You found an amazing costume and have been practicing your poses, but before you hit the convention floor with your friends, you need to make sure that your props are convention safe. Safety is a big concern at conventions, so it’s important to do your part and be a responsible convention goer.
If your costume requires a prop, review your convention’s weapon policy for what is acceptable. When you get to the convention, it’s recommended to go through a “weapons check”, which is just what it’s called when workers inspect your prop prior to you venturing out onto the convention floor. It’s better to be safe than sorry. When approved by weapons check, they will tag your prop. For example, if you have a fake gun, this approval tag would be an orange or brightly colored cap that you’ll insert into the the barrel of the gun so everyone knows it isn’t a real firearm. If you choose not to go through weapons check, it is likely a staff member will stop you and review your prop for safety somewhere on the convention floor.
A few safety pointers are listed below:
- All props should be fake. No real weaponry should ever be brought into a convention.
- Bows or crossbows can be strung, but the string needs to be loose without the tension needed to fire an arrow. However, the arrows should be fake.
- Avoid anything that has a sharp or hard edge that could potentially injure someone if they accidentally bump into you. This includes metal spikes, sharp armor, etc.
- Avoid bringing a prop that fires a projectile (any type of gun – paintball, airsoft, Nerf, real, etc). If you bring a modified fake gun, make sure it has been altered enough that no projectile can be shot from it. This will help it pass the weapons check.
- Special Note: do not throw your prop or you’ll probably get in trouble (i.e. boomerangs, etc).
- No chemicals or explosives are ever allowed.
- No props that emit smoke, very loud noises, or have lights similar to strobe lights are allowed on most convention floors.
- Large, thick chains can not be metal. They will need to be plastic or foam.
- Do not bring replica grenades or anything that can’t be fully vetted by the weapons check staff. These will likely be confiscated.
- Oversized props might be confiscated at some conventions due to being a fire hazard.
So now that you know what not to do, what materials can you use to make an incredible prop? Anything lightweight is a good way to go – cardboard, foam, balsa wood, plastic, worbla, etc. When in doubt, make sure your props are “kid safe”; so lots of bendable stuff. That is usually a good rule of thumb for safety.
And always remember that a safe convention means you don’t have to worry about harmful accidents happening that will ruin your good time. A safe convention is a fun convention!