You may or may not know this, but New York Comic Con changed their weapons policy for the 2014 event. Unfortunately, they did a terrible job explaining the new policy and also failed to send out emails to notify fans to keep some of their props home. If you go to the NYCC “rules” page, you will notice there is no mention of a prop/weapons policy. If you go to the FAQ page, then scroll a decent way down, you will find a small mentioning about props.
“The following items are forbidden at New York Comic Con:
If you’re bringing, buying or selling something that could maim, damage or cause serious bodily harm, we’re going to take issue. The following items are forbidden at NYCC:
Functional firearms (including air soft guns, BB guns, cap guns, paintball guns and pellet guns)Realistic replica firearms (including reproduction, fake or toy guns that can be confused for functional firearms)Functional projectile weapons (including blow guns, crossbows, long bows, silly string, slingshots, water balloons and water guns)Sharpened metal-bladed weapons (including axes, daggers, hatches, knives, kunai, shuriken, swords, sword canes and switch blades)Explosives (including firecrackers and fireworks)Chemical weapons (including mace and pepper spray)Blunt weapons (including brass knuckles, clubs and nunchaku)Hard prop weapons (including props made of metal, fiberglass and glass)Instruments that cause excessive noise levels like vuvuzelas, grenade whistles and grenade hornsWhipsAerosol mustard
Prop weapons will be allowed providing they are composed of foam or cardboard only. Prop firearms are allowed only if they cannot be mistaken for real weapons. The barrel of all prop firearms must be covered with brightly-colored caps. Prop bows will be allowed providing all arrows have soft tips.”
Hear that, fans? Don’t be an idiot. I have a better one – NYCC, don’t have inept people write your policies. Get someone with a basic understanding of English and the human mind and you will have a policy that makes sense. This policy is oddly vague while being incredibly specific at the same time. Prop weapons must be made of foam or cardboard only – but what defines a prop weapon? A gun? A staff? A bat? A bow and arrow? Cosplayers! How many of you use only foam and cardboard to construct a prop? I don’t think I have ever used cardboard to construct a prop. Why would I? It will flop around and fall apart within minutes. So I took to Facebook and did some investigating. Apparently some people were shocked when I shared this information. Others sought out responses from NYCC staff. One person I know was told she could not bring her prop because she used wood to build it (the prop was a bow and arrow). Now she is in a panic because she’s not sure how to make a bow out of foam and cardboard. Another person emailed NYCC staff and was told wood props were ok. So apparently NYCC doesn’t understand their own prop policy. I went and sent an email as well, specifying my Sailor Pluto staff as the prop in question.
“Hi Liz, Thank you for the email. Apologies for the delayed response. At NYCC, our number one priority is the safety and security of our attendees. While the events over the weekend are under the umbrella of NYCC, there are many parties involved in determining the best policies in place to maintain that safety. Thus we don’t always have the final say in the decisions. The new prop rule of ‘cardboard and foam’ is a decision from all these different organizations involved. As long as your prop is not obviously made of wood (or any other blunt material) and it can’t hurt another attendee using moderate force, your prop will not be confiscated. Based on the picture you sent, your staff should not get confiscated. We will work hard to craft a more appropriate policy for next year. We hope for your continued support of NYCC. Apologies for the inconvenience. Please let us know if you have any other questions”
I’m not too sure how you guys feel about this response, it seems like I have the ok to bring my staff… but why is this policy so confusing and poorly put together? Take one from San Diego Comic Con. Literally, just cut and paste their weapons policy and put it into your page and just follow their procedure. If you want to have a policy to police props, have an inspection table and give cosplayers an official tag to put on their prop to show that it has been approved. If it doesn’t meet the requirements, allow them to check the prop so they aren’t forced to take it home. If you’re not capable of doing this, don’t bother posting a prop policy at all. New York Comic Con takes over the Javits Convention Center from October 9th to the 12th, 2014.