Can cosplay be dangerous?
I don’t know about you, but I usually don’t associate cosplay with danger. Compared to other extreme hobbies such as BASE Jumping or rock climbing, cosplay is a very safe hobby. Maybe the worst thing that can happen is you cut your finger while sewing or crafting. If cosplay was a dangerous hobby, it wouldn’t be as appealing as it is today.
With that said however, there are some situations where you may feel uncomfortable or not so safe while cosplaying. While these occurrences aren’t too common, it can happen to anyone. But if it does, there is always a solution to these issues that may come up
In this article, I’ll answer the question, “Can cosplay be dangerous?” I’ll give you 10 different scenarios where cosplaying can lead you into uncomfortable situations, and how to solve them. That way, you’ll know how to deal with it and enjoy cosplaying to the fullest.
Alright, let’s get into it!
1. Harassment at conventions
If there’s one thing that first comes to mind when it comes to “danger” and “cosplay,” it’s harassment at cosplay conventions. If you’ve attended conventions for a while, then you may have had to deal with a rude attendee. But some cosplayers have to deal with harassment, especially if they’re dressing a certain way.
If you’re new to conventions, you may just brush it off or let it go. But don’t tolerate any harassment or abuse from anyone at a con.
The best thing to do is by having friends with you at the convention. People will be less likely to harass you if they have to do it in front of multiple people. But if things escalate and they’re not leaving you alone, then you need to report this to a convention staff or volunteer.
Feeling safe at a convention is a priority for convention organizers, and they will not tolerate anyone who is abusive to others. By reporting and letting staff know, they will help you and take care of the issue.
2. Fatigue at conventions
Let’s face it; we all think we’re invincible when we’re at a convention. We dress up in the heaviest cosplay, barely eat/drink/sleep during a convention (except if it’s alcohol), and we neglect to take care of our bodies. Some people may be able to get away with this, but you cannot push your body too much before it takes a real toll on you.
Heat exhaustion and fatigue are a real thing at conventions, especially if the weather is hot and you’re wearing a bulky cosplay.
I’ve had attendees at my own cosplay events that had heat stroke! Fortunately, they were okay and medical staff made sure they were fine. But after speaking of them, it was clear they didn’t stay hydrated enough during the hot weather. So it’s important to take care of yourself while in cosplay.
Some things to remember:
- Drink LOTS of water during the convention. While most conventions will have water dispenser around the building, I highly recommend carrying a water bottle with you to optimally stay hydrated.
- Get your meals in. No, not just ramen. Don’t skip on a real breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Get your sleep in. You need lots of rest not only for the convention, but to enjoy the con nice and awake. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely dread being a convention sleep-deprived. I tried it once; never again!
So remember to take care yourself in order to keep yourself healthy at a convention!
3. Wearing contact lenses
Before you start saying, “BUT SENPAI EVERYONE WEARS CONTACT LENSES!” Here me out.
The one mistake you could potentially make is not going to your optometrist/eye doctor and making sure you buy the right sizes and contact lenses for you. Everyone’s eyes are different, and you don’t want to buy just any lenses; wearing contact lenses that aren’t the right size can potentially damage your eyes!
I made this mistake the first time I wore contact lenses (a long time ago). I bought a random pair of red contact lenses from a costume store for my Sebastian cosplay. I needed help to put them on, so I went to my optometrist to ask how the heck you put contact lenses though. Before he did though, he gave me a warning that next time I needed to check the size. I nearly damaged my own eyes doing this! Fortunately, the contacts I bought happen to be the right size, so everything worked out.
I never really enjoyed wearing contact lenses, so I no longer wear them for cosplay. But if you want to wear contact lenses, you should definitely see your optometrist first before using them. They’ll give you all the information you need to safely wear them.
4. Bringing dangerous items to a convention
If you plan on bringing any props to the convention (why not, they look great with cosplay), then you absolutely need to go through Weapons Check before entering the convention. In the world we live in today, security is everything and the last thing you want to do is put unwanted attention on yourself. While carrying cosplay props isn’t dangerous to you, others may feel unsafe around you.
So whether you have a toy sword or a firearm replica, you need to check it in with convention staff to ensure it’s safe to carry around the convention.
5. Wearing a bulky or large cosplay
I feel like this isn’t talked about enough in the cosplay world. Wearing big armored costumes or a large dress is awesome! But while it’s not inherently dangerous to do so, it is trickier than your typical closet or casual cosplay. It’s not easy to wearing something like that all-day. And there are some things you do need to be concerned about, such as:
- Tripping and falling hazards. It’s much harder to walk around in a big dress or in full armor, especially if you have a mask or helmet on and your vision is impaired from it. Take it slow when walking around the convention, and get a friend or fellow cosplayer to escort you around the convention.
- Heat exhaustion. As mentioned previously, heat exhaustion is a real thing at conventions and wearing a bulky or large cosplay only makes the risk bigger. Stay hydrated and be sure to take lots of breaks to cool off!
- Colliding with things. Remember that you’re taking a LOT more space with a bulky cosplay, and it’s easier to potentially hit something or someone. Again, go nice and slow when walking around, and have someone be with you to ensure you’re moving around safely.
Another potential hazard of cosplaying: getting sunburn. Yes, this could definitely happen even in cosplay! While most conventions take place indoors, you’re more than likely to spending some time outdoors (e.g. doing a cosplay photoshoot). And this is especially true if you’re wearing a beach or summer cosplay and you’re at a mainly outdoor convention, such as Anime North, YetiCon or ColossalCon.
So if you plan on doing a cosplay where you’re showing a lot of skin, then you probably better put on some sunscreen if you’re going to be outside for a good portion of the convention.
7. Not dressing warm enough
On the contrary, there are a lot of us who live in cold climates and cosplaying in this weather can also be potentially dangerous if we’re not bundled up properly. This isn’t so much an issue at conventions, as you’ll probably be indoors most of the time. But if you’re planning to do a cosplay photoshoot outdoors during the winter, then you definitely need to be careful.
Most costumes don’t have enough insulation to protect you from the cold, so you definitely need to bring a jacket and take your photos quicker than usual. I recommend being near a building where you can easily go indoors to warm up. Do not take photos in the middle of nowhere where there’s no place with indoor heating!
Or better yet, just save the outdoor cosplay photoshoots for when the weather is warmer. 🙂
8. Con creepers
Unfortunately, con creepers are part of conventions. But you can easily deal with them.
I’m sure you’ve either heard of con creeper stories, or you yourself have experience a con creeper. There’s always someone at a con that does weird shit unfortunately. You can read up the stories to see what kind of craziness can happen at cosplay conventions. However, like with the harassment at cons, you don’t have to put up with it.
Again, if you have a con creeper bothering you, report to staff/convention if it does happen to you. They will take care of the situation.
9. Cosplaying in public
This one is a little bit controversial in my opinion, because I do know quite a few people who actually cosplay in public just fine! But I feel cosplaying in public can potentially be dangerous, as it puts attention on you in the public, wanted or unwanted.
I wrote an entire article about whether you should cosplay in public or not (click here to read). You may get some positive reactions, and you may get some negative reactions too. I’ve heard of stories where cosplayers dressed up in public and were harassed and even stalked by strangers. That is an extreme example, but with the public these days, you never know what kind of people you’re dealing with.
So in my humble opinion, I don’t recommend cosplaying in public unless you’re comfortable with the risks involved.
10. Spending all your money
Last but not least, we have a cosplay hazard that’s not so obvious…spending too much money! Yes, this is a real problem. As we all know, cosplay can be a very expensive hobby and you can hurt your finances by spending too much.
I’ve personally known cosplayers who were reckless with their cosplay spending, to the point where they went into debt and neglected their personal lives, just to afford cosplaying. Please don’t do this! Cosplay is a fun hobby, but it should never come at the expense of your own financial well-being. Take care of yourself first before spending a ton of money on cosplay. Do casual or closet cosplays to save money. Buy used cosplays. Don’t spend more than what you can afford.
To summarize, here are the 10 potential dangers of cosplay:
- Harassment at conventions
- Fatigue at conventions
- Wearing contact lenses
- Bringing dangerous items to a convention
- Wearing a bulky or large cosplay
- Not dressing warm enough
- Con creepers
- Cosplaying in public
- Spending all your money
And there you have it; 10 things that could potentially be dangerous for cosplay. But let’s be real; cosplay is a very safe hobby for the most part. You have nothing to worry about!
I hope you found this post useful and interesting. Which of these have you experience or most concerned about? Let me know in the comments below!
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!