Con Costume Ideas

By Tucker Cummings ; Updated September 15, 2017

Conventions, or "Cons" are becoming more popular each year. Events like Dragon*Con,San Diego Comic Con and Anime Expo have thousands of attendees each year. Whether you are a fan of comics, anime or science fiction, it is increasingly likely that there will be some kind of convention near you. One of the most interesting parts of going to a con is seeing all of the costumes people wear. If you think you might enjoy dressing up for a con, here are some brainstorming tactics.

Comic Conventions

Comic cons have a wide range of acceptable costumes. In addition to comic book characters, costumes based on sci-fi franchises like Star Wars, anime or manga-based costumes are common. Some comic con attendees also treat the con as sort of an adult Halloween, and that "anything goes" attitude often means that some attendees dress up as no one in particular.

Choose a costume that will be comfortable. The costume should ideally be of a character that your admire. It is not uncommon to see people at comic conventions take on the persona of the character they are dressed as, and often they may have entire conversations in character.

Since anything goes (with the exception of nudity), your options are virtually unlimited. A character from your favorite movie, comic book, or manga series will be appropriate. But if you just want to dress up, any costume will do.

Anime Conventions

Holding on to the Japanese idea of cosplay (a Japanese term that is a contraction of "costume play"), many conventioneers at anime cons take their costumes very seriously. Detailed, highly realistic costumes are more common at anime conventions than at many other events. There is usually a costume parade or a masque, where entrants are judged on their costumes and how they portray the character's attitude.

Perennially popular costumes are based on characters from Neon Genesis Evangelion, Sailor Moon, Dragonball and Naruto. If you are looking to stand out in a crowd, dress as a character from a less popular or older anime. Some anime titles that are used less often for costume inspiration include Rose of Versailles, Glass Mask, Galaxy Express 999 or Lupin III. If you just want something basic, a Japanese-style school uniform is a great first costume.

Sci Fi Conventions

At a sci-fi convention, a much higher number of costumes come from literary sources, for which there are often few if any visual references. You are just as likely to see a Star Trek uniform as you are a character from a Philip K. Dick or Ursula K. LeGuin novel.

The most common costumes are always based on Star Trek or Star Wars characters. Characters from video games like Fallout or Halo may also be popular in some years. Any character from a work of science fiction is fair game, so consider favorite books or movies. For a look that will help you stand out in a crowd, choose a costume from a movie like Metropolis or Blade Runner. A hyper-detailed suit from Halo or Gundam will also get you noticed.

About the Author

Tucker Cummings is a freelance writer based in New England. She holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of New Hampshire and is a member of the Association of Professional Business Writers. Cummings is also a food writer and curates the blog, Brave New Breakfast.