BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

A Cosplay Weapons Safety Guide

5 Minute Read
Jul 21 2022

To keep folks safe at events and conventions, let’s talk about the ongoing debate over props in this cosplay weapons safety guide.

Warbla Warfare: The Discussion of Cosplay Weapons Regulations

It is often the accessories that set a cosplay project apart as exceptional. Attention to detail can make a huge difference between a closet cosplay and a competition masterpiece. A large number of cosplay characters are militant in some way or another. This means that weaponry is often a heavily featured aspect of many cosplays.

In recent seasons, many cosplayers have found themselves disappointed by an increased amount of censoring at events. Their right to bear prop arms at the conventions they know and love has been challenged. This week we’re here to shed some light on this with our cosplay weapons safety guide.

Maleficent and Aurora cosplays by Mayhem’s Muse and JCVIM


The Buzz About Cosplay Weapon Safety

A poignant article from Bonnie Burton at CNet sheds some light on this topic. The article discusses the recent concerns about cosplay props (specifically weapons) at events. Organizers are tightening up their rules and protocols to keep people safe and avoid trouble spots. This week we’re taking a closer look.

Who Gets the Guns- Cosplay Weapons Norms

At most conventions, a volunteer organization is tapped to run a weapons check booth. They ensure that real weapons do not make it onto the show floor. With so many cosplays including props in the shape of weapons, this is crucial.

A large collection of cosplay weapons and props by Kamui Cosplay

Any potentially harmful items are safely sheathed and rendered harmless before entry. Cosplay prop check booths often take on an official capacity at such conventions, carrying authority. It is not always an organization run by officers of the law or people with extensive weapons training.

Cosplay props and weapons check-in at a Colorado convention

The First Line of Weapons Safety

The Colorado Springs S.T.A.R.S Division is an excellent example of these volunteers. The unit is made up of several local law enforcement members who donate their time to convention safety procedures. They are friendly, knowledgeable of both cosplay and weapon practices, and never fail to educate con-goers. They take time to educate folks on why their items are safe or not, and how to make them so. I have worked with them for years past, and am always excited to see them representing a convention.

STOP! Get your gear checked out for safety before entering the convention floor

Shifting Security Standards for Cosplay Props

Most conventions have a practice of allowing prop weaponry onto their show floors. Recently, some are moving to a much more stringent policy, allowing little or no weapons into their halls. Even items that in no way resemble functioning weapons are coming under fire. This upsets a large amount of the cosplay community. So many cosplays rely on these props to carry their garb through to more authentic levels. One of the biggest concerns lies in the lack of actual law enforcement to thoroughly check for weapons at conventions.

Members of the STARS work in law enforcement, volunteering at conventions to check out cosplay weapon safety

The Future of Cosplay Weapons

Cosplayers who carry obvious props are easy to see and regulate. It is much harder to spot the “concealed carries” in a crowd. As such, they slip past the entries for conventions relatively unbothered. It seems a disappointing waste of resources and creative potential to crack down in this fashion. The real purpose here is the safety of convention attendees. Sadly, it is unlikely that creating limitations like these will actually go the distance to avoiding future weapon-related incidents.  While the intention is good, this might just serve to shut down future cosplay potential. Cosplayers might be discouraged from attending larger conventions.


What to Do for Cosplay Weapons Safety

If you are attending any event where you bring props (be they weapons or other big items), there are a few key points to keep in mind. Always mind your spacial awareness. Take care when moving through corridors or doorways. Make sure that you are not bumping into people, which might snag someone or break your prop. If you have a prop that looks like a weapon, make sure it is peace tied.

This means tying it down so that a sword cannot leave a sheath or any other element that could be dangerous. Additionally, be prepared to talk convention staff through your creation. Know what it is made of, any potential dangerous points like sharp edges or pokey corners. Always be calm and have patience, you are likely to meet people who are not familiar with your characters. The calmer you are, the more quickly staff can help you.

The Final Word on Cosplay Weapon Safety

When making weapons for conventions, make sure they are safe. If you have a sword or sharp-edged item, dull those edges and make them blunt. Foam is a great option for realistic weapons that are light and easier to carry without sharp edges. Try to avoid bulky, large items that might run into people, unless your venue is big enough to save movement. If you have questions about bringing an item, take the time to ask the organizers if it is ok. They will thank you for your transparency. Remember to have fun, ask questions, and always come prepared for safety!

Sailor Scouts image by Jason Laboy Photography

Checkout Our Ultimate Beginners Cosplay Guide

~Join us next week for more Cosplay Coverage~

Have a Cosplay question you would like Mayhem’s Muse to answer? Know a Cosplayer you’d like to see featured?

Send an email here!

Learn more about Mayhem’s Muse


Author: Jennifer Larsen
  • These X-Men Rogue Cosplays Will Suck the Life Right Out of You