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The Art of Convincing People to Cosplay

We understand that not everyone is lucky enough to have such laid back, awesome family members and friends as John and I do. I mean, not everyone's (handsome, popular) little brother will just say "okay" and come along when handed a costume. Some people might have an aversion to dressing up like a cartoon character, a barbarian, or a Pokemon for some reason.

To convince people to cosplay with you, it really helps to know the reason why a particular person doesn't want to make a near-fool out of himself for the sake of your costuming dreams. Certain reasons are harder to overcome than others, and many times the reasons are stacked on top of one another. It takes cunning and skill to figure out the why and how to convince an unwilling friend to Cosplay with you, but hopefully the following tips can help you achieve your costuming dreams.

Level One: Lazy
The first big block is, fortunately, the easiest to overcome. If you ask someone to cosplay and they hesitate or give some lame excuse, you should offer to help them make--or in extreme cases to entirely make--the costume that you want that person to wear. Most people are more willing to cosplay when they know that there is little to no work involved. This is the level that my youngest brother Nick is at. And my husband Gunnar. *

"Hey Nick wanna go to Renfair?"

"I guess."

"Wanna dress up?"


"We'll make it for you."


Level Two: Broke

This is harder to overcome because it's an actual, good reason not to go to a con. If you really want the person to go with you, you might have to be a good friend and offer to pay for some aspect of the event. You can offer to pay for transportation by using your car or offering substantial gas money, you can offer to buy their ticket to the con (this is a good one if your ticket is already comped because you are volunteering), or you can offer to buy them dinner one of the nights of the con. If you, too, are on a tight budget, you can offer to do something for them in exchange, like lend them your collection of InuYasha DVDs or let them play Soul Silver on your DS after you beat it. This may seem like a "cheap" shot at convincing someone to cosplay with you, but it can end up being mutually beneficial. I often find myself at this level, as an underemployed but well-fed writer.

Tricia: "Gee, Sailor Mars sounds cool but I don't have money for AKON this year."

Me and Tiffany: "We'll help you with the costume, and then I'll pay your share of the hotel room, and let you off on giving gas money. Then if you volunteer, your ticket is free."

Tricia: "Okay. Cool. Thanks!"

Level Three: Not Interested

These friends are harder to convince than the lazy or broke friends--they usually have some kind of mental block about dressing up in ridiculous outfits and parading around a packed hotel for three days. For these people, you have to be creative and find things that they like to entice them to go to the con. Things like "There are lots of girls walking around in bikinis," or "They have a Magic the Gathering tournament," or even "They have Pocky, LOTS of Pocky."

Alli's husband Matt is at this level most of the time, though he as gotten better in recent years, after learning that our costume obsession isn't just going to go away...

"Want to go to Akon?"


"Want to dress up as Girafarig**?"


"I'll make your costume for you. And buy your ticket."


"There's a video game room where we can play Left4Dead all night."


"We'll bring rum and make it a party."


"I'm your wife and I really want you to go."


Level Four: Stubborn Turd

If, after all these tactics have been tried, someone still refuses to cosplay with you, what is needed is peer pressure. Perhaps the person you are trying to convince just doesn't feel intimidated enough by you to surrender to your will unconditionally, or perhaps they have issues that go deeper than a free badge or crash space can cure. In this case, you will need to enlist the help of that friend. You know the one. The bossy, smooth-talking friend who can get almost anyone to do anything. In my group of friends, it is Tiffany. She's so likable and fun that people just don't say no to her. Instead, they think, "Wow, if she wants to go to that con, it must be the coolest thing on the planet this summer!" and heartily agree.

Every group has a version of that person, so if possible, have them be the one to try and convince the stubborn turd to give in and cosplay with you.

Sometimes, peer pressure can take the form of numbers. We have to use this one on our friend Josh all the time. "Come on, Me and G and J and T and M and T and A are aaaaall going and it won't be the same without you. You have to come!" And he does! (And it is more fun when he comes!)

Good Luck!

Some people are harder to crack than others, and, unfortunately there are a few strange people in the world who just won't be convinced. Give them time, keep asking, and maybe someday they will change their mind!

It was always my costuming dream to be a part of a complete Sailor Scout Group!

*Actually, Nick and Gunnar aren't lazy but very very busy. Nick is studying chemical engineering at Texas A&M University right now, and Gunnar studied Biochemistry and works full time.
**Yes, you read that right. Girafarig. I know.