Among the time-honored rites of childhood is playing make-believe. As murderous outlaw cowboys, fairy princesses, dauntless firefighters or myriad other fantastical and heroic roles, children push the boundaries of the possible before the realities of adulthood grind their little spirits to dust. Nine-year old Billy may be destined for a life of junior management at the Lodi Rite-Aid, but for this brief and priceless time he can be a gridiron hero, space cowboy or one of those annoying blue critters from Avatar.
Fortunately for the emotionally-stunted and other sexless adults, in 2011, dress-up is not limited to children or the mentally challenged; more and more, people over the age of eleven are embracing the magical world of make-believe. They call it cosplay.
Cosplay, which Wikipedia charitably calls ‘performance art,’ isn’t going away any time soon. Thanks to the proliferation of various fandom conventions–comic books, Star Trek, Dr. Who and their ilk–cosplayers have become emboldened through interaction like-minded individuals, where in ages past they would have been limited to practicing their hobby in dim and lonely basement, their sole audience a badly cracked full-length mirror.
Having crawled out into the sun, it is foolish to believe that these merry masters of make-believe will just as quickly slink back into the faerie forest. In this way cosplay is like illegal drugs or preggo porn, enough people want to do it regardless of the very serious harm which may result, and so the war must turn to one of management rather than eradication.
It is imperative then that we educate the public–and not merely the cosplaying fringe–about engaging in safe make-believe practices, and also about the very real dangers of improper cosplay. The following illustrations should suffice to impart upon even the most casual observer a basic knowledge of the DOs & DON’Ts of this bizarre hobby.