Texas Frightmare Weekend 2018 (TFW) was my first out of state horror convention. Traveling from Seattle, Washington, I didn’t know what to expect flying into Dallas. I didn’t anticipate that it would be one of the most fun experiences to date either.
I met the original Cenobite actors from Hellraiser as well as Clive Barker. I made new connections; some I even call friends. TFW also introduced me to a whole new world of horror businesses. Needless to say, I happily threw my money at them. I can’t say my wallet and PayPal account were as happy, but I flew back to Seattle with a smile on my face and memories to power me through until this year’s TFW.
Despite that, curveballs were with the trip and the convention.
When I first arrived and we needed to redeem our passes, I made the mistake of not having my confirmation pulled up and the service connection on the main convention floor was unreliable.
Keeping that in mind, I wondered how can we help others avoid issues to make the trip more enjoyable?
I took to the official Texas Frightmare Weekend Group on Facebook to seek out pro-tips from seasoned TFW adventurers. Of course, they had exceptional advice to provide. I’ve taken the liberty of breaking them up into different sections for your reference.
- Staying Alive
- TFW Staff
- Lodging & Transportation
These tips may be elementary, but oh how easily we do forget! You don’t want to tap yourself out on day one, so keep these tips in mind.
- “ALLOW YOURSELF TIME TO REST. There’s so much to see and do that most people arrive and go HARD until the wee hours of the night without properly eating, hydrating (with WATER not booze) and resting.” – Amanda R.
- “Comfortable shoes, room snacks, hangover meds, and lots of money.” – Lynn F.
- “Bring a travel sized ’emergency kit’ with band aids, aspirin, a small hand sanitizer etc. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked if I have a Tylenol handy.” – Amanda R.
- “Wear deodorant and then wear more deodorant. It can get pretty warm on Saturday. Drink lots of water (hotel will have free water stations setup). Carry some energy/protein bars or other easy and non-messy snacks. Wash your hands often.” – Stephen B.
- “A little battery operated FAN. It gets HOT.” – Dianna S.
- “Bring CASH. The ATMs WILL run out, so run by the bank, outside atm, or start squirreling away cash in advance. Cash is king everywhere. Most celebrities won’t even take cards.” – Dames G.
- If you have a favorite pair of stylish shoes, invest in added support for the insoles. – The Superghoul
- “Bring a binder to keep autographed pics safe in, and a poster tube if you plan on getting art prints.” – Scott H.
- “Don’t get so flustered that you leave your newly purchased autograph behind. Inevitably, a few people will forget their signed 8X10 (or set down a signed one from another guest) and walk away. We try to catch it when it happens, but sometimes it’s several minutes before it’s noticed, especially for the busier guests. There is a lost and found, but it’s best to just take an extra moment and make sure you are leaving the table with everything you brought to the guest’s table.” – Jonathan H.
- “If you see a celebrity ‘off duty’ try to be respectful and not pounce on them for free selfies, etc, especially if they’re obviously doing something like a bathroom break, meal, personal phone call, etc.” – Amanda R.
- “Do not set your personal items down on the pictures or things the celebrity has on the table. It’s rude and every celebrity I’ve ever sat with has complained about it.” – Allison T.
- “Prioritize your autograph list, in case lines are crazy long, especially if you’re not going to be at the event all weekend.” – Scott H.
- “Don’t ask the volunteers if you can get discounts for the several items you want signed by the celebrity. It isn’t our call. Find out in advance who their manager is, discuss with them, and have that manager inform us. Just because you know the manager’s name is not proof enough.” – Allison T.
- “Don’t stand in the aisles and take photos of other people meeting the guests! Rookie move.” – Dena R.
- Celebrities are people too. While you might be the hugging type like myself, it never hurts to get consent before giving hugs.
- “While some of us can/will take cards, cash is always always preferred. It’s a pain in the ass when on Saturday the WiFi gets spotty and I have to spend a good 5 minutes standing on a chair with my arm in the air like a maniac hitting refresh to try and get enough signal to get your payment thru.” – Dames G.
- “Stop and hi to the indie people.” – Joshua W.
- “DON’T LOSE THE MAP IT IS EVERYTHING.” – Dianna S.
- With how busy the show floor can be, be aware of the other attendees around you. They might be trying to get through or take a look at a certain area of a vendor’s table that you happen to be blocking.
- “Treat staff members with courtesy and respect.” – Amanda R. (Superghoul Side Note: This is a great point. It sounds simple enough, but I witnessed a couple attendees let their frustrations out on staff due to waiting time or other things out of their control.)
- “If you find yourself lost in the confusing wave of chaos, don’t be afraid to ask questions of volunteer staff. We’re happy to help as best we can. Red shirts, STAFF on the back. We are smarter than we look. We don’t all have all the answers, but we can get you to someone who does, if nothing else.” – Jonathan H.
LODGING & TRANSPORTATION
- “Tip the housekeeping staff daily if you use them. If you don’t use them daily, tip them on the last day.” – Stephen B.
- If you’re riding the complimentary Hyatt shuttle, give yourself at least 45 minutes if you’re on a schedule. That yields 15 minutes to navigate to the right area to be picked up, 15 minutes of ride time, and 30 minutes wiggle room just in case. You can also connect with a concierge for information to have a more precise idea of time frames for the shuttle.
- Information on Hyatt Regency parking, car rentals, and other transportation can be found on this page.
- If you have not booked a place to stay and options are little to none as far as DFW hotels go, Airbnb has a range of listings close by at affordable costs. You can start your search here.
- If you want to see if other attendees are giving up their rooms or selling/trading photo ops and tickets, check out the Learning tab when you join the official Facebook group.
- Cosplay does not equal consent.
- Bring battery packs in case you can’t get to one of the many outlets at the Hyatt Regency.
- If you’re traveling by air, pack a small suitcase inside of a large suitcase in case you need to take home newly purchased items.
Now that you have these pro-tips in your convention arsenal, go forth and live your best life! When you take photos and post on social media, be sure to tag Texas Frightmare Weekend’s pages and hashtag #TFW19. One of the best things about conventions is the solidarity experienced in the community. Relish in it!