Just like that weird gap in the summer when there are no major holidays, there’s a gap of time at the end of the year when there are no major fan conventions going on.
Spring through early fall are the busiest times for major conventions. Dallas Comic Con, A-Kon and AnimeFest are probably the top three in attendance in Dallas. But other than the peak convention season, there aren’t any large conventions happening.
So what is a fan to do?
To start, there’s a lot of preparation that can be done for the next round of conventions.
My favorite thing to do is to start stocking up on potential cosplay material. Post-Halloween, there are a lot of deals on costume materials. Especially after Christmas, seasonal fabrics and accessories will be on sale at deep discounts. JoAnns and Hancock Fabrics are my favorite places to go. In addition to after holiday sales, I can usually find coupons roaming around for both stores. This really helps on the pricier fabrics, especially if your costume requires some sort of faux fur accent.
While it may sound cliché, I think that Party City’s online store is a perfect place to shop. A lot of their accessories can be used as bases and built upon with the fabrics and materials you gather from other places. In addition, their costumes can be snagged for steals after the holidays. I’ve bought quite a few of mine during this time. While they are not used as my main convention wear, a lot of them are great to wear during the evening of conventions or worn to smaller events.
If your budget is really tight, *raises hand*, then maybe a costume swap party is the way to go. Sqiudoo has some awesome tips for a Halloween Costume Swap Party which I think are perfectly applicable for a Cosplay one! A couple recommendations I would make would be to have people bring fabrics, materials and sewing kits. In my experience, a lot of my costumes need minor repairs. Although small, a lot of the time I just can’t seem to fix it myself. Bringing materials to the swap will allow others to either help you make repairs for your own items or to make sure the ones you swap are being passed along in good condition.
If you’re really aching to put on a costume, throw a mini-con at your house. I think this would make a really fun tradition. Every major convention I’ve been to has some sort of an artist alley and a dealers room. Turn your living room into one big shop! A couple weeks before your mini-con dig through your old childhood shoe boxes that have been collecting dust in the closet and see if you have any old action figures or trading cards that are cool again. Even better, if you have friends who are artists have them whip up a few sketches and have them prepare to do some commissions at your con. Not only is this a chance for them to make a few extra bucks, it will be an awesome way to get a feel of the convention experience if they’ve never worked one before.
If you are willing to venture outside of Dallas, there are always a few conventions here and there around the popular season. Ikkicon is one of my favorites. Held in Austin, the convention combines the convention scene with Austin culture during the New Year’s weekend. While the attendance numbers aren’t huge for this convention, having the surrounding city ensures that there will always be something to do.
What’s the next convention you are going to attend?