It’s that time of the year when Chicago can see the light at the end of the long, soul-crushing tunnel that is winter. And in that light is a bearded man dressed like slave Princess Leia.
Hundreds of people dressed up like their favorite superheroes and sci-fi icons will be out this weekend for the annual Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, also known as C2E2, one of the major conventions in the Chicago area catering to nerd pop culture. (We say that affectionately, because there’s a WBEZ reporter who has replicas of spaceships from Battlestar Galactica on his desk.)
C2E2 will once again be held at McCormick Place’s south building until Sunday, and here are some recommendations from WBEZ’s Hunter Clauss, Greta Johnsen, Tricia Bobeda and Elliott Ramos about things you should keep in mind before you go.
Prepare your phone
Taking pictures and videos of cosplayers — a term for people who participate in costume play — will drain your smartphone’s battery, and it always seems like there are only four electrical outlets in the entire convention hall.
Feed the beast
There are not a ton of great options for food near McCormick Place, and the line for the nearby Burger King, while great for people watching, could be just as long as the line to see Star Trek’s Wil Wheaton. Bring some snacks and a bottle of water.
If you’re looking for deals, you’ll most likely find better ones on Sunday, the last day of the convention. Retailers want to sell as much stuff as possible and might mark down prices further on Sunday so they have less things to pack up.
Yes, it’s a bit of a cliche that superfans do not have the best hygiene, but it unfortunately passes the smell test. Help cut down on the odors, and if you have a sensitive nose, put perfume or cologne on the back of your hands so you can hold it up to your nose in case you find yourself trapped in a BO cloud.
Comfortable shoes are a must
Whether you’re going for 10,000 steps or not, you’re bound to walk a LOT from panels to signings to comic book booths. This is not the time for Barbarella cosplay (at least sub the heels for some sandals.)
Make a plan
With hundreds of vendors and dozens of special guests, C2E2 is nerd paradise. To make the best use of your time, figure out what you can’t miss before you get there.
Leave the bow and arrows at home
C2E2 has a surprisingly detailed list of banned items, so you might want to check it out if you’re cosplaying. On the list are realistic-looking toy guns, silly string, hard prop weapons, vuvuzelas, fireworks and “aerosol mustard.” (You can find the complete list on the convention’s website under “What does C2E2 think of weapons?”)
A Reddit user wrote to us: “Also, if cosplaying as Daryl from (The Walking Dead), please don’t shoot your crossbow this year.”