Movie studios and TV networks use the San Diego Comic-Con to promote new products, but attendees like Bethany Jones use the four-day event to truly be themselves ― and that often means dressing up in costume.
“I wish I could dress up all the time,” Jones, 21, told HuffPost. “There’s something freeing about it.”
Jones has a collection of 15 costumes, and is wearing a different one each day during the Con.
On Friday, she dressed up as a twi’lek Jedi, an obscure Star Wars character with green skin and long horns. On Saturday, she plans to dress up as Black Panther.
The Jedi costume has long been a dream of hers, one that took a year to put together. The payoff is seeing other people’s reaction.
“One woman clapped at me and said, ‘You have dedication,’” Jones said. “The woman at 7-11 wanted to take my photo.”
Some costumed Con attendees purchase their costumes. Others, like Liz Edwards, a registered nurse from Rancho Cucamonga, make them from scratch.
Edwards made a stormtrooper outfit using armor she commissioned from a professional.
“There’s bragging rights,” she explained. “You have to make adjustments though. The armor is made for a man and the crotch rides a little low.”
A choice of costume is a very personal thing and some attendees worry others won’t know who they are.
Steve and Pat, a cosplaying couple from Dallas, were afraid that dressing up as Fred and Wilma Flintstone might confuse millennials who don’t remember the series.
“We are shocked,” Pat said. “The younger ones think of the movie, and the really little ones think of the vitamins.”
Dressing up as the Flintstones wasn’t Steve’s first choice.
“I wanted to be a dragon, but it would have taken a year to put that costume together,” he said. “I wanted my wife to be the mother of dragons from ‘Game of Thrones.’”
Pat said no.
“I told him I’m a little old for that,” she said. “That’s a job for a 21-year-old, not a 55-year-old.”
As you might expect, Pokemon costumes are more popular than recent years, but dressing up as one had unintended consequences for a cosplayer from Carson, California, who called herself Julia Pikachu.
“People are throwing plastic balls at me,” she laughed.
Check out other costumed cosplayers at the Con below.