It’s the very beginning of October, which can only mean one thing – fall con season is in full swing. We’ve got a ridiculous amount of conventions coming up across the United States – New York Comic Con, Geek Girls Con, Stan Lee’s Comikaze, Blizzcon 2013, Pacific Media Expo, and an insanely long list of local anime cons, various comic cons big and small, and oh my god basically all of the cons you can think of and some you can’t. (You’re welcome for those links, by the way.) We’re not exactly con-going experts, but we have learned a few things about cons, which we will pass on to you guys. While we’ve got Unique Geek’s Nerdy Fashion for Cons, we thought this subject needs a little… more. So, um, yeah… Here’s a comprehensive guide on what you should wear, what you should bring, and what you should expect, no matter what con you end up at.
We all know that you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight, you don’t bring Neil Diamond flowers, and you don’t bring a gun to a fight with Lucifer (although, I mean, you could always try, would it hurt really?). However, the question remains – what do you bring to the con with you? Here’s a list of things FG thinks are essential to have with you while you’re out and about at a con.
- Lip Balm – con spaces are usually air conditioned to the max, which means cold dry air that will definitely make your lips all chapped and icky. Grab the cupcake lip balm above, or go all DIY and make yourself some Ten/Rose lip balm.
- Wallet – if you don’t normally use a wallet, I recommend it for cons. Put it somewhere convenient and hard to snatch from – like inside your bra. Or, do what I do, and hide money inside of CD cases. No one’s going to grab a random CD case from inside your purse! Get this wallet from Hot Topic.
- Band-aids – paper cuts happen, skinning your knee happens, stabbing yourself with pencils happens. Get some comic book themed bandages to stick with the theme of comic con. Pictured above are OUCH! Plasters – Comic Strips.
- Eyeliner – It doesn’t matter what you look like, as long as you’ve put some eyeliner on. I swear by Lorac’s Midnight Sparkle eye pencil, and have been using it since I was like… fourteen. It’s perfect for every occasion, and remember – a con is also an occasion. Also, bring a thin pencil liner, preferably in black – this one from Topshop is pretty nice.
- Mirror – How on earth are you going to put on eyeliner if you don’t have a mirror? Get yourself a mirror. I like this mirror compact from Forever 21 because the designs are cute and it closes very firmly, which means low risk of it opening (and possibly shattering) in your purse. Also, it’s like four dollars or something. God.
- Marker – wait, are you one of those people who don’t carry sharpies everywhere with them for nefarious purposes? Because, you know, there’s a lot you can do with a sharpie. You can write. You can draw. You can leave “I BELIEVE IN SHERLOCK HOLMES” graffiti on things (note that we do not endorse vandalism). You can draw on yourself, and with the aid of baby powder and hairspray, you can turn those drawings into temporary tattoos. You can embarrass your sleeping friends with designs on their face (that’s what they get for Paypaling you the money for the hotel late!).
- Lighter – lighters are good for a lot of things – like salt and burns, icebreakers, setting things afire (we do not endorse arson) and many more. You’ll find at least three in my purse at all times, and two of them will have Lynyrd Skynyrd’s logo on them.
- Washi Tape – better than regular scotch tape at holding together things that need to stay rolled up, like posters for example. We all buy posters at cons, right? Washi tape peels off easily and is less likely to damage the paper things that you need to roll up. Plus, if you get drunk, you can tape things to your boss… especially if it’s Avengers washi tape. And before you ask… yes, they have this thing. I have some of this chevron one too, though, and it’s pretty fantastic.
- Clear Nail Polish – This is kind of my answer to everything. Need to make sure a sticker won’t peel? NAIL POLISH. Need to stick things to other things? NAIL POLISH. Run in your tights? NAIL POLISH. Don’t want the edge of something to fray? NAIL POLISH. Need to paint your nails? Umm… better use a sharpie I guess…
- Camera – kind of a no-brainer. You’ll want to document every minute of your con experience, and by golly, modern technology allows us to do just that! So bring a camera along.
- Notebook – Write down the names of people whom you meet and want to add on FB forever and all eternity. Take notes about a particularly interesting panel. Scribble directions to the bathrooms or the nearest deli or the parking garage. Keep track of your con schedule. And, you can put smaller things, such as business cards, postcards and flyers inside the pages to make sure they don’t get crumpled, lost or destroyed. Since the Doctor says to always bring a banana, I would advise you to do just that – in notebook form! This one’s by Topshop and you can bet the Devil your left toe that I’m going to see about getting myself one.
- Water Bottle – water tends to be overpriced at these things. Like, the last thing I went to, water was FOUR BUCKS A BOTTLE? Umm yeah no. Just get a large water bottle (like this one from Modcloth, come on, it’s got that comic book motif going on) and fill it up with water.
- Breath Mints – Okay, so imagine this. You (for whatever mysterious reason) are required to make out with Misha Collins to save the world. Or something. I don’t know. Why do normal people want their breath to smell good? Yeah, those reasons. I am always paranoid about mine because I eat a lot of onions. Those things sure are tasty.
- Tote Bag – You’re going to be shopping in the dealer’s room, right? Like, the main reason I go to things is for the shopping. (Ask me what I’m buying at NYCC, I dare you.) Things aren’t going to always fit into your bag/purse/interdimensional portable hellhole, and unless you’re starting out early in the morning on the first day of the con the dealers will probably have run out of plastic and paper bags, so bring along a rolled-up tote bag. Also, it’s good for the environment and it can hold heavy things. I like this one, (especially for if you’re cosplaying Rose Tyler,) over at Wildfox Couture.
- Your Enthusiasm (not pictured) - I may or may not have put this point in because I misnumbered the picture and didn’t want to re-number and re-upload it. In any case, you should definitely bring your enthusiasm, regardless of whether Loki dun goof’d on this thing. And bring plenty of it, especially for multi-day cons.
- Painkiller Of Choice – trust us, you’ll be on your feet so much that popping Advil like it’s candy will come naturally.
Okay, well, what if you’re coming in for the con from out of town, state or country? What do you pack (other than normal things people pack when traveling)? We’re going to assume that you are, first of all, a moderately competent adult who knows how to pack for a weekend out of town and that you’ve checked relevant Reddit, Tumblr and Pinterest boards for life hacks, tips, tricks and information on how to travel like a moderately competent adult. Here’s things we are pretty sure you will want to pack for a comic con experience.
- Folders – If you end up buying things like comic books or art prints and need to transport them in a way that won’t end with a mangled, folded mess, get some folders. We recommend heading into a pharmacy and picking up a couple of those overpriced but really nice plastic Five Star folders. Or ten. They don’t get mangled and they don’t fold – which is excellent news for the ridiculous amount of paper goods you’re bringing home.
- Extra Strength Hairspray – What’s the best way to insure that your hair will behave the entire weekend? Hairspray. Strong hairspray. I like Aussie brand hairspray, because it smells really nice, is a good value, doesn’t make my hair feel like it’s covered in dried vomit on a Wednesday morning walk of shame, and comes in a pretty purple can. Also, hairspray doubles as a flamethrower if you add in a lighter – really convenient if you end up in a zombie apocalypse or need to perform an emergency salt and burn. (We repeat, this blog does not condone or recommend arson, unless it is in ancient Rome and you have a fiddle.)
- Dry Shampoo – If you have beastly length hair and don’t want to do pesky things like wash it every day of the con (especially if it takes hours to dry) you should totally grab some dry shampoo.
- Sewing Kit – Even if you’re not cosplaying, you should assume things – like hems, sides, seams, and limbs – will get ripped during the con and that you will need an emergency way to fix these things. While you can get a sewing kit at almost any dollar store, this one comes in a really cute tin, and if there’s anything I like in life, it’s really cute tins.
- Superglue – You should always assume something will need to be superglued to the ceiling and plan accordingly.
- Febreeze – If you have hotel at a con, we are going to assume that you’re spending the weekend’s nights in cramped, budget surroundings with six to eighteen other people. This environment may be smelly, so we encourage you to spray Febreeze in all four cardinal directions until the funky smell (or its source) leaves you (and the room) forever.
- Snacks – If you are on a budget, you should pack snacks with you. Why? Well, there might not be adequate sources of not-overpriced food in the hotel; room service is expensive, and you do not want to pay eighteen bucks for that one kit-kat bar from the minifridge in your room, trust us. So pack some things like cup noodles, protein bars and possibly bananas. You should always bring a banana to a party, Rose.
- Duct Tape – I think we’ve already established that here at 3 Chic Geeks, we are BIG proponents of duct tape. And yes, you need it with you. What if Tom Hiddleston needs to be kidnapped or something? (Please note that we here at 3 Chic Geeks do not endorse kidnapping.)
- Ear muffs – If you’re one of those people who’s sharing their hotel with six to eighteen others, we’re going to assume at least one of those people snores. For maximum effectiveness, pair with earplugs. You can obtain these earmuffs here.
That’s all for this list, everyone. Stay tuned for parts 2 (what to expect) and 3 (what to wear) coming soon.
What cons are you going to this fall? What other things do you think are con-going essentials? Leave us a comment below, or hit us up on Facebook and Twitter!