This year’s Dawn of Halloween had over 1,200 people in attendance and was a night where all could get their geek on. Club Cosplay held its second annual Dawn of Halloween event at the House of Blues in Anaheim on Friday, Oct. 2.
Club Cosplay is not your average club; it’s an “anti-club” for those who want to have a good time but aren’t fond of the typical club experience.
“Anyone who still feels that ‘nerd’ is negative, it comes from an old-school vein,” said Ivan McCosplay, as he goes by and CEO and founder of Club Cosplay. “Nerds and geeks dominate all major markets and now it’s their time to shine.”
McCosplay, a former concert promoter, was challenged to create a night club but wanted to do so on his terms.
“I don’t like night clubs, never really did, but if I was gonna make a night club, it was going to be one I wanted to do and Club Cosplay came from that,” McCosplay said.
One unique aspect of Club Cosplay is NerdSafe, a set of guidelines that ensures everyone has a good time. Before every event kicks off, the hosts makes it a point to remind everyone that no means no, cosplay is not consent, no suggestive photography or touching, and respect everyone’s right to party.
“[NerdSafe] is the code of conduct and guarantee that our team has everyone’s best interests to heart and our security staff roaming the club to make sure everyone is having a good time,” said McCosplay.
Events like Dawn of Halloween offer are another way to meet and network with people who have similar interests outside of the usual convention setting, like Comic Con and Anime Expo.
“It’s kind of just a collective of everyone cosplaying,” said Bryan Johnson, who cosplayed as a Batman/Deadpool crossover. “A lot of times you get stopped when you’re in costume and everyone likes to take pictures, but here, we’re all in costume, but we’re all just having a good time together and partying together and there’s no interruptions.”
For Johnson, events like Dawn of Halloween show how the cosplay community and the nerd community in general are more open and welcoming than they seem.
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The participants of the @clubcosplay Cosplay Contest. The winner, and well deserved, was someone who Cosplayed as The Mask. He was spot on! Excellent Cosplaying! @clubcosplayie #hobanaheim #houseofblues #downtowndisney #disneylandresort #dlr #clubcosplay #themask #jimcarrey
“It [the cosplay community] may seem like a niche community to get into, but once you do, everybody is so supportive,” Johnson said. “Everybody is more than willing to give you a hand and help you out and drive you forward, so there’s nothing really to be afraid about.”
Several vendors, from artists to small businesses, also came out to sell their art and merchandise. However, for Rick Basaldua of RickBas Art and Photography, meeting quotas and selling out was not his sole reason for attending.
“Here, you don’t have many people going to buy any of your stuff [like a convention] so it’s kind of a gamble. But it’s not really meant to make money,” Basaldua said. “I like mingling with my fellow nerds, I’m wearing cat ears for goodness sakes.”
For staff, vendors and attendees alike, Club Cosplay breaks the stigma surrounding cosplay, comics and fandoms gives all in attendance the chance to be themselves.
Their next event, New Year’s Aftermath, will take place at M15 Concert Bar and Grill on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016.