At its 2022 show, Emerald City Comic Con implemented a mandatory face mask rule while inside any building the show occupied. While this created controversy for some con-goers, most seemed happy to comply with the new rule.

Washington state no longer requires face masks to be worn indoors or at most large events, but masks are always an option. Seattle in particular has a large number of residents who continue to wear masks either out of habit or for health and safety, which was ECCC’s primary concern.

We all know how crowded conventions get. And the fact that the showrunners felt the need to remind patrons to wear deodorant in multiple con guides says a lot about the type of people who attend the show. Let’s face it, nerds aren’t always known for their good hygiene habits, so that alone is always a cause for concern even without the pandemic reality we’ve been living through for going on three years.

So why are masks so important for conventions in the future? Even without the daunting threat of COVID-19 standing strong, there are other health concerns to take into account. The biggest red flag was that ECCC felt the need to remind patrons to wear deodorant in several convention guides on their website. Let’s face it, some nerds are not known for their personal hygiene habits. I don’t know about you, but I was glad to have a barrier between my nose and those people during the show.

COVID also isn’t the only virus or illness you could catch being in close quarters with a massive crowd of people. Even a common cold can affect your health, and let’s not even consider catching the flu on the show floor.

But what’s a cosplayer to do when their mask clashes with their costume? This is your time to get creative and create a fun and functional accessory! Adorning a disposable or reusable mask with logos, quotes and decorations is a great way to stay healthy while also staying in character. My favorite solution to this problem was seeing a girl cosplay Jinx from Arcane with a face mask built into the actual mask for her outfit!

Creating face masks for your cosplay is a great way to learn or test out a new skill. And keep in mind that you can always remove your mask to take pictures as long as you put it on right away!

Will ECCC require masks again during its next show in March 2023? Possibly, though we won’t know until much closer to that time. My guess is that masks will be optional, but I’ll be masking up just in case. You never know who’s going to cough your way or which kid is going to sneeze on you. (And yes, I’m speaking from personal experience.)

Tldr; Emerald City Comic Con’s mask mandate wasn’t as bad as some thought it would be, and it’s never a bad idea to take an extra safety precaution while in a crowd that large. Cheers to all the 2022 nerds, and here’s to another great event in 2023!