Costumes, Weapons & Props Rules

Last Updated: 11th March 2020

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.

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.

Note that the following items are banned from MCM Comic Cons:

  • 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 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;
  • Laser pointers, vuvuzelas, silly string, and drones (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;
  • Any items restricted or prohibited from being carried by law e.g. knuckledusters, nunchucks, and bokken (a type of hard wooden or toughened plastic training sword).
  • 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.

Note that some venues prohibit other items e.g. glass bottles and vessels, alcohol, and e-cigarettes. Please check with the venue before bringing such items.

No exceptions are made for special licences, memberships, or training. Police may destroy confiscated items without warning. Attendees bring items to an event at their own risk.

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 such as vegetables, pans, rolling pins, and racquets 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 heavy 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.
  • Roller skates and blades, skateboards, scooters, battery operated go-carts, etc. are only permitted in areas that the venue allows their use. Assume any part of a venue under a roof forbids their use.
  • Large, scenic props on wheels e.g trolleys may be permitted outside the show halls at security’s discretion but are not suitable inside the busy show halls. Small, lightweight static items such as tables that can be quickly packed and moved may similarly be permitted.
  • Small Remote control items may be used outside 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.
  • Items that may be used outside may need to be left in the cloakroom or with security to enter the show halls

  • Most melee weapon props are permitted except those listed or tantamount to items in the Banned Items list. Any sensible material is permitted e.g. lightweight wood, foam, card; avoid materials that may shatter into sharp pieces or otherwise pose a danger or may be banned by the venue e.g. props including a glass item in their construction

  • 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 as long as they do not exceed 1 metre in height or width or have any sharp edges
  • Whips are permitted if kept coiled.
  • Theatre items such hollow aluminium retracting swords with no sharp edge are permitted.
  •  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.

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.
  • Replica rocket and missile launchers, mortars, and other anti-aircraft or artillery props are not sensible items to transport or bring to the event. If you do so, do not expose them to view when outside. This is particularly important for the London and Birmingham shows.

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.

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.

Nudity is not permitted, nor are exposed costume or prosthetic genitalia. 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:

  • 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.

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 to 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

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