Fan conventions and expos are some of the biggest places where fans of comics, television shows and video games gather together for one common cause: fun and enjoyment of the thing we love.
It's the place of the annual meeting of the online friends and where you're also likely to meet new ones. Although these conventions can be fun, they can also be expensive.
Fan Conventions/Expos I've been to in the pastAisha Turnquist
When you total up the amount of money needed for basic traveling needs (transportation, hotels, food, etc.) plus the money for the convention tickets and photo ops, things can get a little pricey and make it impossible to go.
There's also, of course, those who can't attend for other reasons that include work, responsibilities, and disabilities.
For those of us who are unable to go to cons and watch all our friends have fun, it's a sad feeling. Whether you're missing out on San Diego Comic Con or LeakyCon, there are many ways to take apart of the festivities at home.
1. Enjoy the convention through social media.
One of the easiest ways to enjoy the fan convention you're missing is through social media and entertainment networks. Yes, this is the most obvious suggestion for those watching at home, but it can't be left out. It's one of the best resources for pictures, panels, and all activities and events. Try to find accounts days before the con starts that will be featuring content. These accounts may include live streams, live tweeting of panels, and so much more. Don't also forget to check the tags for the conventions and submit questions via official accounts. You may even get lucky and have someone willing to ask a question for you.
Social media also allows you to engage and make connections with others who are also unable to attend the con. You never know you make get to experience one of the best parts of cons: making new friends. This is especially useful if you're new to a fandom.
Even though social media may be great with keeping up with con events, it may also be best to tread lightly. It can also be the thing that reminds you of what you're missing and feel worse than you already do.
The time spent on social media can get a bit boring, so here are some better ways to engage and bring those convention feels to your home.
2. Cosplays. Cosplays. Cosplays.
The best things about cons are sometimes not the panels and guests, but the cosplays. The many different displays of characters' look and costumes made over pain-staking hours are incredible. Take the time to once again use your social media to see the beautiful creations that fans have made. Also, don't forget to comment…cosplayers love feedback.
The most important thing here towards you enjoying yourself is creating your own cosplay. You may not be there, but you can still enjoy cosplaying your favorite character. Be sure to also post pictures of your cosplay on your accounts.
It'll give you a sense of being there as it's the one thing you can share with others who are attending.
It would also be cool to create your own cosplay competition. Start a digital one with you and your friends posting pictures ---and have a voting consensus on the winner.
A better option if you have friends in the area is to have a cosplay contest among yourself and turn it into a cool event of food and games. It's bound to be a ton of fun (just don't get food on your masterpiece)!
3. Spend time enjoying the meaning/purpose of the convention.
If you're looking to do something small, take the time to enjoy the thing that the convention is based upon. Are you missing an anime convention? Spend time reading or watching anime/manga.
Bring the video game convention to your home by setting video game competitions with your fellow players/friends in real life or online.
For those missing comic-cons, engage in reading the comics while you also sit around in your cosplay. There's totally nothing wrong with that. Enjoy the movies and TV shows, like Young Justice and The Flash while you eat snacks and catch-up on the latest events going on during the con.
If you're missing out on conventions like D23 and LeakyCon, take advantage of videos from conventions in years prior.
Watch the old opening ceremony from 2013 and all the events that were recorded. Sing and dance along to your favorite songs from Disney, Broadway, and those associated with your fandom. I know for a fact there are tons of videos of sing-along events from Disney and geeky-related conventions… just check YouTube.
I've found that a great way to pass the time is simply by recalling your favorite moments in the show, comics, or anything in general. Write them down and create a discussion in real life or online.
It's also the perfect time to test your trivia or play a game based on that interest. The most enjoyable thing is being able to beat your friends at a good game of trivia. Consider it their small price to pay for being at the con without you.
Whatever the con is based around, get into it and engage.
4. Facetime is your new friend.
This is a small, but vital tip to use. The friends you sadly watched go to the con without you should be more than willing to share. I'm not just talking about pictures, tweets, and text messages. Let's hit the big leagues and go for Facetime. Arrange for you and your friends to Facetime or live stream to you during certain panels and events. You make even get the chance to see or say hello to a guest you were dying to meet.
Just remember not to take up all of their time, they have to enjoy the event as well.
5. Create your own convention at home.
The last idea is the best one if you're willing to go the extra mile. TRY HAVING YOUR OWN CONVENTION! That's right, plan a convention all of your own. Invite friends or go solo (*insert Star Wars joke*)!
It's here where you can combine all the ideas from above: cosplays, cosplay competitions, playing games, discussing comics, watching the live streams together with your friends.
Create your own passes for "entrance' into your convention. Plan specialty foods, like making your own butterbeer or Spider-man cookies.
If you're able to invite friends over (or via Skype, Facetime, etc.), form a panel. Find an issue or discussion about your fandom in which everyone can take part in. Don't forget to name yourself a moderator.
Be the host of your con for one day, while giving the duties of hosting to your friends for the other days.
Whose to say your convention isn't real? No one.
None of these things can take the place of attending a fan convention, but it can somehow feel the void of not being there. It's a wonderful way to have fun and interact with your fandom not only doing convention time, but during all times of the year. If you decide to do all of these or just one, all activities are bound to make you feel a part of the action even if you're not there.