Ten DOs and DON’Ts of Cosplay

Is Post-Con Depression setting in now that Anime Midwest and Anime Expo are over? Don’t despair! On July 17th from 5:30 P.M. to 9 P.M. here in the Vortex, we are holding an after-hours Mini Comic-Con for grades 6-12! To register, click here.

Parental Permission slips will be required to complete your registration and can be picked up in the Vortex!

As cosplay is a big part of conventions there are some simple things to keep in mind when cosplaying!


1. Have Fun!

I put this as the first and foremost tip because it’s something easily forgotten. As stressful as it can be scrambling to put together a cosplay in time for a convention (Nothing gives you motivation like a deadline!), it’s all worth it to be able to have fun with other people who are in the same fandom as you.

2. Pick a Character You Like & Get to Know Them

Avoid cosplaying characters that you really don’t like and are only doing it out of obligation to someone else. You may feel like you’re letting a friend down by saying no, but it’ll work out better in the long run to come to a compromise with that friend and choose characters you both like! This way you both get to have fun and aren’t stuck in a costume you didn’t want to be in, in the first place. Nothing ruins the fun of cosplay like coercion!


Ron Stoppable is one of my favorite characters from Kim Possible. This expression. I love it. I wonder if they practiced it in a mirror before the con! (Taken at Con-Alt-Delete 2014)

Okay! The character is picked out! Your outfit is on schedule! But! How well do you know your character? If it’s a character you don’t know as well try to do a small bit of research. Are there any notable catchphrases they have? Any iconic poses? A well posed shot can sometimes be all it needs to take a good cosplay to great! This also leads well into the next tip.

3. Be Prepared for Someone to Ask to Take Your Picture

Pictures and Cosplay go hand-in-hand. Everyone loves to be able to look back and remember that awesome cosplay they saw at a convention! I freaked out at Anime Central when two of my friends were cosplaying as Jack Frost (Rise of the Guardians) and Elsa (Frozen). I think if they ever met, they would make the cutest couple. Even though they’re friends, you bet I still asked before taking their photo!


Apparently Elsa was not as stoked about this pairing as I was. (Taken at Anime Central 2015)

4. Have a Backup Outfit in Case of Emergencies
You never know if the weather will end up being too hot or too cold or (heaven forbid) you get something spilled on your cosplay. Have at least one extra pair of clothes with you in the car or hotel room (if you have one) for a worst-case scenario! Doesn’t matter if it’s plainclothes or another cosplay, just have a backup of something to wear! It never hurts to be a little over-prepared.

5. Bring a Small Sewing Kit for Any Repairs Needed

Oh no! You snagged your cosplay on something and there’s a slight tear in it now! Never fear! For your handy-dandy sewing kit is here because you remembered to bring one! For your emergency kit I recommend: one or two sewing needles, a spool or two of thread that matches the cosplay that may need repairing, a small handful of different sized safety pins, and some scissors. Doing this has saved me on more than one occasion! If you don’t need it, you may run into someone else who does. We’re all in this together!


1. Think You Need to Have the Perfect Cosplay

Everyone has different budgets and skill levels so never feel discouraged if it isn’t up to the expectations you had in your head right away. Practice! Practice! Practice! I have to remind myself of this constantly because I am a perfectionist and want everything perfect on the first try with zero effort because my brain thinks this is magic-happy-land where that’s even plausible.


Look how creative these genderbent Auron and Seymour (Final Fantasy X) are! If they had worried about being perfect, this awesomeness would have never have existed! (Taken at Anime Midwest 2015)

2. Forget to do a Makeup Test Before the Con

Doing a cosplay such as a troll from Homestuck that requires intensive makeup? Do a makeup test at least a few days before the con (regardless if your outfit is together or not) to make sure you do not have a reaction to the makeup you are using. Test a small patch of makeup on your hand or lower arm to make sure there will be no issues! If you are putting makeup on your arms and hands. Seal, seal, seal it! And seal it again! You don’t want it rubbing off on furniture or other people! Eek!

3. Feel Bad if You See Someone Else Cosplaying the Same Character

Some people may feel the desire to compare yourself to others cosplaying the same person as you. Resist! Do not submit to that! For in that way lies madness (and unnecessary jealousy). Instead of comparing yourself, use this as an ice breaker instead! Introduce yourself. Get a photo with them. You guys obviously have something in common if you’re both the same character! It’s an opportunity to make a new friend instead!

4. Be a Cosplay Snob

A cosplay snob is when someone intentionally says hurtful things to criticize someone else’s cosplay whether in front of them or behind their back. This is completely separate from constructive criticism. It is fine to give helpful tips to other cosplayers if you are already having a conversation together about cosplay. It’s a completely separate issue to say mean things about an outfit because it isn’t up to some imagined unrealistic standards of cosplay. As stated earlier, everyone has different budgets and skill levels so always take that in consideration! We’re all here to have fun and help each other out!

5. Forget to Have Fun!

I am ending this list with the same thing I began it with. Have fun! At the end of the day, we’re all people in costume just trying to have a good time and express our favorite fandoms. Don’t let any grumpy jellyfish get you down!


From Left: Yuan, Lloyd, Raine, Kratos, and Marble from Tales of Symphonia. Cosplay is fun whether you’re alone or in a group like these guys! (Taken at Anime Central 2015)

Hope to see you all at the Mini-Comic Con! Who do you want to dress up as? Recognize any of the cosplayers I took photos of? Tell us in the comments below!

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