Horrorhound Weekend is upon us once again! We here at Bloody Good Horror are now somewhat veterans at the convention going experience but for many of you, it may be your first time venturing out into the world of fandom.
The experience can be overwhelming at first, so I felt it necessary to provide you some tips on how to prepare your survival kit to help ensure you have a great time. Follow these guidelines and at the end of the day you can rest peacefully just like Mark up above! With my tips for packing your Survival Kit, you will be prepared to conquer most situations that may crop up.
With that said, be sure to look for us at the Bloody Good Picture table as we will be there in full force for the entire weekend. I can't say for sure, but I would bet there's a strong chance you may find us at the bar afterwards as well. I speak for all of us when I say we look forward to seeing and meeting everybody!
The backpack is quite possibly the most important component to your convention going toolkit. It is essential for carrying around the rest of the survival kit, as well as packing away the mountains of shwag and collectibles you are bound to be picking up throughout your weekend. Some may even consider it stylish! Regardless, you'll grow tired in a hurry of schlepping about your "Evil Dead The Musical" bootleg discs without something to stash them in. You'd look a bit silly trying to carry the rest of this around in your pants pockets as well!
Yet another key component to the con-going survivalist, Beer is required for many reasons. Most importantly, if you choose the right beer, it will serve as nourishment throughout the day. With the show floor only being open for so many hours, you may be hard pressed to escape for a quick bite. Packed with hops, wheat, barley and other natural sounding ingredients, a good beer or five may be the deciding factor that keeps you from taking a bite of that meaty looking fellow in front of you in the Corey Haim line.
While relying on beer for breakfast, it is only natural that with it comes the dreaded cotton mouth. Nobody wants to spend the day in a crowded convention hall feeling like you've had your room mates socks stuffed in your gullet to stifle your snoring. (Trust me on this.) As well, the hall is packed to the gills with fellow horror nerds and we're a decidedly heat producing bunch. When your beer supply runs short from poor planning, a nice bottle of water will rehydrate you and make you feel fresh again in a matter of moments. It will also serve well when you realize you waited to long to book a hotel room and you wish to freshen up after a night of sleeping in your car.
I'm not pointing fingers or anything, but many of us will tend to forget to pack personal hygiene effects in our excitement to get there. You'll also be spending a lot of face time with strangers from across the midwest as you are packed shoulder to shoulder in line for autographs or overpriced lunch time hoagies. A breath mint will keep you from being offensive, as well as it makes a harmless approach to warding off others around you that didn't come so prepared! With a simple 'Hey, would you like a mint?' you will simultaneously manage to rid yourself of an unpleasant experience, all while making a new friend because you're so generous!
Cash money. Dinero. Bones. Moolah. You will become overwhelmed by the amount of rare collectibles in attendance at Horrorhound Weekend and you will need cash to procure them. It will also come in handy for things such as autographs from your favorite celebrities, lunch and the occasional drink if you happen to have run through your stock. With banks making sure to rape you with their own special mixture of KY Jelly, Tabasco Sauce and Sand when you use the on hand ATM machines at the hotel, you'll thank me when if you come set and ready to rumble when you hit the show floor! That is unless you're a fan of that KY/Tabasco/Sand mixture.
Food is expensive at any convention for one simple reason, you're a captive audience. It never hurts to pack your own food in the case you need that mid-day munchie to get you over the hump. Let's not forget either that you will be in a strange town with thousands of fellow convention goers. It's easy to become lost and separated from your group. Should you find yourself suddenly in the middle of a nearby Mary Kay convention with no clue on how to return, there will be no need to fear starving to death as you make your way back to proper civilization.
With thousands of people packed shoulder to shoulder in a small banquet room, it gets warm in a hurry. When people get warm, they get sweaty. When they get sweaty, they get stinky. It will do everyone a favor if we all fight this communal problem and take steps to make ourselves far less offensive! No one wants to stand in line behind someone who smells of sweat socks, cheetos and stale beer. (Don't worry, I will have my deoderant on hand this time.)
You've traveled to Indiana to meet some of your favorite horror celebrities. Don't be a nincompoop, bring a camera to capture the moment! Most celebs are generally happy to take a quick snapshot with you if you are paying for their autograph. It's fun, gives you a keepsake and something to show your friends. Besides this basic factor, when the show floor closes down for the night, most tend to head to the bar. Somebody is going to make an ass of themselves, and you want to be prepared to capture the moment for eternity. Serving well for future laughs, blackmail and any number of things, digital cameras are small and cheap these days; be sure to bring yours.
It's common practice for out of town convention goers to combine their room rentals with friends to cut costs. This is always a good practice, especially in today's economy. However, you may not know these friends as well as you think. One of them could be a snoring jackass that sounds like a large bear getting friendly with a chainsaw as the wee hours approach. It is near impossible to enjoy a day packed into a hotel with thousands of strangers on little to no sleep. Ear plugs will help to assure you get the rest you need as well as block out the sounds of the jackasses in your room who are getting ready to assault you with a sharpie after you pass out.
I'll be frank; coffee is for chumps. Three days of heavy drinking, standing in line and other such debauchery is hard work. You're going to need the drive to get through the day. Energy drinks will help you through. Typically hotels tend to mark up said drinks in their in house convenience setting, so bring your own. You'll save that hard earned cash for that Edward Cullen Barbie you've been eyeballing and feel refreshed while you buy it.
Horror conventions tend to draw a myriad of fashion styles and tribal markings. You may find it overwhelming as you try to classify the groups as you make your way through. With a simple black eyeliner pencil, you will be able to make yourself blend in with any number of groups should you find yourself separated from your own tribe. With a simple eyeliner application you can mix in unnoticed with the "Twilight" fangirls, with a smear of the black line you instantly transform into a certifiable goth kid. Applied with some simple art skills you can create your own temporary tattoos, blacked out teeth, or wrinkles to help you score a ride back to the hotel with the grandma and grampa that felt sorry for you sobbing in the gas station on the far side of town.
For you germophobes out there, you're going to shake hands with a lot of people. A lot of large sweaty people who you have no idea where they've been. It can be icky to think of the microbiotic onslaught that occurs every time you press the flesh. Be prepared. You'll smell pretty too!
Every party scene has a drunk asshole that has lost his light and is patrolling the area looking for one to bum. If you travel with your own lighter in your pocket, you are set to be somebody's hero. For you shy folk, this gives you an instant in to become approachable as you stand to the side holding up that wall in case it falls over! As well, if you waited to long to book your hotel room and find yourself sleeping in the car, it makes it easy to build a fire from the stack of handouts for z-grade movies you were given as you entered.
Horrorhound is well known for being a source of free movie posters. There are tons and some are quite great. It is natural to want to keep these posters in good condition so that you can display them in all their glory when you reach home; a poster tube is the answer. A poster just doesn't look good after you have shoved it into your suitcase, the tube will protect it. The poster tube also serves a double purpose. Should you happen to find yourself in front of the "Twilight Fan Club" table when they crack open a fresh case of DVD's, the poster tube could be the weapon that saves you from a life or death situation.
Sharpies are marvelous inventions for all of your permanent marking needs. Should you need to leave yourself a trail to find your way back to your hotel room, the Sharpie has you covered. If you run into Tom Savini in the bathroom and want him to sign the roll of toilet paper you just stole from stall #2, you're all set. If you happened to forget to pack your black eyeliner, a Sharpie will also serve in a pinch for any last second makeup needs.
Finally, quite possibly the most important item to pack in your kit; the towel. You are going to get sweaty. You are going to get something spilled on you. There's a high chance you will puke at some point in the weekend. The towel will be the key factor in you remaining comfortable for the duration. Folded up properly, it will also serve well as a seat cushion for sitting upon the ground when you hit hour seven of camping out for the doors to open. It will even work as a pillow! So be smart; pack a towel.
See you there!