There was a lot of buzz this week about Fan Expo. There were some rumours flying around that Fan Expo was going to limit the use of all costume “props and weapons”. You could bring them to the show, but they had to be attached to your body at all times, and you couldn’t hold them in your hands either.
Naturally the Cosplay Community was outraged at this “rumour” (which I really want to outline that this is just rumour) – many Cosplayers build their costume around their prop weapon. Some characters personality is solely derived from their prop. If a Cosplayer wouldn’t be allowed to bring their prop, this may affect their attendance at this year’s Fan Expo.
Now from what I heard… the rumour stated that you can bring your prop weapon (ie: gun, sword, shield, hammer, etc) but it had to be attached to your body at all times. You couldn’t have it in your hand, and the weapon must be checked and approved by security at the “Prop Check Desk”.
After reading the “Props & Weapons Policy” on the Fan Expo website, the only prop that has to be attached to your body at all times are swords. There are rules and regulations about the size and weight of other props (no regulated size stated, just that the items will be inspected and judged accordingly on a case by case basis). There is also the standard guidelines when it comes to “costume firearms”, but other than the regulation for swords it looks like it is just normal common sense when it comes to cosplay accessories.
Fan Expo has this policy in place for the health and safety of their employees, volunteer and patrons (namely us convention goers). Without a guideline in place, there is no way they would be able to enforce the rule. At times it does feel like these rules are completely unreasonable, because if you think of it, have you ever heard of a security issue involving a cosplayer’s accessory at Fan Expo?
Sure some cosplayer’s props are big. Too large if you think about it, and there should be some regulation in place to prevent oversized accessories from clogging up the pedestrian pathways on the convention floor. But other than that, I can’t think of any issue where a cosplayer used their prop weapon to assault another volunteer, vendor, patron or cosplayer (when it wasn’t intentional for photo/demonstration purposes).
If you are a cosplayer and are planning on attending Fan Expo this year, please check out their website. The policy is fully laid out there regarding the Props Policy (link above). Make sure you read it, and understand what is acceptable and what isn’t. You don’t want to get to Fan Expo and find out that the prop for your costume isn’t accepted and you’ll have to leave it at the check desk.
Also worth a further read is Fan Expo’s Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy. That is another important issue and I will dig into that one deeper on a future column.