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Understanding Cosplay: A Sneak Peek Behind the Scenes to Help You Get Started

You might have seen a group of people walking across the street in elaborate costumes. No, it isn’t an early Halloween. What you see is probably a group of cosplayers.

If you have no clue what cosplayers look like, take to the Web! There are dozens of sites where you can check out pictures from expos, house parties and even every day street attire. Try looking at some funny pictures on for starters.

If you are aspiring to get into cosplay, either for Halloween or for an upcoming convention, look no further. Here are a few tips to get you started:

What is Cosplay?

Often compared to LARP’s (Live Action Role Play), cosplayers dress up as their favorite characters from movies, video games, magna or anime. Cosplay has been influential into popular culture, especially in Asia, where Japanese street fashion has a twist of cosplay.

The term cosplay — which conjoins the words “costume” and “play” — was actually coined by Japanese animator Nobuyuki Takahashi after attending an anime convention in Los Angeles in 1984, according to the Huffington Post. Now cosplay is known world-wide and millions of people participate in hundreds of cosplay conventions around the world.

Alodia Gosiengfiao, a Filipina cosplayer as the Baroness.

Conventions: What to Expect

Cosplay conventions are very similar to Comic-Con. People come dressed head to toe in costumes, which they often spend weeks on making themselves.

One of the biggest and well-known cosplay conventions has to be Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo. At any given moment you can expect to run into celebrities, and there are educational panels, artists, interactive activities and hundreds of people dressed as their favorite characters.

The Dos and Don’ts of Cosplay

Fan-favorite Jessica Nigri as Madd Moxxi from Borderlands.

Cosplay is a way of life for some. It helps them release the day’s stress away, and is a way for them to connect with other people in the gaming and movie world.

Do: Dress in characters you can relate to or enjoy. Pay close attention to their mannerisms so you can pull them off without a hitch. Try to bring your character to life!

Don’t: Please don’t dress up in cosplay just to win a contest. It’s all about the fun of the hobby, not being greedy and showing off your crafty DIY skills to try to win some cash. And don’t think you are the best person that has every played your character. If you think like that you will be guaranteed to have a fist fight with someone, not fun.

A Few Tips

Dark Link from the Legend of Zelda cosplayer.

It might seem like a “no duh!” comment, but make sure your technology devices are fully charged. Cell phone, camera, iPad, tablet, video camera or anything else you plan on using during the convention needs to have a full charge, that way you can capture all the pictures, interviews, inspiring costumes and celebrities.

Most places allow you to bring in un-opened water bottles. Bring them! There are so many people at these things, it will get very hot very fast. You will be thankful you brought H2O with you.

Only bring in the amount of money you are willing to spend. As tempting as it is to buy the latest issue of your favorite comic, if you don’t have the money for it don’t get it. Avoid the ATM at all costs!


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