way Otakon does not tolerate misrepresentations through bootlegs period. I don't speak for them but this is what I observe. The authentic items cost, but  I'm sure she will be conscious and considerate of an informal budget you have anyway. I'm sure she will need to walk away with at least one figure. Some other suggestions which can make you happy to attend would be industry panel voice actors, at least one concert, a fashion show. I'm sure she will plan it all out for you anyway. Don't forget Artist Alley. Some of the artists there are already famous in their own right. So take the time to look around. Approach wth an open mind and no snob behavior which makes many miss some good opportunities as they walk by. Again, I'm sure your daughter already know this also. PS I always found the Convention Center BCC quite beautiful itself. Look around explore. Take the time to smell the roses as they say. Take a lot of pictures yourself. If all goes as planned you will be very very sad when the Convention ends. You may even go through Otakon withdrawal for a while, but that's alright, because you will be the first one in yournfamily eager to sign on for Otakon 2017. Wish you all the best. Enjoy yourself . I am so happy for your daughter just like I was when my daughter started years ago. 

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