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Your SoCal Guide to Cosplay and Costume Events

San Diego Comic-Con may have come and gone, but there are plenty of other Southern California cosplay events. As a Halloween retailer in the Los Angeles area, we’re no stranger to last-minute shoppers on their way to a cosplay event or costume party, so naturally, we know about almost all the local costume events! Today, we want to share with you some of the biggest annual cosplay events and costume parties in the area to help you get in the know!

LB Carnevale
Source: LongBeachCarnevale.com

Long Beach Carnavale

This Venetian-inspired celebration of Fat Tuesday celebrates the artistry and mystery of masquerade. Every year, visitors head to Downtown Long Beach to show off their elaborate costumes or just to take in the sights for a unique experience that takes you to another world. Those dressed in costume don traditional Venetian masks and outfits and parade around in style and if you want to experience it for yourself, this event typically occurs in the month of February and is free to the public.

San Diego Mardi Gras

San Diego’s Gaslamp Districts gets a New Orleans makeover during its annual Mardi Gras celebration. This massive block party features performers, parades, music, and so much more. If you’re looking for the ultimate Mardi Gras experience in Southern California, you can always count on this event!

LBCE_13
Long Beach Comic Expo

 

Long Beach Comic Expo

This fun convention is a smaller event, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for with a strong community. From cosplayers to collectors, there are plenty of folks who travel to partake in the geekery of it all. One of the more interesting things are the small panels which feature anything from popular cosplayers to indie artists and so much more. This event usually takes place sometime in February to early March and is a fairly affordable convention for comic book and pop culture fans.

ShamROCK

Americans love any reason to drink and party and the same goes for residents of San Diego. Every year they host a huge St. Patrick’s Day block party to celebrate the Irish. They convert the Downtown area into a 150-foot Irish Pub where people can rock out to Irish bands and Celtic music while enjoying a drink or two with friends. Don’t forget to wear green for good luck!

WonderCon

Brought to you by the same folks at San Diego Comic-Con, WonderCon is an annual event that happens usually in April. This show brings out all the top artists and writers in the industry and has grown so popular over the years that they are now searching for a larger venue for next year’s event.

SoCal Renaissance Pleasure Faire
SoCal Renaissance Pleasure Faire

Renaissance Pleasure Faire

This long-standing Southern California tradition has been around for more than 50 years! The fair recreates an Elizabethan village and comes complete with actors, performers, food, and games for the whole family. During their open season which is usually April through May, they bring in thousands of visitors dressed in array of genres from swashbuckling pirates to Renaissance peasants to fascinating fairies and so much more. This is a great event for those who love the enchantment and lore of the olden days.

Long Beach Pirate Festival

You can have some summer fun at the beach with pirate or mermaid costumes at the Long Beach Pirate Festival. Held at the Belmont Pier, this whimsical event features pirate actors, musicians, vendors, and a whole lot more. This is a free event to the public and children are encouraged to attend.

Anime Expo

If you love Japanese animation and manga, this convention is for you! Meet some of your favorite artists and voice actors and mingle with fellow cosplayers at this exciting event. Held annually in Los Angeles during the month of July, this event has been around since 1992 and continues to grow bigger each and every year.

San Diego Comic-Con

Southern California’s biggest comic book convention, the San Diego Comic-Con is your ticket to exclusive screenings, trailer previews, and celebrity encounters. Big Hollywood stars have been known to stroll down the halls of the convention floors including Bryan Cranston, Daniel Radcliffe, and Peter Jackson. On top of that, top entertaining companies flock to this convention to reveal exciting news about their upcoming projects. For those who are in to collecting, Comic-Con sells tons of exclusive merchandise that you can only find on the floor. If that’s not enough for you, cosplayers who are looking for an opportunity in the spotlight will certainly have a chance at this convention. It gets tons of media coverage and lots of cosplayers end up going viral over their incredible costume creations! This event is usually scheduled during July or August so you can get your geek on and have a summer beach vacation at the same time!

Labyrinth Masquerade Ball

For people who enjoy fantasy, this masquerade event is a real treat! This Los Angeles costume event will be hosting its 18th celebration by bringing a unique experience to life through visual arts, performances, and music. Folks come from far and wide to revel in the wonder of it all dressed in some of the most intricate and amazing costumes from mystical fairies to steampunk travelers. This event is also held during the summer and is highly recommended even among Yelpers!

HARD Summer

If you’re into the EDM scene, this event is one of the largest in Southern California. Though most SoCal residents don’t mind driving out to EDC in Las Vegas each summer, this event is just a 30 minute drive away versus a 3-hour drive away. Raves aren’t your typical cosplay events, but lots of people come dressed in costume anyway. It’s one of the few places where you can express yourself in any way that you dream while partying to dance-y tunes.

Long Beach Comic-Con

The folks of the Long Beach Comic Expo actually host two events each year and the LBCC is an event that they put together in the later part of the year. Similar to the Comic Expo, this event celebrates the comic book creators from artists to authors and others who put their hard work into making your favorite characters come to life. This year’s show will be a two-day event in the month of September and tickets are on sale now.

Oktoberfest at Alpine Village

The Alpine Village in Torrance is almost synonymous with Oktoberfest for SoCal residents. This little German-themed village is opened year-round and houses several bakeries, markets, and restaurants. They’re known to host events all year round including beer tastings, live musical performances, and themed nights. However, when it comes to Oktoberfest, they really pull out all the stops. If you’re in the SoCal area and want to party in some lederhosen, you can always count on the Alpine Village to have a great time.

Comikaze 2014_2
Comikaze 2014

Stan Lee Comikaze

Hosted by one of the biggest names in the comic book industry Comikaze is a vibrant convention that is quickly becoming a fan favorite. Here you’ll get to meet plenty of artists and creators, sci-fi celebrities, popular cosplayers, and the man himself, Stan Lee. Also, since they usually schedule the event during the last weekend of October, they’ve got some fun trick-or-treating events for kids! Weekend passes are on sale now with a special early bird discount so if you want to join the fun and save some money, now’s the time to get your tickets.

West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval

When it comes to Halloween, nobody does it better than West Hollywood. This wild and raucous street party is enjoyed by anyone who dares traverse through crowds of thousands to get to the center of the action. It’s known for its Carnaval-esque celebration where there are basically no rules, (though certain behavior could probably get you arrested). It’s a come one come all event and everyone is invited.

San Diego Monster Bash

This annual Halloween block party brings out all the ghouls and goblins. Every year, Halloween revelers come to celebrate in Downtown San Diego with music, dancing, drinks, and of course, costumes! If you’re looking for a great Halloween party in the San Diego area, it doesn’t get any better than this. Note that this event is 21 and over, so keep the kids at home!

White Wonderland

Masquerade events are pretty popular during the holidays, but there is no bigger New Year’s masquerade party than White Wonderland. Organized by the same group responsible for EDC, this massive New Year’s Eve rave is the biggest in SoCal. Attendees come dressed in white from fancy suits and party dresses to unique costumes and masks. This annual event is one that many rave-lovers look forward to every year.

This is just a short list of some of the exciting costume events in the area and if you’re looking to have more fun in costumes, you won’t want to miss these annual celebrations. Have you attended any of these events in the past? If so, tell us about your experience by leaving us a comment!

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