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Going to Comic Con is a dream come true for many people. With hundreds of exciting panels, famous actors, photo ops and cosplay, there’s plenty to see and do. Families from near and far will come to enjoy some of their favorite movies, comic books and stars. But with so much happening, is it possible to enjoy your time with your kids at Comic Con?
First off, let me fill you in on what Comic Con is. Comic Con as an educational corporation that creates an awareness and appreciation of comics and related art forms through events and conventions. They celebrate the historic contributions that comics have made to art and culture.
With everything from Marvel comics to Harry Potter, Comic Con offers something for everyone. But when you have kids at Comic Con, it can become a challenge. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up a few great ideas to help make the day more enjoyable for all!
10 Tips for Enjoying Your Kids at Comic Con
I’m going to bet that your kids like to buy stuff. Impulse buys with kids are hard to avoid but I’ve found one way to help keep your budget in check when you have kids at Comic Con. Simply give them their own money to spend and let them decide how and when to blow their cash. When the child is making the decision, it’s harder for them to complain about not getting everything. All you have to do is say “Well, you had money and you chose to spend it on your new Spidey costume.”
When we decided to head to Comic Con, I told my kids that they would be responsible for any purchases. Immediately, they started looking for quick ways to make money. They did extra chores, helped our neighbor with their animals and sold stuff they no longer needed. I helped them list items on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. It was also motivation to tighten in the reigns on our spending habits. When I wanted to go out for lunch, my kids informed me that I could save my money and eat a tuna fish sandwich.
Make Browsing a Priority:
If money tends to burn a hole in your child’s pocket, you’ll want to make sure they don’t blow through their budget in the first five minutes. One way to make sure they purchase something they REALLY want is to enforce the “Eyes on Everything” rule. This rule is simple: You cannot purchase a single thing until you’ve made your way through every booth. This helps keep the kids from feeling disappointed in their purchases and wishing they had saved their money.
It’s easy to forget what all has piqued your interest throughout the weekend, so I suggest taking a convention map and marking the booths and areas that your kid would like to spend his money. Once they have all of their favorite items picked out, it’ll be easier for them to narrow down their choice and purchase something they will enjoy the most.
While cosplay sounds like so much fun, it may not be feasible when you have kids at Comic Con. You can still dress like some of your favorite characters, but just choose characters who don’t require elaborate outfits. Instead of wearing the entire Batman costume, opt for just a T-Shirt and cape.My daughters chose to go as Eleven from Stranger Things and Cas from Supernatural. All we needed was a pink dress with socks and a flannel shirt with jeans. The other days, they chose their favorite T-shirts and paired them with comfy pants and leggings and a pair of Converse. While they were still representing their favorite characters, they also were comfy and complaint-free.
Having a plan is always a good idea. There’s nothing like waiting until you’re there, in the midst of the chaos, to decide what you want to see. The entire schedule will be released a few weeks before the event, giving you time to sit down with the family and decide what you just can’t miss. While you want to make sure you see everything you want, when there are kids at Comic Con, you have to be flexible.
One big tip is to choose one BIG thing you want to see in the morning and one in the evening. Make a point to go to these 2 events and let the rest of your day fall into place. Of course, you can keep a list of other things you’d love to see but be flexible and understand that you may not see every single thing you want. While that may be disappointing, it’s the price you must be willing to pay when you include your kids at Comic Con.
Having your kids at Comic Con has been compared to a family trip to Disney. There are sights and sounds and people everywhere. It’s loud, there’s commotion and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Make sure you schedule some down time for the kids to escape and unwind. Pack a Kindle Fire, coloring book or favorite toy. Find a comfy spot to relax and take an hour to just chill. Be sure to pack some ear buds and your kiddo can kick back and recharge while you watch the hilarious panels. (We LOVED the men from Lord of the Rings and John Barrowman!)
If you’ve ever left your house with a kid, you know they are likely to “starve to death” before you get a mile down the road. It’s always a good idea to keep snacks on hand, but especially when you have kids at Comic Con. With long lines paired with sky-high prices, you’ll want to make sure you have something on hand when the hunger pains strike your kiddos. Keep an apple, bag of Goldfish or other filling snack in your bag for easy access until you can grab some lunch.
You’ll also want to make sure each child has plenty to drink. An easy way to do that is to buy each kiddo their own reusable water bottle. For the price of one drink at the convention, the bottle will pay for itself over and over. Make sure your bottle has a good closure and won’t leak. We tend to share bottles of water so that we aren’t lugging around 5 heavy bottles. All we have to do is fill up our bottles at the water fountain and add some yummy flavoring.
When the cost of your weekend start to add up, it’s a struggle to find ways to save money. For us, the trip to Comic Con means spending 8 hours in the car and 3 nights in a hotel. Food is one way we can actually save some money. If you have the space, bring a cooler along. Keep it in the car, stocked with cold drinks, sandwich fixin’s, and fruit. Around lunch time, head to the car for a break. Getting outside of the event halls gives kids a chance to unwind, run around or just clear your minds. Lunch in your car can be exciting as you share thoughts and highlights of your day. It’s the perfect time to reconnect and spend some time together as a family.
Instead of spending $55-$350 to have one photo taken with your favorite star, opt to get photos with random people who are dressed up as your faves. You’ll see ALL KINDS of cosplay participants, from Wonder Woman to Jughead Jones. Most will generously pose for a photo with you for FREE! (I always recommend offering to pay though, just in case. Remember, these people have spent hours working on their costume and likely spent a pretty penny to get them just perfect.)
One of the most interesting places at the convention will be Artist Alley. This is where you will find artists from all walks of nature demonstrating their skills. For a few bucks, artists will draw you a custom portrait of whatever you wish. Some people like to do themed sketch books. They pick a theme, Harry Potter, for instance and ask each artist to create a sketch in their book. It’s amazing to see the different points of view that each artist has on the exact same subject. Come prepared with a quality sketchbook and some cash. (Most artists will have their own pencil or marker but you can bring one, just in case!)
Let’s be honest, with so much going on and thousands of people crammed into one convention center, having your kids at Comic Con is going to be stressful. Every parent in the world knows that it only takes a second for your child to get lost. Because of the sheer size of the convention center and the amount of people, it’s ESSENTIAL that you make a plan for if and when you get separated. It may even be worth a trip to the center a few days early to find a good meeting spot, in case your child gets lost. Tell your kids to head to the outer wall, restroom, hallway or any other predetermined place. Make sure the kids know exactly where you will go to find them when you are looking. Once they reach the assigned place, make sure they know to stay put. You will search for them. They should keep an eye out for you but do so from the spot you decide.
Another great idea is to put your cell phone number on your child’s upper arm using a Sharpie. This can come in handy if a stranger needs to help locate you. Just make sure that it is high enough up that it won’t get scrubbed away when your child washes his hands.
Of all the tips, this is the most important. No matter what the plan is, make sure it’s in place well ahead of time and that the kids know exactly what to do if they get lost.
With a little planning, your weekend with kids at Comic Con will be an absolute blast. Even with the unavoidable annoyances and bumps in the road, it’ll still be a weekend jam-packed with memories that your kids will never forget!
Comic Con is coming to a city near you in 2018!