In an ideal situation, when you arrive at a convention in your cosplay, everything will go according to plan. You’ll get ready as expected, get into the convention looking pristine, and enjoy of day of fun. However, this is the real world, and as with everything, things don’t always go the way you expect them to. This is why troubleshooting skills are essential.
Sometimes the fixes are minor. A safety pin here, snip a loose string there. Sometimes they’re more drastic like a mask that won’t adhere to your face or a boot zipper that malfunctions. Sometimes the only way to save a costume is to be quick on your feet.
While it’s hard to advise for every situation, here are some examples of problems I’ve run into or had friends stumble upon. With luck, they’ll help inspire you in your trials and tribulations.
- A Ripped Contact
The morning I was getting ready to wear my Data (Star Trek: The Next Generation) cosplay, one of my yellow contacts ripped. The contacts are a part of what really makes the character. Thanks to some quick thinking on the part of my husband, I shifted gears and applied makeup that replicated his look in the film First Contact. It saved the cosplay. (See image above.)
- A Foot Injury
One of my fellow cosplayers, the lovely Kit Quinn, suffered a foot injury prior to a con during a day where she was going to wear boots with heels for a Dr. Mrs. The Monarch costume. She was on crutches which really didn’t lend themselves to the character. As a fix, she and her group decided to go as “battle damaged” versions of their characters, one of them even sporting a black eye. It was an impressive solution.
- Mask Not Adhering
For masks that don’t tie around the head, you have to adhere them to your face. Sometimes they just don’t want to stick. The quick fix? Have makeup ready to go to draw one onto your face instead. It can look better than you might expect.
- Zipper Malfunction
A friend of mine encountered a problem where one of her boot zippers completely jammed while getting ready. The solution was a simple one as she came prepared with backup boots. While they may not have been perfect, it was far better than scrapping the entire thing.
If you’re going to be traveling to a convention and staying in a hotel, friend’s house, et cetera, be sure to bring an assortment of quick fix items. Safety pins, glue, paint, bobby pins, whatever you used to build the costume and can be used to repair it. If your costume has a place to conceal a few items, it doesn’t hurt to bring a few simple odds and ends onto the convention floor. Even if you don’t end up needing them, they could be a lifesaver for someone else.
While a fix may not always be ideal, it can be far better than the alternative. So when the going gets rough, put on your best MacGuyver face and get to work.