The Pros and Cons of Bringing Your Kid to a Con

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The welcome packet at Dragon*ConThe welcome packet at Dragon*Con

The welcome packet at Dragon*Con

Michael and I were brimming with excitement on the drive to Dragon*Con, and for the first time in a year we were child-free. Of course, once we got there, we couldn’t stop talking about our kid and couldn’t help but notice just how many children there were running around the con. Kids in costume, kids on leashes, kids running amok, kids behaving politely, kids not even old enough to care.

It led us to thinking: there seem to be quite a few pros on cons on each side of the argument (cons, get it?). Should people bring their kids to conventions? Here’s a few thoughts we put together:

Why You Shouldn’t Bring Your Kid to Dragon*Con:

  1. Are you comfortable explaining BDSM to your child? Yeah, just think about it.
  2. Crowds, germs; germs, crowds. Con crud is pretty much guaranteed, and recuperating after a con is hard enough without a sick kid.
  3. Loud hotel rooms. With all the drunken revelry going on any given night, it’s hard to get sleep. But add a child into the mix who keeps you up, asking what every noise is, and then consider what they’ll be like the next few days without sleep… yeah, not exactly bliss.
  4. Lines. And standing. And Lines. And long panels stuffed with thousands of people. I heard tell of one child who chattered through an entire Babylon 5 panel this year so loudly that it actually irritated the panelists to the point that they said something. Ouch.
  5. The late-night schedule. While there are plenty of cool things to do in the afternoon at Dragon*Con (seriously, who wakes up before 10?) things really get awesome in the evening. But if you’ve got a kid, it’s unlikely that you’ll manage much of it. Unless you bring your kid with you… and that’s probably not a good idea.

Why You Should Bring Your Kid to a Dragon*Con:

  1. It’s a pastiche of geekery of every kind. You can teach your young Jedi in the ways of the Geek by just pointing around the room.
  2. Never a dull moment. Whether your kids are into robotics or games, fan tracks or literature, there is literally always something happening.
  3. You can get in with certain celebrities. If your kid is cute, you may be able to get a picture with your favorite actor or comic writer holding the kid. If they’re not cute, well, you can always dress them as Yoda and get attention that way.
  4. A lesson in diversity. Dragon*Con isn’t just for geeks. It seems to attract a wide variety of, well, let’s just say unique people. Kids love costumes and excitement. And of course, there’s the parade. And what kid doesn’t love parades?
  5. Cool stuff everywhere. Toys, games, costumes. That’s kid heaven, really.

So what do you think? Would you take your kid to Dragon*Con?

More Dragon*Con to come, including the saga of me not managing an interview with Felica Day (but trying hard), an upcoming interview with author Cherie Priest, tales of late-night geek gatherings, some Battlestar Galactica contemplations, and thoughts on the future of steampunk.

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