The San Diego Comic-Con is just around the corner. The studios will be there giving previews of upcoming films and TV shows. They’ll be vendors selling geeky goodness. (I rarely get out of there with my wallet intact. I need those giant Doctor Who slippers!) There will also be amazing costumes.

Cosplay has become increasingly popular over the years. Cosplayers often spend months and months getting ready (or spend money commissioning someone to do so for them). No matter where they come from, con-goers love to take pictures with cosplayers.

Cosplayers often face harassment at cons. There is a whole movement called “Cosplay is Not Consent,” which is trying to educate the public about how to approach cosplayers for a picture and, that just because someone is dressed up, doesn’t mean they want your grubby paws on them. They don’t expect to be verbally abused.

Here is my advice if you’re going to SDCC this year (or any con with cosplayers):

1. Cosplayers aren’t there as props. If you want a picture of them or with them, ask. Politely. Be respectful.

2. Don’t touch their costume unless you ask first and receive permission. Some of these pieces are delicate and weeks and months of work often go into them. Treat them like the art they are.

3. Do ask about the work that went into it if they have time to chat with you. You won’t believe how difficult some of these pieces are to make. 

4. Don’t make them hold your kids. Silly as it sounds, people shove little guys into the arms of cosplayers all the time. Ask them to pose with the kids.

5. If you’re going to post the picture somewhere, tell them. People love to see their work getting noticed.

6. Don’t assume because someone is wearing a skin-bearing costume, they want to be touched or hit on. Keep your hands and your comments to yourself.

7. If you ask for a picture, and they say no, let them be. I’ve watched cosplaying friends who were heading to pick up their children from a panel or heading to be on a panel called a “bitch” or worse for not stopping to take a picture.

8. Read and respect the con’s harassment policy. 

9. Tweet me pics of your favorite cosplay. I can’t wait to see them! 

Happy Con!

Follow Jenna Busch on Twitter @jennabusch and visit her site, Legion of Leia