Geek It Up with the Kids at Comic-Con International

Moms, dads, grandparents, and godparents: Are you looking for a special occasion to dedicate to some one-on-one bonding time with your kid? Check out our series of hip happenings that will give the two of you secrets to share and a ritual to return to year after year.

Sci-fi geeks, comic book dorks, and superhero fanatics of all ages adore the buzzed-about Comic-Con, a four-day event each July with exhibitions, workshops, programs, conferences, and screenings that consume laid-back San Diego at the end of July.

In recent years, the event has drawn more than 130,000 fans of comic books, science fiction novels, television series, and films to an epic and fun-filled fan convention where a fan’s heroes also come out to play. If your kid has a penchant for line drawing or a super hero idol, maybe it’s time for you to embrace your inner geek too, and head to Comic-Con!

What to Prepare

Comic-Con is now such a phenomenon that it has outgrown the space of the San Diego Convention Center, its headquarters. Tickets sell out quickly and hotel rooms fill up just as fast. For you, this means planning head is crucial. Comic-Con prep can begin as early as February or March, so keep your eye on the prize.

Sign up for a Member ID on the Comic-Con website. You can get one any time. This number puts you in the system for now and forever and will help you stay up-to-date on crucial information like when badges will go on sale for this year’s event. There is a pre-registration period for past attendees, but the convention always saves some room for first-timers, too. Once you’ve attended your inaugural Comic-Con, you’ll be eligible to pre-register along with other returning attendees next year – which is an even better reason to make this a tradition.

Child badges are sold for kids aged 13-17, who must have their own individual Member ID numbers; kids 12 and under don’t need a Member ID and receive a free badge when you pick yours up at the Attendee Registration desk. The earlier you start attending, the more times you can make this a two-for-one experience.

Book your hotel or AirBnb as soon as you purchase your badges so that you’re sure to have space. Plan to arrive at least a night before the convention starts because the city will be packed. Pre-registered attendees and VIPs have access on the night before Comic-Con opens, when a special “industry preview” opens the event. Even if you can’t get in, you might still be able to spot some heroes outside the convention hall.

What Not to Wear

Plainclothes are boring! Get into the spirit of geeky, over-the-top fan-dom by dressing as your favorite character. Comic-Con’s newfound popularity has meant that the event now stretches its genre boundaries much further so there are plenty of costume options.

Anime, manga, horror, fantasy, and even collectible card games find their crowd all over the convention hall and throughout San Diego thanks to the costumed masses. Go all out and participate in the masquerade contest, where attendees get to vote on the best costumes.

Encourage your child to express freely and go wild. Take the opportunity to watch, read, or look at a few installments of your child’s favorite ‘Con heros together for maximum fun and togetherness. You may even find a new favorite book or movie

What’s Fun to Do

Once you get the event lineup for the year’s convention, it’s time to go wild! Speaker Series bring the creators, actors, and artists to the stage for live talks. Bring your burning question to the Q&A sessions. Wander around the convention hall for a chance to meet your heroes, collect some autographs, and discover the next best undiscovered discovery.

If your child is an aspiring artist or writer, you might want to take advantage of the portfolio review sessions, which you can sign up for before the event. Comic book publishers, movie studio execs, and video game makers will take time to look at amateur work and give an honest critique. If your child has thick enough skin, it could be a great way to get some much-needed feedback – or a reality check.

If you’re desperate to connect with like-minded fans, devotees or Trekkies, the fan tables are the place to spend your time. Sometimes fans bring actors’ autographs or have events and discussions for all fans to participate in.

Why Go

If there’s anyone who loves to see adults look silly, it’s definitely kids. As an event that’s geared towards the geekier side of adults, this will be both an immersive and eye-opening pop culture experience for you and your little one from the next generation (no Star Trek pun intended!).

Will you check out Comic-Con with the kids this year? What are some of your city’s fun events perfect for bonding with the family? Share with us!

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