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Getting ready to go to a con can be pretty stressful.  You got to make sure you’ve pack everything for your costumes, got all your make-up and toiletries, have clothes for when you’re not wearing your costume, not forgetting chargers, and then you have to try to make it all fit into whatever bags you’re bringing.  And then, as soon as you’re at the con, you realize you’ve forgotten a pivotal piece of your costume.  Talk about a morning ruiner.

Honestly, this happens to me all the time.  That’s why I’ve started making checklists.  I’ve found that when I don’t make and use a checklist is when I end up forgetting things.  So, to make life easier for me, I’ve been writing up a huge master checklist, with all my costumes on it, so when I’m getting ready to go to a con, I just get rid of the checklists for the costumes I’m not bringing, print it out, and I’m good to go.  Just open up Word of OpenOffice, and make a huge 4XWhatever table.  Then, here’s what I do:

First of all, I color code each entry, and find a font for each character because it’s easier for me to use the list, and I just find it fun.  Second, I list every last thing that makes up that costume.  EVERY LAST THING.  AS DESCRIPTIVE AS I CAN GET.  Obviously, if I just put down “Nice wig”, I’ll know which one I’m talking about, but when searching through I huge box of wigs, sometimes it nice to know what color and what length you’re looking for.  

Also, don’t assume you’ll remember little details, even if they’re stored with the rest of your costume.  Another example, I always put the material I use for Nice’s neck ribbon in an accessories bag hanging with her costume.  However, I had just used up the last of that material at the last con I was at and had gotten more but failed to put it back in the bag.  Not having a checklist for the next con I was headed to, I completely forgot to pack that item.

So, go through, write down everything, including props, specific undergarments, and make-up.  If I’m borrowing an item from a friend, I say so, and then bold that entry so I don’t forget to ask them to pack it.  Then, I mark the top of the two far right columns as To and From.  One, obviously, is for packing to go to the con, and the other is packing your things from the con to go back home.  I used to neglect the packing-to-go-home list, but after leaving a few things in various hotels, I’ve started being a bit more attentive.

Once you’re done with the checklists for each of your costumes, the bottom is free to fill with whatever general con items you need.  Obviously, you’ve got your general things to bring, pajamas, toiletries, and so on.  But two things we bring to a con which you might consider are:

  • First aid kit - We bring a small kit with bandaids, painkillers, and the like just in case we or anyone we know needs a quick fix, but doesn’t want to try to find the first aid room at the con.
  • Con Costume Kit - This is just a compilation of all the little things our costumes might need at the con center.  Thread, safety pins, hairspray, even things like moleskin (for shoes that irritate your ankle) and spare deodorant.

If you’re not quite sure what to pack, I have my general checklist (sans all the specific costumes) in Rich Text Format for download over here on GoogleDocs.  Go ahead and take it, change whatever you need to, add in your costumes, and use it.

Tip Tuesday: Getting Ready For The Con
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