Spooky Empire is dedicated to the safety and security of ALL attendees. In light of recent events, we have chosen to tighten security around the event and have recently updated many of the rules. This is done to protect our attendees and make sure that everyone may enjoy the convention without concern. Use common sense and remember what seems harmless to you may appear like a threat to someone else. All attendees must adhere to Florida State Law at all times during the weekend of Spooky Empire, including laws regarding firearms and weapons. If it is illegal outside of the convention, it is illegal inside the convention.
ZERO TOLERANCE FOR WEAPONS. You may not carry or possess any item considered an illegal weapon, openly or concealed at any time at or around the convention space, including the surrounding parking lots. As well, no firearms, antique firearms, or any forms of ammunition are allowed. Even items that may be legal for you to own or carry are not welcome and are to be left at home. Props may be used for costumes, however, a “prop” is something that you carry around as part of your costume in your hands or on your person that fall under certain terms, rules and exceptions outlined below. We use the term “weapon” to describe any prop that is viewed as related to combat or violence regardless of how you may be acting.
Prop weapons are homemade or commercially rendered costume prop weapons that support the overall look of a costume or character, including futuristic prop weapons made to look like phasers, ray guns, light sabers, etc… Removing or tampering with the peace bonding is a violation of the Weapons Policy and will result in immediate expulsion from Spooky Empire. Any approved prop weapon may be revoked at any time at the discretion of Spooky Empire staff or security, for reasons including, but not limited to, the item being utilized or brandished in an inappropriate fashion or if complaints are received regarding its improper display.
Prop weapons are to be displayed only as costume pieces and are not allowed to be swung, jabbed, brandished, and utilized in a threatening manner, thrust, or actively used on the convention grounds or in the surrounding parking lots. Doing so can injure others, create unsafe situations and possibly injure others. You may pose with a Prop Weapon in a brandishing manner, so long as no reasonable person would interpret the posed brandishing as anything but a pose for dramatic effect. Such posed brandishing may be stopped at the sole and absolute discretion of Spooky Empire security or staff members.
BOWS/CROSSBOWS: Bows and crossbows will only be permitted if they’re absolutely prop in nature – no tension on the string beyond what it takes to keep it straight, and arrows should not have any form of tip. You are NOT permitted to bring arrows with metal tips into the event under ANY circumstances.
BATS: Wooden and Metal Bats are permitted as props, but may not be swung around or used in a threatening manner. If you brandish your bat in a threatening manner, you will be removed from the premises.
BLADED WEAPONS: Swords, knives and other bladed weapons are allowed, BUT MUST BE PEACE BONDED at ALL TIMES. If you brandish a bladed weapon in a threatening manner, you will be removed from the premises. No brandishing or swinging of bladed weapons allowed at the show. NO EXCEPTIONS!!! If you remove the peace bonding of a bladed weapon, you will be kicked out of the convention, with no refund issued. If you use a bladed weapon, or any weapon for that matter, in a threatening manner, the local authorities will be called and you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
BOKKEN / WOODEN WEAPONS: These may be used as props. There is to be NO real or mock fighting on or near the premises. Not inside the convention center, not in the parking lot, not in the hotel… nowhere near the convention center. Violation of this rule will be cause for expulsion from the event.
SPRAY CANS: No spray cans are permitted as a part of a costume for any reason. No spraying from an can will be permitted at the convention. If you use a spray for a costume, you must use the spray outside of the convention. If you are caught spraying in the convention center you will absolutely be evicted from the premises, and the police may be brought in to handle any vandalism.
GUNS: NO REAL GUNS may be used as props at Spooky Empire regardless of being unloaded, stripped down, barrel filled, or any other precaution that could be taken. Prop or toy firearms, such as Airsoft and BB guns, NERF guns, etc…, will be permitted under the following circumstances and regulations:
(1) All “prop” guns MUST have an orange tip at the end of the barrel, and be easily identified as such from a distance.
(2) These “prop” guns must be unloaded, with NO AMMUNITION in them under any circumstances.
(3) ALL “PROP” GUNS MUST BE TAGGED. You must make sure ALL prop guns are unloaded of any ammunition, as well as zip tie the trigger so that the prop or toy gun is incapable of firing. If at any time you are caught with a prop or toy firearm not meeting any of these requirements, you may be ejected from the show. WE HAVE ZERO TOLERANCE FOR DISOBEYING THE RULES!
(4) Plastic prop or toy firearms are preferred. Metal or wooden prop or toy firearms will receive more scrutiny from security and staff throughout the weekend.
(5) Spooky Empire maintains a ZERO TOLERANCE policy on discharging a projectile, even from an approved prop or weapon. Water pistols, NERF gun, airsoft, it does not matter, discharge it, and you will be removed from the show. These rules apply to any prop or toy firearms purchased in the dealer’s room. There will be police at the convention, so please act accordingly.
All prop weapons must be peace bonded before entering the convention.
Spooky Empire reserves the right to refuse entry of any prop/weapon it deems unfit for any reason. Any misuse of a prop/weapon (horseplay, dueling, fighting, running/swinging, firing, etc.) is grounds for removal and or ejection from convention premises without recourse, up to and including legal action depending on the severity of the offense. Remember – your attitude goes a long way with how each and every situation is handled.
Cardboard, paper mache, resin, fiberglass, wood and plastic weapons are preferred. We ask that ALL PROPS be constructed of light and flexible materials, and as little wood and metal as possible. As stated before, any “prop” may be considered a “weapon” in a certain situation, at the discretion of the staff. Props and weapons that are constructed of the preferred materials will certainly receive less hassle at Weapons Check and throughout the weekend by security and staff.
EXEMPTIONS: During costume competitions and photo opportunities, CERTAIN policies will be given more leeway regarding costumes, props, and weapons. While posing at photo booths (not in the hallways or aisles) for a picture, you may temporarily brandish your prop for the pose. As well, you may pose with your prop during costume competitions on stage. This does not apply to weapons and props that have not been approved at Weapons Check. Safety, Public Exposure, Questionable Material, Signs/Banners, and any other Weapon/Prop policies must be adhered to even during photo ops.
PURCHASED PROPS AND WEAPONS: If you purchase a weapon or prop from the Vendors Room that does not comply with the Spooky Empire Weapons/Prop policy, you must either leave it boxed and taped or take it to your room or vehicle.
PLEASE NOTE that if you violate any of the above rules your weapon or prop WILL be confiscated or you WILL be removed from the convention. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS! If you are asked by a member of Spooky Empire security or staff, you are required to comply with their requests or risk removal from the convention. These decisions are based on the discretion of the staff member you are dealing with at that exact moment. Do not attempt to skirt the rules. Do not attempt to play games with security or staff. Use common sense. If you cannot abide by the rules, please stay home. We will not endanger or put any of our attendees at risk because you want to have a more authentic costume.
Spooky Empire reserves the right to amend or change these rules at anytime for any reason to provide for the safety, security and general well being of attendees and the general public.