Costume and Props Rules

2012 FanimeCon Costume Rules & Limitations

  • All con attendees must wear shoes at all times while in the public areas of the convention center and attached hotels. Even if a cosplay character goes barefoot, the cosplayer must wear shoes.
  • Costumes and daily wear shall not expose the body in such a way as to be deemed indecent exposure under California and City of San Jose ordinances. Private parts must be covered in an opaque material and not be subject to slippage or gaps. Liquid Latex or other conformal body coatings that conform to the body will be judged on a case by case basis.
  • All costumes worn within the convention center must fit through a standard doorway (36 inches).
  • No costume or prop may generate odor, smoke, or fog.
  • All costumes with limited visibility and/or movement must have a “handler” to assist with crowd navigation and safety. This also applies to costumes with large “wings” or other over-sized elements.
  • No costumes may be realistic depictions of American Law Enforcement or current American Military uniforms, or have the words POLICE, POLICIA, SWAT, FBI, DEA, CIA or any other official Government Agency names or initials on them.
  • Official flags shall be respected, and cannot be worn as clothing. They must be displayed on a flagpole. Home-made or unofficial flags are exempt from this rule.

FanimeCon Prop Rules & Limitations

  • If you want to carry a prop at FanimeCon, it must be peace-bonded by a Rover at a peace-bonding station. With the exception of explicitly banned props, all peace-bonding will be judged on a case-by-case basis.
    • Only props which are part of a cosplay and suit the costume will be peace-bonded.
    • In order to carry a peace-bonded prop, you must be in the matching costume.
    • Certain Props are banned no matter what:
      • Anything which is illegal in the City of San Jose, Santa Clara County, California or the United States in general.
      • Real weapons, projectile weapons (such as airsoft or bb/pellet guns, bows, crossbow’s, and firearms), live steel (1), metal/wooden baseball bats, metal kunai, incendiary devices, lasers, laser pointers, paddles, whips, floggers, brass knuckles, butterfly knives, concealed blades, throwing stars, tonfa, saps, clubs, nunchaku, sai, tessen, jitte, and metal or glass props.
      • Prop Guns which are suitably realistic enough that they could be mistaken for a real gun, or which utilize significant parts of a real gun.
    • FanimeCon may add items to this list at any time. Changes will be posted at Rovers and on the website.
  • Some props are allowed conditionally:
    • Gun-like props must have a non-removable orange tip at the end of the barrel which is visible from the side and which extends at least one inch up the barrel, or they must be painted all over in a bright safety color. They cannot have any functional parts, and must not be useable to project any item.
    • Sword-like props may not be made of live steel (2) or have a hardened edge if of other materials (wood, plastic or laminates).
    • Signs which are an integral part of a cosplay, and which an actual series character carries may be peace-bonded. Sign standards or poles must be of plastic or light wood.
  • All props must be small enough to fit through a standard doorway without effort.
  • While carrying props, you will be held to very strict behavior standards:
    • Props may not be brandished, flailed around, or used (for play-fighting, or otherwise).
    • Props must remain with the costume which they were peace-bonded for.
    • Especially in crowded areas, attendees are expected to carry their props carefully and in a neutral position. Long or tall props must be carried vertically, and sword-like and gun-like props should be holstered or otherwise secured.
    • Using props in an unsafe or threatening manner may result in more severe consequences.
    • Gun-like props may not be pointed at anyone at any time.
    • Any behavior which a FanimeCon staff member considers to be unsafe or unacceptable will result in appropriate action by a member of FanimeCon Staff.

Potential Consequences for Violations:

  • First Offense:
    • Props: Removal of peace-bond and/or prop taken off premises.
    • Costume: Required costume modification/removal or acquisition of a handler.
  • Second Offense:
    • One day badge suspension and/or full-weekend suspension of prop privileges.
  • Third Offense:
    • Badge pulled and all convention membership privileges revoked.
  • FanimeCon reserves the right to modify consequences as necessary at their discretion.

Weapons & Props bought during FanimeCon from the Dealer’s Hall, Artist’s Alley, or Swap-Meet must be put into a box or bag which renders them inaccessible, and unusable. They must then be removed from convention premises as soon as possible. We will not peace-bond anything bought during the convention except props which meet all peace-bonding requirements.

Props for Masquerade have a completely different set of rules. If you wish to carry a prop for Masquerade around the convention center, it must meet all peace-bonding criteria (and have been peace-bonded.) If it is only for Masquerade, it must stay in a car or hotel room except when you are taking it to, are at, or are taking it back to your car or room from Masquerade. Transporting realistic weapons for the Masquerade in an enclosed locking case or container is strongly recommended.

FanimeCon 2011 Cosplay & Peace Bonding FAQ

What is Peace Bonding?
FanimeCon Rovers peace-bond props with “Peace Bonds” (aka zip-ties) to mark that the cosplayer carrying the prop has agreed to abide by the rules. For safety reasons, we require all props to be peace-bonded as soon as possible after they enter the convention center.

What can’t be carried?
We do not allow real guns, or toy guns which can shoot things. We do not allow props with actual blades, or which could be sharpened to have a blade. We do not allow things which are illegal according to State or Federal Law (sai, nunchuku, and tonfa are in this category). What we do allow are props which are clearly props, things which are not weapons, and which cannot shoot anything. We allow items which are part of a costume, and which actually suit the costume. They must be peace-bonded, and they may never be used, or brandished—this means no play-fighting, no pointing at people, and no actual fighting.

I just bought this awesome ______ in the Dealer’s Hall/Artist’s Alley/Swap Meet. Can I get it peace-bonded?
Only if you are in a costume which the prop is appropriate for, and it meets all other peace-bonding requirements, will we peace-bond the prop for you. Most of the time, the answer to this question is “No.” Sometimes we have to say no because the prop is not allowed, sometimes it’s because it doesn’t suit the costume you’re wearing, and sometimes we say no because you’re not in a costume at all.

You said I couldn’t carry this, what now?
Weapons and props which have not been approved for peace-bonding should be promptly removed from convention center property and public hotel space. They need to be taken back to a hotel room or car, and should remain there for as long as you are in the convention center. We cannot hold your props for you, even if you lack a car or hotel room. If you get a cardboard box and put the prop inside that, you may carry the cardboard box, provided the prop is inaccessible while it is in the box.

I don’t have a car/hotel room, what do I do?
If you don’t have a car or hotel room, there are a couple options. First, you can ask a friend to use their car or hotel room. If you don’t have a friend with a place to stash your stuff, you can sometimes ask the hotel desks to hold stuff temporarily. The last option is to get a box which can hold your prop, and then put your prop in the box. As long as your prop stays in the box, you are ok.

This was OK last year, what about now?
We review our rules yearly, so items and costumes okay for 2011 may be disallowed in 2012. Please come by and get your prop checked and peace bonded for the current year.

You just said no, but I saw someone else carrying the same thing…
Locate the nearest Rover and politely point the person out to the Rover. Give the Rover a brief explanation of what you believe is the peace bonding violation. We’ll take it from there. We try to be even, but there are never enough Rovers for the number of people at Fanime. You can deal with it yourself (by politely asking someone to go get their prop checked), or you can have a Rover take care of it for you by notifying one and pointing the other person out.

My prop got damaged from peace-bonding and/or this Rover was a jerk.
If your prop is damaged during the convention by a staff member, get the person’s badge number or name so we (the Rovers) can take care of it. If a Rover is acting in an unprofessional way, get their name/badge number and take it to the Rovers Shift Lead at Rover Base. If the unprofessional Rover will not give you their name/badge number, then ask another Rover for assistance.

What about the signs carried by Durara cosplayers?
Those are OK since they are a part of a cosplay. As long as they are just the street signs and they’re not soliciting anything we won’t stop them.

Are there rules about the flags carried for Hetalia or other anime?
Yes, actually, thanks for asking! You must be respectful of flags at all times, this means keeping them on flag-poles and carrying them carefully, keeping them off the ground, and not wearing them as capes or other articles of clothing. While carrying flags indoors, keep them held firmly against their flagpole so they are not drifting behind you and causing safety issues. Please do not modify or attach things to official flags.

What if I’m in the Military and want to wear my Uniform?
You may wear your Class A or B uniform while in the convention hall area as long as you:

  1. Are a currently serving member of the United States Armed Forces.
  2. Have your Military ID on you and can present it to the Convention Authorities when asked.
  3. Present yourself to the props tagging room to have your badge marked as official military.
  4. Continue to wear your uniform properly. There are NCO’s who work this convention and they will insist you wear it correctly or not at all.

What about NERF guns?
This is a common one for us. There are two rules to carry NERF:

  1. It must not be functional. If you could put ammo in and shoot it, we cannot let you carry it.
  2. It may be painted so long as the tip remains fluorescent.

I personally think it’s better to leave a whole side unpainted, but the only requirement is the tip.

Can I carry this shovel/wrench/hammer?
The answer is probably no. Tools are heavy, and can often be dangerous.

Can I have metal armor?
Sure, as long as your metal armor doesn’t have sharp edges or large metal spikes and you follow visibility rules. A full helm for example requires a handler as you have restricted visibility and hearing.

I have a cane, and I actually use it to walk. Does it need to be peace-bonded?
No. If it is medically necessary, we do not have to peace bond it.

Can I carry this tonfa/baton/sap/club?
No. California State law lists tonfa as well as several weighted (and non-weighted) baton type instruments as illegal to carry. In many cases, this includes wooden baseball bats. In most cases, if it is a functional club we will have to say no.

Can I carry my bow & arrows?
If the bow has absolutely no tension to be able to fire something, and the arrows have no tips, then yes, we can let you carry it. Real bows have an ability to fire something, and are considered functional projectile weapons. To carry a “real” bow you’d have to string it with something which could not be tensioned to fire anything.

1 – FanimeCon Rovers define “Live Steel” as metal which has, or can take an edge.
2 – See footnote 1, above. While this primarily applies to swords, it can also apply to other props.

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