A Sampling of Cosplays at ECCC 2018

Here’s a sampling of the #costumes & #cosplays that could be seen at last weekend’s #ECCC in Seattle:



Tis’ the Season of Con-Crud

As this is essentially the start of the comic, anime & furry convention season around the country, it’s also the beginning of the spread of #ConCrud, a.k.a., #ConPlague, the #Blorch, etc.

What Is Con-Crud?

Con-crud (or any of the related terms) is a colloquialism used to describe any of a number of infectious diseases (typically respiratory or gastrointestinal) that an unlucky attendee has contracted while attending a convention.

Infectious diseases are disorders caused by pathogens (or foreign organisms, i.e., bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites) that have invaded a person’s body. When an infection occurs, a pathogen has successfully entered a person’s body where it begins to grow and multiply. This is referred to as colonization and the person has then become the unwitting host for the pathogen.

The appearance and severity of an infectious disease depends on the ability of the pathogen to damage the host, as well as the host’s ability to resist the pathogen. The host’s resistance depends upon his/her immune system, which (while attempting to control an infection) can also damage the host’s body. It is at this point during the disease process that the host will begin to experience one or more signs & symptoms.

Signs & Symptoms

After being infected with a disease-causing pathogen, a person may not begin to experience signs or symptoms associated with the disease for as many as 1 to 4 days. Thus, many attendees that were infected at a convention don’t begin to experience signs or symptoms until after they have returned to their homes.

The types of signs & symptoms that someone may experience varies depending upon the type and virulence of the infectious disease(s) that the he/she has contracted. And, yes: there is the possibility that more than one infectious disease has been contracted.

Signs & symptoms that are common to a number of infectious diseases include the following:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatique
  • Muscle aches
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion


Infectious diseases that are easily transmitted via contact with an ill person or their secretions are often referred to as contagious diseases. As a subset of infectious diseases, a contagious disease is either especially infective or easily transmitted. While infectious diseases can be spread via a wide variety of ways, the methods of transmission most associated with contagious respiratory or gastrointestinal diseases usually involve one of the following methods:

  • Person-to-person contact.
  • Droplet spread.
  • Airborne transmission.
  • Contaminated objects.
  • Contaminated food or beverages.

Risk Factors

While anyone can catch an infectious disease, some people may have risk factors that can increase the possibility of becoming sick when exposed to a pathogen. This is especially true if a person’s immune system isn’t working properly. Several risk factors are listed below.

  • Taking steroids or other medications that suppress the immune system, such as anti-rejection drugs for a transplanted organ.
  • Anyone who has HIV or AIDS.
  • Certain types of cancer or other disorders that adversely affect the immune system.
  • Having an implanted medical device.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Extremes of age.
  • Smoking.

Why Can Disease Spread So Easily at Conventions?

Comic, anime & furry conventions can attract thousands (or even tens of thousands) of attendees. With limited space and crowded walkways for attendees to move & congregate in, attendees can often find themselves surrounded by large numbers of people. Cosplayers in particular also attract people wanting photos. This often includes posing with the cosplayers and possibly being in physical contact with the cosplayers while photos are taken.

Thus, person-to-person contact between a large number of people occurs at a much higher rate at a convention than it typically would at home, work or school. This gives pathogens that prefer to be spread by direct contact a much higher rate of success.

Given the large number of attendees crammed into small spaces, if any attendee sneezes or coughs (and they don’t cover their mouth & nose when it happens), any airborne pathogens that were released may be unknowingly breathed in by others or land on their skin where they may also be able to infect or wait to do so.

Then there’s all of the vendors at conventions with tables of items for sale. Multiple people may pick up a variety of items for sale without buying them, then put them back for others to pick up and handle. Any pathogens that may have been left behind on the items by someone who’s sick or is simply a carrier can quickly be spread to others who pick up those same items.

After being in close, person-to-person contact with other attendees, having taken photos with others or having handled various objects at the convention, should the hands of that attendee have pathogens on the skin surface and he/she then rubs their face, nose or ears: voila! Those waiting pathogens have just been provided direct access to entering into that person’s body and they become infected themselves.

And here’s something else to bear in mind: not everyone who uses public restrooms takes the time to wash their hands afterwards. There’s also the possibility that due to the large crowds at conventions, it’s entirely possible that the available public restrooms may run out of soap. Hence, there very likely will be people walking around the convention with unwashed hands handling objects and coming into direct contact with others. This increases the likelihood for fecal matter to be present in the convention hall & to potentially end up on items being handled by multiple people.

Attendees also have to eat, but did they wash their hands before doing so? Attendees can also be seen carrying open containers of food & beverages as they walk through a crowded convention. If someone nearby happens to cough or sneeze, there’s the possibility of droplets ejected by that person landing on or in that open food or beverage container.

And, let’s be perfectly honest here. Not everyone who suspects or knows that they’re sick or starting to become sick will do the right thing by not going to the convention. People can get very excited about attending a convention, especially if they put a lot of effort & money into buying passes, preparing cosplays or are expectantly looking forward to meeting a beloved celebrity. If they’re sick, starting to get sick or even getting over a very recent sickness, then they’re very likely contagious. And, by going to a crowded convention anyway, they are knowingly exposing a lot of other people to their germs.


What can you do to protect yourself from becoming infected at a crowded convention?

  1. Assume that there are going to be sick & contagious attendees at the convention.
  2. Frequently wash or sanitize your hands. This is probably the most effective means of prevention.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose & mouth. Each of these is an open door for pathogens.
  4. If you haven’t done so, get a flu shot at least 2 weeks prior to the first convention that you attend.
  5. Get plenty of rest. This will help your immune system. Sleep-deprivation does the opposite.
  6. Don’t drink excessive (or any) amounts of alcohol. Alcohol can affect the quality of your rest.
  7. Eat nutritionally, especially protein. Lack of protein can deplete the immune system.
  8. Take Vitamin C, but not more than 400 mg a day; anything above that will just be excreted in urine. While it may not prevent a cold, it may reduce the duration by one day.

If you do get sick, DON’T GO into the convention.

What Contagious Diseases Might Be Present at a Convention?

Finally, let’s jot down what the actual contagious diseases might include (but are not limited to) at any given crowded convention:

  • Common Cold.
  • Influenza (the flu, especially during flu season)
  • Strep Throat (possibly more than 1 type)
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Giardia


A Sampling of Cosplays from Katsucon 2018

Here’s a sampling of #cosplayers & #cosplays that attended #Katsucon 2018! (Feb. 16-18)


What Motivates People to Want to Become a Costume Club Leader?

The world’s largest #CostumeClub is currently holding its annual elections for leadership positions, both club-wide and for local chapters. While the requirements for who can run for the various leadership positions are clearly spelled out in the club’s written charter, the requirements don’t represent the reasons why members of a costume club may choose to run for a leadership position.

From what we have observed in several different costume clubs, the reasons why people choose to run often fall into one of the following categories:
  • Some candidates choose to run because they feel that they have been slighted by their opponent or by other members of the club’s leadership. In this scenario, the individual often has a personal vendetta and may be seeking to gain a leadership position in order to exact some kind of revenge. Is this the kind of person who should be elected? We’ve seen this happen and it often leads to more problems down the road for everyone.
  • Some candidates choose to run to stroke their own egos. These individuals want to be in the spotlight and have others tell them how great they are. They’re running because they want to be something, not because they want to get something positive accomplished. They want a title and they want people to be impressed by that title. The worst examples of this are individuals whose egos are so large that they truly believe that they know better than everyone else and want to impose their will on others. Is electing such a narcissistic person a good idea? We’ve seen it done and the results weren’t good.
  • Some candidates choose to run because other costume club members have talked them into running. But, here’s the catch: often, the members who convince someone to run may be seeking to pull strings from behind the scenes. Those that talk others into running for a leadership position may not want to be in the spotlight themselves, or they may know that they couldn’t win if they ran on their own. By finding someone else to run not only gives them an opportunity to influence or control decisions from behind the scenes, it protects them from taking the blame if other club members later decide that they don’t like who they elected. In fact, it’s entirely possible (and we have observed this actually happen) that those who got the person to run will deliberately start to complain if that person doesn’t do what they want him/her to do in order to sabotage their ability to run again. In other words, the winning candidate becomes their patsy. Alway be wary of who is trying to get someone else to run for a leadership position.
  • Some candidates choose to run because they genuinely want to make a positive difference. When someone like this is found, it can lead to some truly positive changes for everyone; but as John Lydgate’s saying goes: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”[1] Over time, anyone in the club that is seeking to cause drama may eventually damage this winning candidate’s reputation and the longer that someone holds a leadership position, the greater the likelihood that this situation can occur. Our advice to anyone wanting to run for office in a costume club is not to hold the office for too long a time: know when it’s time to let someone else lead.
Care must taken in deciding who should be in costume club leadership positions. Electing or appointing the wrong person could have detrimental effects on members’ interest to participate in club events. We’ve seen it happen. People join costume clubs to have fun, not to satisfy someone’s need for revenge, to boost someone’s ego or to be manipulated by secretive backseat drivers that want to remain anonymous.



Cosplayer Explains First-Hand Account of Recent “Cosplay Is Not Consent” Incident

#CosplayIsNotConsent: #cosplayer #AlchemicFox (check out her #YouTube channel) has published a first-hand account of how she was #groped & #punched while attending an anime con in a #Naruto #costume by a female cosplayer:


If you are ever inappropriately touched or attacked at a convention, report the incident immediately to the nearest convention staff, security guard or police officer.

Cosplay is never consent.


For further reading, we have posted on this topic before:



DIY: Making a Bionic Arm from EVA Foam

While we have previously shared David Guyton’s video tutorial on how to make a bionic arm from metal, he has just released a brand new tutorial on making one out of EVA foam!

While EVA foam is far less durable a material than metal, it has several distinct advantages over metal:

  • Some conventions have banned the wearing of metal armor. If you’re planning to attend such a convention in an armored costume, it will have to be made out of some other material, such as plastic or EVA foam.
  • EVA foam is much lighter than metal making it easier to wear.
  • While metal is a rather rigid material, EVA foam is far more flexible, which also makes EVA foam easier to wear.
  • Since EVA foam is a soft material as compared with metal, it’s much easier to work with than metal.
  • The tools & materials are less costly & easier to obtain for working with EVA foam as opposed to metal.
  • The skills required to work with EVA foam are easier to learn than the skills needed for working with metal.
  • Unlike metal edges that need to be sanded so that they won’t accidentally cut into skin, you needn’t worry about EVA foam edges being a potential safety hazard.
  • Unlike metal that can rust, EVA foam can’t rust.
  • You’re far less likely to disturb neighbors working with EVA foam because you don’t have to hammer it as you would need to do with metal.

The biggest disadvantages with EVA foam as compared with metal are as follows:

  • EVA foam is not as durable as metal (as previously mentioned), meaning it has a much higher chance of being damaged while being worn or stored.
  • Greater care must be used for storing EVA foam armor than with metal to ensure that it keeps its intended shape.
  • EVA foam armor is going to be much thicker than a metal equivalent, so additional allowances have to be made.
  • Replicating a metallic shine with painted EVA foam will probably never be as shiny as actual metal.

If you haven’t worked with EVA foam before, we recommend reading Working with EVA Foam for Beginners.



DIY Cosplay Boots & Footwear

Many #costumes & #cosplays (especially superhero & super-villain characters) require #boots. If you are wearing shoes or something else that doesn’t look like the the correct boots, it could severely detract from the appearance of your #cosplay or #costume, or make it appear incomplete. Obviously, you don’t want that to happen, but there are several common issues associated with boots:

  • Boots are typically expensive, i.e., they typically cost more than a pair of shoes. Boots can cost several hundred dollars for a single pair.
  • Boot manufacturers typically don’t make boots that resemble those that specific science fiction, fantasy, superhero or super-villain characters wear. This is especially true if the boots are brightly colored or have patterns or designs on them.
  • Boots (and shoes) aren’t easy to make from scratch. Specialized tools, equipment and skills are generally required.

The least expensive and least complicated method that #costumers & #cosplayers have found for having the right boots for a specific character is to transform an existing pair of footwear into the right kind of boots. This is typically done by covering the existing pair of footwear and extending the covers up the legs to the height needed for the boots. The result will look like you’re wearing a pair of boots!

The advantage with making your own boot covers is that you can essentially transform any footwear into what you need for a given costume. If you don’t have shoes (or boots) that are similar enough to the foot portion of the boots that you need, you can probably find used shoes (or boots) that you can cover that won’t cost anywhere near as much as a new pair would.

First, here’s a video tutorial by Destiny Italia showing one technique of wrapping your leg and footwear with fabric as you transform the fabric into boot covers:

Cosplayer OneEmily’s Cosplay also has an interesting tutorial that shows how to make removable boot covers so that you can continue to wear the shoes separately and not as part of a costume of cosplay:

If you need to make a pair of superhero/super-villain boots, cosplayer Scott Bayles has one of the best tutorials on how to transform a pair of shoes into superhero/super-villain boots:

We wish you the best of luck with your cosplay boots!