Costumes, Weapons & Props Rules
Last Updated: 26th January 2023
MCM reserve the right to deny entry, withdraw access, or cancel tickets without refund at any MCM event to anyone deemed to be breaking these rules. Moreover, MCM and security for the event and venue reserve the right to reject or confiscate any weapon or prop if deemed likely to cause a nuisance. Confiscated items, that can legally be returned to you, can be collected as you leave the event.
If you have an unusual item or need further clarification, please email MCMcosplay@reedpop.com with as much detail and images of the item as possible so we can advise. Note that no absolute assurance can be given without seeing and holding the item in question.
Props and costumes are brought to the event at your own risk. MCM accepts no responsibility for damage to props and costumes brought to the event by attendees.
MCM Comic Con will require every blaster and prop gun worn by attendees to display a distinctive marking that will be applied at the show by Security. Security will be checking all prop firearms each day near the show entrance, and you will be stopped at the start of the show hall and stages if your prop does not comply with this policy. Security’s weapon markings are not permanent and will not damage props. A different marking will be required each day, so if you are bringing a prop firearm each day, you must visit our Prop Check each day of the show.
- Metal blades whether sharp or blunt e.g. swords, axes, kunai, ice skates, and knives.
- Guns, rifles, or artillery including airsoft guns, BB guns, paintball guns, including if unpowered, or props built from parts of these items;
- Hard bats, paddles or clubs e.g. wooden or metal baseball bats, golf clubs;
- Gun props made of metal or hard wood
- Functional projectile weapons e.g. strung bows or crossbows;
- Slings and catapults
- Sharp items e.g. arrows, bolts, protruding nails;
- Claws or small hand held blades made of metal, wood or other hard or sharp materials
- Laser pointers, vuvuzelas, silly string (even if not part of a costume);
- Heavy tools and power tools e.g. iron pokers, crowbars, drills, chainsaws;
- Chemical weapons, explosives, and incendiary device e.g. mace, pepper spray;
- Large pressurised containers and gas canisters;
- Fog or vapour machines and smoke grenades;
- Martial arts training weapons e.g. bokken (a type of hard wooden or toughened plastic training sword).
- Any items restricted or prohibited from being carried by law e.g. knuckledusters, nunchucks,
- Heavy items that could be used as weapons e.g. iron pokers, heavy cast iron pans, or crowbars are not permitted. Nor are power tools such as actual chainsaws or hedge trimmers.
- Drones and small remote control toys (even if not part of a costume);
- Skateboards, scooters, inline skates or shoes with built-in wheels (even if not part of a costume);
- Realistic replica rocket and missile launchers, mortars, and other anti-aircraft or artillery props
- Props including glass elements
No exceptions are made for special licences, memberships, or training. Police may destroy confiscated items without warning.
MCM may give permission for anything usually forbidden by these rules on a case by case basis e.g. to an exhibitor or sponsor for a promotion.
Just as you can buy a knife in a shop and take it home but can’t carry it around in public otherwise, you may be able to buy items included in the banned list while at the event. These items must remain in their packaging while you are inside the event. Any item that cannot usually be carried in public by law will be posted to you after the show. If returning to a future MCM Comic Con, you are not permitted to bring banned items back with you just because it was bought at an MCM event.
- Items that people normally carry such as umbrellas or regular walking sticks, as well as small lightweight mundane items are allowed up to a length of 150cm. Most musical instruments e.g. guitars are allowed.
- Lightweight plastic or foam bats, paddles, and clubs are fine.
- Heavy items that could be used as weapons e.g. iron pokers, heavy cast iron pans, canes with metal tops or crowbars are not permitted. Nor are power tools such as actual chainsaws or hedge trimmers.
- Ice skates are not allowed, even with skate guards attached.
- Small, lightweight static items such as tables that can be quickly packed and moved may be permitted at security’s discretion.
- Roller skates and blades, skateboards, scooters, battery operated go-carts, etc. are not permitted, including outdoor areas within the event site, even if not part of a costume
- Large, scenic props on wheels may be permitted outside the show halls at security’s discretion but are not suitable inside the busy show halls.
- Remote control items, such as droids, may be used outside the show halls if permitted by the venue. They should be driven carefully and in open space where no vehicles or people can hit it or trip on it.
Most melee weapon props are permitted except those listed in the Banned Items list, or anything that Security considers tantamount to those items. Remember, if it is a particularly large prop your choice of material will affect the weight and therefore safety of the item – you might be sensible but if someone took it off you could they hurt someone?
- Any sensible material is permitted e.g. lightweight wood, foam, card, PLA/3D printing; avoid materials that will make the prop very heavy, e.g. lots of wood, may shatter into sharp pieces or otherwise pose a danger or be banned by the venue e.g. props including a glass item in their construction; ensure any sharp points are rounded off.
- The maximum size permitted is 150cm, or 180cm in the case of a narrow staff/spear. Any items exceeding these dimensions must dismantle into smaller pieces without tools and be so dismantled before entering crowded areas.
- Scythes are a particularly difficult item to carry safely. As such, they must be made to disconnect into two parts without tools regardless of size i.e the blade removes from the handle
- Shields are allowed, including lightweight metal, as long as they do not exceed 1 metre in height or width or have any sharp edges
- Whips are permitted if kept coiled.
- Foam weapons built round a core such as those used for live action roleplaying are permitted.
- Lightsabers are permitted- including those with a metal hilt, excluding replicas containing glass in their construction..
Please take care when outside or when transporting any form of firearm prop.
Regardless of how realistic it looks, ensure it is completely hidden while travelling and be aware of your surroundings, attire, and the appearance of your props to bystanders when outside. Don’t assume a costume reassures people that the weapon is a prop.
False alarms waste police resources and risk creating stricter rules and laws.
- Unrealistic and toy guns such as those sourced from modern children's programming (made of brightly coloured plastics, with flashing lights and stickers), or that are clearly science fiction based (phasers, plasma guns, blasters) are permitted; maximum size is 150cm.
- Prop versions of antiquated muzzle loading guns such as flintlock pistols & blunderbuss made from lighter materials (not metal or hard wood) are similarly allowed.
- Airsoft guns, BB guns, deactivated guns, paintball guns, metal gun props, or props built using these or parts of these as a base are not permitted.
- Other Realistic imitation firearm props (excluding airsoft guns, BB guns, deactivated guns, paintball guns and metal gun props) made of lightweight materials are permitted with a brightly coloured tip on the end of the muzzle of the gun which is clearly visible from most angles OR if they have significantly brightly coloured portion. In the case of a brightly coloured tip, it does not have to be permanently fixed to the item and can be removed for photographs if fitted back in place immediately afterwards.
- Caps, incendiaries and any ammunition that can be fired are not allowed. Compressed air chambers and batteries for weapons are similarly not permitted.
- Realistic replica rocket and missile launchers, mortars, and other anti-aircraft or artillery props are not allowed due to the venue’s proximity to an airport.
Bows and crossbows are allowed if unstrung or if they are prop bows that cannot effectively fire an arrow or bolt i.e. drawing the string does not create tension in the arms and/or string that could be used to fire a projectile effectively; said string must also not be adjustable via tightening to fire a projectile effectively. The string should be easily removable so that it can be removed at security’s request.
Prop strung bows shaped to look like a bow under tension without actually being under tension are allowed if not contrived somehow to fire projectiles effectively.
Prop arrows completely fixed in place in the quiver are acceptable and loose arrows or bolts must be blunt
With the explosion of pop culture in our everyday lives and the growth of social media it is important for cosplayers to consider that their costumes will likely be seen by people from a vast range of cultures and countries, both inside and outside the pop culture community.
The use of makeup, including prosthetics, to change your natural skin tone or features to those of another realistic race has been a contentious topic for a number of years in the global cosplay community. While not usually intended to cause offence, this use of makeup carries connotations of historical practices that were inherently racist and it creates an environment where people of colour are made to feel uncomfortable to portray a wide variety of characters, therefore it is not acceptable at our shows.
Nudity is not permitted, nor are exposed costume or prosthetic genitalia. As a family friendly, event suggestive lingerie/boudoir costumes and Adult fetish attire such as extreme BDSM gear is also unsuitable; email MCMcosplay@reedpop.com if in doubt.
Skimpy costumes are permitted though concessions to accuracy are needed if skimpy to the point of negligible coverage i.e. less than typical swimwear. Take extra precautions beneath a skimpy or delicate costume to avoid exposing yourself completely in the event of a costume malfunction.
With regards to costumes, please note that:
- When lanyards are not in use - It is the responsibility of attendees to ensure that a wristband or handstamp (at MCM's discretion) can be placed directly on your left wrist, not over costume or clothing. The MCM team cannot assist you with removing costume parts to be able to do this. Take this into account with designs or adjustments to the costume e.g adding openings at wrists of morph suits.
- The maximum dimension of a costume is 2.5 metres between any two points, excluding fabric trains and parts that collapse to a smaller size, e.g. wings that fold.
- If a costume is bulky and made of hard materials or includes parts outside of usual human dimensions you must have at least one person with you as a guide.
- Examples include full fur suits, metal armour, wings, and robots.
- Costumes, props, performances, and displays must not involve or create naked flames, explosions, smoke nor arcs or bursts of exposed electricity.
MCM reserve the right to intervene in the case of attire or costumes with the following: insensitive or unnecessary use of makeup, profanities or sexual acts; inciting of hate or crime; and uniforms, emblems, or flags of organisations responsible for crimes against humanity (including their use in comic-related or satirical portrayals).
If you see someone at the event with a costume or make up you believe to be offensive or inappropriate you can report it via our mobile app so our security and event team can address it onsite with the people involved.
If you are at all concerned that your choice of character or costume design could be considered offensive in any way please do get in touch with the cosplay team and we will be happy to advise
Thanks for reading! Further questions or feedback? Email: MCMcosplay@reedpop.com