January 2, 2012

FAQ for First Time Convention Attendees Staff

Do I need to buy a ticket to get in? You will need to buy a badge, which grants you admission to the conventions. To get a badge you need to register for the convention, by either pre-registering before the event or when you arrive at the event. Badge prices range from free to over $100, but usually are between $30-$60 for the entire weekend, less if you only plan to attend one day. Be sure to check the convention's web site for pricing.

What does pre-registering mean? Pre-registering means you register for a badge in advance for the convention, instead of at the door. There are many benefits to this. First, the badge is usually cheaper. Second, when you arrive to get your badge it's usually faster than getting your badge at the door. Third, if there is an attendance cap, this will guarantee that you will be able to attend and you don't have to worry about the event selling out. Definitely pre-register if you can. Check the convention's web site on how to pre-register for their con.

Where do I get my badge? You get your badge at registration, which is where all attendees must go before they are able to go into the convention. Check the convention's web site beforehand to see where registration will be. There will likely be signs when you arrive to the location, pointing you in the right direction, or you can ask a staff member where to go.

Do I have to go to registration each day? Do I need a different badge or ticket for each day? No, you only need to go to registration on your first day. You do not need a different badge or ticket for each day. Just make sure you don't lose your badge. If you do, chances are you'll have to buy a new one.

What time does it start? What time is _________ event? Where is the schedule? Starting times for conventions can vary, so be sure to check the convention's web site for that information. Most conventions put up a preliminary schedule at least a week before the convention starts, so people can get an idea of when the many events are. Schedules often change, sometimes at the last minute, so be sure to find the most updated schedule each day of the convention. (Check the info desk for updates.)

How much money should I bring? It depends on what con your going to, it's location, and how far away it is from you. The things you absolutely need money for are a badge, transportation, food, and lodging (unless you are commuting from home). Check out our How-To Guide for Making a Budget for a Convention for more information.

How old do I have to be to attend? Unless otherwise stated by the con, it is open to all ages. If you are under 18, be sure to check the convention's rules about whether you can attend on your own or if you may need some kind of parental signature. If you are under the age of 13, you will likely need a parent with you. There is also programming that may be 18+ or 21+, which you will need a valid ID to get in.

How old do I have to be to get a hotel room? Either 18 or 21, it depends on the hotel. You will also need a credit card to make the reservation. If you don't have one, call the hotel directly and see about putting down a cash deposit instead. For more information about hotels, see our How-To Guide for Booking a Hotel Room for an Anime Convention.

I'll be arriving before check-in and/or leaving after check-out and I don't have a car to put my stuff in - what do I do? The hotel will have a bag check area near the front desk. Keep in mind there are likely many people doing this, so don't be surprised to find a long line or if it takes awhile to find your stuff. Remember to tip the hotel staff for this, around $1 per bag is the standard tip.

What is the best day to attend? If you can only attend one day, make it Saturday. Typically, Saturday have the longest hours and the big events. However, Saturday tends to be the most crowded day.

Do I have to cosplay? No, you can wear whatever you want, as long as it meets convention and common decency laws.

What is a masquerade? A masquerade is a costume contest, and it's usually the biggest event at a convention. Participants will showcase their costumes on stage, either in a walk on or some type of skit or performance. They are judged based on things like craftsmanship, on-stage presentation, and performance. Rules for masquerades vary greatly from con to con and even year to year, so if you want to compete, be sure to check out the rules beforehand.

Can I have a weapon as part of my costume? Depends. Conventions have rules and regulations for weapons, usually determined by laws at the local, state, and federal level, as well as the facility's rules. Generally, these include things such as, but not limited to, no live steel, no projectiles, no water guns, and no wooden practice swords. Chances are you will have to make a prop or buy something that's totally con-safe. Check out our podcast episodes from AnimeCons TV for more information about con safe weapons.