Code of Conduct

To all our Rogues, Royals, and Renegades,

In an effort to build a better fan community for all costume/cosplay participants, enthusiasts, and fans, Costume-Con 40’s Code of Conduct has been crafted to foster a more inclusive, more open, safe, and strong fan community. Please read over these rules as well as our Anti-Harassment policy. Thank you, and stay creative!

The Costume-Con 40 Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment policies are an extension and refinement of the policies of The Greater Columbia Fantasy Costumers’ Guild, Inc., the 501 (c)3 non-profit educational organization which is sponsoring Costume-Con 40. These policies provide a source of information, and guidance to encourage safe and secure relationships between all attendees, hotel staff and members of the general public who may be at this conference. These polices are part of a living document that changes when refinement of current understanding occurs. Updates will be made to help fulfill our commitment to fostering an environment that is accessible and safe for all fans.

These policies apply to all Costume-Con 40 Attendees and includes: Membership holders, Committee Members, Staff volunteers, Tech, Vendors, Guests, and all others trading, exhibiting, or otherwise participating at all times during the planning and running of the conference. It is expected that those working for the conference venue, and working with the hotel will act, and be treated in line with the principles outlined in these policies.


How you can help us:


  • Read and follow the Code of Conduct/Anti-Harassment Policies
  • Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for clarification/help when bringing issues to the Staff/Committee’s attention. Contacts for the Committee are:
  • You can also send a private message to us on our Facebook page @ Costume-Con 40: Rogues, Royals, and Renegades.
  • Support other fans – if someone looks like they might need help, ask first or notify a Staff volunteer. A simple way to avoid issues is to check first before acting.
  • Remember – Attendees and Staff come from all different cultures, communities, and backgrounds. Misunderstandings can happen. Please be mindful of your actions and interactions, both at the conference and on our official social media.

Everyone involved with Costume-Con 40 is expected to be respectful towards fellow Attendees, venue staff, the general public, and the wide range of groups and communities that are part of the costuming/ cosplay fandom.

Costume-Con 40 is an event for all ages. Children are welcome and may be present at many of the events. In order to stay family friendly, please try to keep costumes and behavior PG-13 rated. More details about appropriate costumes and coverings can be found under the “Dress Code” section.


Anti-Harassment Policy


Costume-Con 40 is dedicated to providing a safe, harassment-free environment to all our Attendees, regardless of ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual identity or sexual orientation, neurodiversity, disability, physical ability or appearance, race, age, religion, or fandom/costuming preferences. This list is neither final nor exhaustive.

We will not tolerate harassment of conference Attendees, of any form. Behavior considered to be harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • Intimidation, stalking, or following
  • Unwelcome physical contact
  • Unwelcome sexual attention or contact
  • Comments intended to belittle, offend, or cause discomfort
  • Photographing or recording video of members without their consent
  • Treating cosplay/costumes as consent for contact or interaction – COSPLAY IS NOT CONSENT!
  • Sustained disruption of talks or other events.
  • Sexually graphic, racist, queer-phobic, or otherwise inappropriate images, displays, or behaviors in public spaces and conference events.
  • Race-facing (Black-face, red-face, etc…) and all depictions of negative racial stereotypes.
  • The use and displays of symbols of hate/intolerance in attempts to undermine the dignity and humanity of individuals or groups of people.
  • Advocating for, joining in, or otherwise encouraging any of the above behaviors.

Attendees are required to follow this code both in person and in online interactions on official conference spaces, including, but not limited to:

  • Emails from Costume-Con 40
  • Official Costume-Con 40 social media
  • All conference venues
  • All official conference related events/social activities

Any Attendees who are asked to stop any harassing behavior must comply immediately or face disciplinary actions.


 Weapons/Props Policy


Point of note – All costumes, props, armor, and weapons brought to Costume-Con 40 will be inspected for compliance by an official conference Staff member. Even if a costume/prop/weapon has been approved by other conventions, conferences, or events it still requires approval by Costume-Con 40.


  • No concealed carry of a functional firearm or other weapon is permitted at Costume-Con 40. No exceptions, even with a valid concealed carry permit.
  • No metal weapons will be permitted at the conference venue or official conference events, without exception. This includes:
    • Swords, spears, bayonets, and knives (regardless of whether they are sheathed and secured/peace-tied)
    • Star knives, shuriken, or any other martial arts weapons which may be sharp or capable of taking on an edge
    • Metal gun or firearms props (regardless of functionality)
    • Other props or costume components that maybe sharp, able to take on an edge, or are otherwise a potential safety risk
    • Metal armor (chain-maille, scale-maille, plate, etc…) is permitted, provided it has no sharp edges, and will not pose a safety hazard to Attendees and Staff.
  • No projectile weapons of any kind are permitted at the venue/hotel property. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Real or antique firearms (this includes replica or “demilled weapons)
    • Air rifles, air guns, air pistols, B-B guns, spring guns, blowguns, bow guns, sling shots, slings, atlatls, bean shooters, spear fishing guns, projectile or dart gun launchers of any type
    • In addition, Air-soft or similar type guns, regardless of functionality, are strictly prohibited. Non-functional Air-soft guns with no moving parts, are still Air-soft guns
    • Stun guns or tazers
    • Compound bows or real crossbows (functional or non-functional) are not permitted
  • Authentic arrows (tipped or non-tipped) including crossbow bolts or other archery projectiles will not be permitted at the event venue.
  • Exceptions to this rule are the following;
    • Traditional, simple bows may be permitted provided they are not strung with bowstring material, and any substitute bowstring material used (yarn, string, chain, etc…) is not attached in a functional manner.
    • Simulated arrows in quivers that are non-functional, non-removable props.
  • No explosives, chemicals, traps (real or simulated), caltrops, or glitter / confetti cannons/guns allowed.
  • No nunchaku or similar style weapons joined with chains (metal or plastic) are permitted
  • The ONLY exceptions to these policies are:
    • Non-functional Nerf (or similar type) or water guns, this being defined as guns that cannot fire projectiles, contain no liquid). They also must have a non-removable orange safety tip.
  • Functional weapons will be removed from the event space, and violators will face receive the following disciplinary actions:
    • A warning from Staff, up to and including
    • Loss of membership privileges and/or removal from the conference without refund of membership fees.
  • Permitted Props and Weapons:
    • Staves, bo-sticks, boken, wooden practice swords and shields, shinai, and any martial arts weapons that are unable to take on an edge or point, provided that the items are handled responsibly and do not pose a safety hazard.
    • Plastic, cast resin, or solid rubber model guns (ex. red/blue training weapons) that are one solid piece, with no moving parts and are easily identifiable as toys/props. They must also have a non-removable orange safety tip.
    • Fake, prop, or made up weapons and armor (i.e., made of tissue paper, foam, plaster or Paris, cloth, cardboard, thermal-plastic, or any other non-toxic/ non-hazardous material) will be permitted, provided they are safe, handled appropriately, and do not pose a hazard to you or others around you.
      • Examples of potential hazards include, but no limited to:
        • Items that may trip others
        • Items that can snag people or surroundings
        • Items that can obstruct hallways, doorways, or stairs making it difficult to navigate
      • Props (weapons or otherwise) for hall costumes shall be limited to less than 6 ft. 6 in. in height, and less than 4 ft. in total width/diameter. Props should not exceed 50 lbs in weight. In Dungeons and Dragons terms, you need to be able to fit comfortably in a 5 foot square.
        • Props for Masquerades or other non-hallway costumes may exceed these limits with the expressed permission of the Masquerade Director or Staff who are coordinating the event.
          • Any props exceeding these limits that are approved, may only be used for that event or exhibit and official photography, but are not permitted to be used a part of a hall costume outside of the specific event.
        • Any chains, regardless of material, functionality, or use may not exceeding 3 ft of continuous length. This includes, but is not limited to chain wallets, and non – costume chains.
      • Point of Note: If it is illegal in the State of Maryland, Prince Georges’ County, or the City of Bethesda, it is illegal at Costume-Con 40. If necessary, any violations will be reported to the appropriate authorities.
      • In addition, the North Bethesda Marriott Hotel and Convention Center reserves the right to voice concerns / restrict outfits, props, and weapons it views as a hazard to its staff, property, and non-conference guests


Dress Code


While we respect and appreciate all forms of costuming, cosplay, and fiber arts, Costume-Con is an all ages event. In the interest of being family friendly there are a few dress code policies we need to make –

    • All Attendees must have their private areas covered in public at all times.
      • Outfits must extend in at least 1 inch diameter around the nipple (this is for everyone, not just women), and at least 1 inch below and to the sides of the breasts.
      • Outfits must cover at least 1 inch above the pubic area and at least 1 inch below the crotch and buttocks
      • Coverage must remain in place while moving, bending over, posing, etc… If your outfit (cosplay, costume, or street clothes) rides up or down, please extend it, find a way to secure it, or wear something underneath it (skin tone bodysuits or other similar garments okay and encouraged). If you need help, please find a staff member, and we will use our cosplay/ costume rescue resources to help you.
      • Tape over nipples or pasties will not suffice
      • Capes or similar garments will not be accepted in place of actual covering. If you are wearing one you need to wear a top (skin tone/ painted to look real is fine).
    • No outfits adorned with or displaying racist, anti-Semitic, white supremacist, or any other hate signs or symbols will be permitted on hall costumes or exhibits. If your outfit has any signs or symbols of this type you will be ask to either remove if from your outfit, take off the garment if the symbol is non-removable, or Staff will help satisfactorily cover it up. We do understand that mistakes or misunderstanding do happen. But if after it has been requested that a hate sign or symbol be removed, and the person fails to comply or puts it back on after being notified, Costume-Con 40 will take the necessary disciplinary actions.
      • Point of note for our historical costumers/ cosplayers: We understand and acknowledge the situation that this creates for some of you. For displays that are for historical panels or compositions, we will handle on a case by case basis.
    • Footwear must be worn at all times in the conference venue.
      • Open-toed and clear/invisible sole coverings are allowed. However, wearers of this style of footwear do so at their own risk and assume all responsibility for any accidents or injuries that may result from the wearing of such footwear.
      • All footwear at a minimum must cover the soles of the foot from 1/8 of an inch from behind the back of the heel to a 1/8 of an inch in front of the toes.
      • All footwear must stay on securely when performing normal tasks (walking, going up and down stairs, standing, sitting down, etc…). Footwear that fails this requirement must be changed for acceptable footwear.


Reporting Incidents


Before Costume-Con 40:

You can report harassment or other Code of Conduct violations by email to:;; or

This addresses will be continually monitored prior to, during, and after Costume-Con 40.

At Costume-Con 40:

If someone harasses you or has breached the Code of Conduct, or if you have witnessed, become aware of harassment or Code of Conduct breaches, if you feel comfortable and it is safe to do so, ask the person(s) to stop. Also to aid us in identifying patterns of behavior, possible repeat offenders, and any conduct that may present a danger to fellow attendees, we ask that you report the situation(s) to the con-staff as outlined below:

1) If you do not want or feel safe speaking to the person(s) directly, or if you engage with the person(s) involved and the behavior does not stop or escalates, please report the issue(s) to con-staff or security immediately, especially if the situation begins to escalate.

Staff and Security will be easily identifiable badges that say “Staff” or “Security”. If you cannot easily find a staff member or security, go directly to the Registration/Info desk on the ground floor of the conference center or to Con-Ops. From there, a staff member will be able to take your report.

2 ) When taking an in-person report, con-staff will first make sure that you and any witnesses that may be with you are safe and cannot be overheard. They or you may request additional staff or security to be present to ensure that reports are managed properly. Once you are safe, we will ask you to describe to the best of your ability what happened, who was involved, and what actions you would like us to take in response. We understand that this is may be a stressful and upsetting situation, but our staff will do everything we can to respect, support, and help you. If you need another person, or wish to be moved to a safe location, we will make every reasonable effort to accommodate you. Your safety and well-being are our first priority.

Whether you submit a report by email or in person, our staff will respond as quickly as possible, and proceed at their discretion, based on the content, context, and desired outcome expressed in your report. No matter how you chose to report an issue, you will not be asked to confront anyone, and we will take all reasonable and legal actions to protect your identity in regards to reporting and potential retaliation by effected parties. We will keep you advised of actions taken to handle the issue, any decisions made, and whether there may be any additional actions required by you. Details of any complaints, whether by email or in person, will only be disclosed to the staff handling that specific incident. All complaints/reports will be brought up to the Con-Chair and Vice-Chair, unless they involved/implicated in an incident, so that they can be aware of the situation. We will take into account any concerns that you may have in the handling and outcome of any incidents.

We ask that you understand, if an incident is one that may be a criminal matter, or there is the perception that you, other attendees, or staff may be in danger, then we reserve the option of contacting local law enforcement to address the incident. We will inform you if we make the decision to contact law enforcement, and respect your decisions on interacting with them and your legal rights in this matter.

Our staff will also assist you if you wish to take further actions (ex. contact hotel staff/security, or local law enforcement) in order to help you feel safe before, during, and after Costume-Con 40. One of our main goals is for everyone to know that they are safe, valued, and a welcomed part of our diverse costuming cosplay community.

As a paid, membership based event, Costume-Con reserves the right to take the necessary actions needed to keep our event a safe, welcoming environment for all our attendees, staff, and members of the general public. Actions taken may include, but are not limited to:

-warning issued to offending parties, with a reminding about the Code of Conduct

-mediation (if requested) between parties

-any other appropriate actions up to, and including being banned/removed from panels, workshops, and special events, and expulsion/banning with no refund from the conference.

In addition, depending on the nature of the incident or situation, offending person(s)/parties may additionally be banned from participating in future events held by The Greater Columbia Fantasy Costumers’ Guild, Inc., the sponsoring 501 (c) 3 non-profit of Costume-Con 40.


Costume-Con 40 would like to give credit and thanks to: Dublin World Con, Geek Feminism, and Maryland Non-Profits, and all our awesome volunteers who laid the groundwork and helped us with the drafting of this Code of Conduct.