Should You Bring Your Kid to New York Comic Con?
New York Comic Con is a wrap for 2017, and for the first time I brought my son with me to kids day. Here's some advice I'd like to share for other parents who are on the fence about bringing their child with them.
First of all, New York Comic Con is the most fun you'll probably ever have. Unless you're not into it, then you'll just be miserable. So the first question you need to ask yourself is "Does my child really want to go to comic con, or do I just really want him or her to go?"
Sometimes it's easy to assume that if you really like something your kid will really be into it as well. Remember to put yourself in your kid's shoes. Literally, put yourself in their shoes. Remember that they're going to be waist-high and spend lots of time staring at other people's stomachs and rear ends as you wait in line and weave in and out of the busy show floor. If the reward of visiting a really cool booth or exhibit is worth it to them, then they'll probably be fine. But if they're just a casual fan it could get old real fast and lead to misery for them and you.
Luckily, my six-year-old was really into enough of the attractions that the madness of waiting in lines and being pushed from place to place was worth it to him. But even still, we certainly needed to take lots of breaks and find some breathing room away from the crowds. Don't expect to see or do everything. Just doing a few things and really enjoying them is way better than having to see it all and being miserable. Make a short list of must-see attractions and knock them off one by one. If you don't finish them all, or find out a line just isn't worth waiting on, don't sweat it. If you're cool about it your kids will be cool too. My suggestion is to keep the list to yourself. Your child will never be upset about missing an attraction they didn't even know was there, and will be delightfully surprised by the ones you do see.
How young is too young? Well, that's up to the parent. All kids are unique and can handle different things at different ages. In my own opinion, if your kid is still in a stroller, it's probably best to leave them at home. For one, they're most likely too little to really enjoy or understand what's going on. Also, strollers just honestly suck at New York Comic Con. There's really no good way of maneuvering them around the crowded show floor, and you'll spend a majority of your day stuck in foot traffic just trying to get from one place to the other.
While Comic-Con is mostly family friendly, remember that there are lots of panels and exhibits that are geared towards adults. For example, the South Park trivia game this year got pretty TV-MA, with the host continually warning parents that the questions he was about to ask were really not for kids to hear. Also, I was shocked to see so many kids at the Family Guy panel, in which the cast participated in an extremely dirty (and hilarious) conversation with the crowd. The subject matter and language was something that no parent would want any preteen or under listening to.
Of course, your child is going to want to dress up in costume and that can be lots of fun for everyone. Just remember to keep the costumes simple and comfortable. While adults can handle the repercussions of deciding to dress in cosplay that doesn't fit down the aisle, kids aren't going to deal with it very well. I personally opted to go without a costume and dress my son in a bright fluorescent t-shirt so I could spot him from a mile away. It's super easy to get lost in just seconds within the sea of people that are at New York Comic Con, so that extra security of being easily visible was very comforting to me.
Food is expensive and not the best quality at the Javits Center, so if you have a picky eater make sure to bring them something they'll eat. A sack of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a thermos full of milk could be the thing that makes or breaks your day.
So should you bring your kid to New York Comic Con? Well, if you ask yourself some honest questions, truly evaluate your kid's interest level, temper your (and their) expectations and just use some common sense, your kid will have an awesome time at New York Comic Con. Remember that discount tickets for kids are usually available on Sunday, so when fan verification comes around for next year, make sure you know how to get those kid tickets, and which day they're available on.
My son and I will see you next year at New York Comic Con, just look for us with the matching bright neon shirts.