Please read this whole post, the FAQ, and the thread to make sure your question was not already answered. If you have a prop or costuming question, post it here. Do not PM IRT members with prop and costume questions. That way, everyone can benefit from your question.
There are some rules changes from last year, so read carefully. In the case of the more permissive rules, we apologize that these are only coming out now, but they took a while to be approved. Hopefully you will be able to take full advantage of them next year.
If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, the prop or costume in question is not allowed.
- Is the prop longer than the congoer's height (or 4 feet if the congoer is less than 4 feet tall) when carried?
- Is the prop live steel*?
- Is the prop a real firearm?
- Is the prop insufficiently distinguishable** from a real gun?
- If the prop is an airsoft weapon, is it not disabled and unloaded?
- Are there projectiles loaded or nocked into the prop, including water in water guns, or easily accessible on the congoer?
- If the prop is a bow or other stringed weapon, is it tightly strung?
- Are there any loose arrows or bolts with the costume or prop?
- If the prop is a sword-like object, is it being carried in a dangerous manner?
- Does the costume have dangerous protrusions longer than 6 inches?
- Does the costume severely restrict mobility or line of sight for the wearer?
- Does the costume violate local decency laws?
- Does the costume have offensive speech in any language on it?
- Is the wearer wearing a sign that is obviously not part of the costume?
* - Live steel is any object crafted from metal with a pointed end or blade-like edge, whether blunt or sharp.
** - Acceptable ways of making your gun-like prop sufficiently distinguishable include having it be transparent, made of an obviously different material (like rubber), or incorporating futuristic, fantastic, or unrealistic elements. All gun-like props and replicas are required to have orange tips, but this alone is not enough to distinguish them enough to make them allowable.
Are tennis rackets allowed? They're made of steel!
Tennis rackets have no point or blade-like edge (and are thus not considered live steel), so they are allowed.
What if I make a fake sword out of, say, wood and cover it in foil?
Your prop is not crafted from metal and thus is not live steel. It would be allowed.
What if I'm not sure about the acceptability of my prop?
You can always PM me and ask. I'll be happy to advise. Alternately, you can come to IRT (not Customer Service this year) to get your prop checked.
What if my profession requires me to carry a real firearm?
Upon getting to the con, even on Thursday, please come to IRT headquarters and ask to speak with our Department Head. We just want to be aware of these things so there are no misunderstandings.
What is my wings or tail are longer than 6 inches?
Imagine a six-inch zone extending from the general shape of your costume. (I'd say body, but we count clothes and backpacks and such inside this bubble.) You can have no protrusions outside this zone. If your tail is long, hold it or keep it bound to your body. If your wings are wide, make them collapsible so they do not break the zone when folded in.
What about backpacks and the like?
Backpacks are allowed, as long as there aren't spikes or things on them. And you wouldn't put spikes on your backpack, would you? Also, don't start swinging it around or anything like that, because then it gets classified as a dangerous prop and we'll confiscate it or ask you to put it away.
What about knitting needles? I plan to knit an afghan with kitty ears at con.
Knitting needles are allowed. Don't stab anyone with them. Then they become disallowed. (And it's a really good way to make sure they stay disallowed next year.)
What is the difference between a prop and costuming?
A prop is something you hold. Costuming is draped on your body. Yes, this is a definition with a bunch of loopholes and whatnot. I hope you all are smart enough to figure out the grey areas.