How To Do a Convention on a Budget

We first published the below advice about nine months ago. we thought we’d put out a re-do with two Twilight Conventions happening this weekend: one in Salt Lake City and one in Chicago. There is also a special promotion going on in Salt Lake where day passes are down to $10.00.

Over the last several weeks, we’ve had a bunch of people write in and ask, “Is it possible to do a convention on a budget?” The answer is yes. We’ll show you how below. You can always upgrade (or for that matter downgrade) from our suggestion below. For the sake of our example, we are using the Creation Entertainment Official Twilight Convention, but most other convention companies have very similar plans, just read the fine print.

So figuring that a trip to the movies costs roughly $10.00 for the ticket and another $5.00 or so for your popcorn and soda combo. There is actually a way to get a day’s entertainment for about $10.00 more than your standard trip to the movies.

If you go to the convention on a Saturday or Sunday on a general admission day pass, you usually end up seeing three stars minimum do a Q & A, you get a Lexicon panel (sorry shameless self promotion), a Hillywood panel, chance to win trivia/costume contest prizes, and the ability to take as many pictures as you want of the celebrities onstage with your own camera, and you have access to the vendor room where you can drop more cash if you so choose. All of this will run you $25.00, roughly $10.00 more than a trip to the movies.

Now let’s say you’re still on a budget but you want to upgrade a little. You can get an autograph with one of the actors in say your already purchased Twilight/New Moon/Eclipse Companion book so add $25. That brings you to $50.00 total.

Maybe you’re not into autographs, but you want a professional photo with you and an actor. That’s $40 to bring your total to $65.

Now let’s say you don’t care about professional photo ops or autographs, you just want to be able to take your own pictures and hear the actors talk, and you have all weekend. You can get the general admission weekend pass for $69. So you’ll get everything we described in our third paragraph plus more actors, panels, and trivia. And if you are dying for an autograph from your favorite actor, it brings you to $84.00.

So, there you have a couple of options all under $100 dollars, which granted is not cheap, but it does hopefully provide info to the folks asking. Like we said you can always upgrade from there if you want more like dances, personal meet and greets, preferential seating, etc.

Now let’s say you are faced with the problem of wanting to go, but not having a babysitter. Kids 6 and under are free with their parents. Conversation is generally a PG-13 level-nothing too shocking. You best know your kids, use your judgment.

Besides Creation Entertainment, HUB Productions, Twilight FanTrips, Eternal Twilight, Twilight fan Cruise, etc. all have events. Google them and check out what’s coming up in your area.


  1. Some conventions do not allow picture taking while in the main convention room. At the Nashville TwiCon in January we were told NO photos were allowed while the actors were on stage unless you wanted your camera confiscated. If this rule has changed, it’s news to me.

    • Twilight_News says:

      We were there and plenty of pictures are taken of the actors while on stage that day. The only exception is the charity breakfast and balls when you can take pictures when they first come in, but then they ask you to put cameras away so they can mingle without everyone asking for a picture.

      Video is another matter. No video is standard, but still photos are allowed

  2. Thanks ! I spent 20 for me and my husband but I really wanted to hear the cast and panels on Saturday and buy things. But it’s worth it to me.

  3. These Conventions are a farce. Sorry, but even on a “budget” doing it as cheap as possible, there is really no point going. Anything worthwhile costs more to be part of. These Conventions are not for the true fans, they are for the people with deep pockets looking for something different to do.

  4. the discounted day ticket is likely because Creation did not sell as many reserved seating tickets as wanted. If you get there early the seats may be pretty good.
    now how to reply to deep pockets comment. I personally perfer fan run cons. My experience with CreationCon’s some 20 odd years ago was ok to bad. They are after money. They tie up the actors to exclusive contracts so fan run cons can’t even invite them. So the fans, true and otherwise, can only see the guests at these type of cons.
    The attending fans are not likely to get close to the guests expect at signing and photo ops and those are moved along quickly. The pictures of guests on stage will greatly depend on how good a camera/lens and where you are seating. How much you can actually see will depend on if they have screens set up for those in back to view. Sound shouldn’t be a problem. How much you enjoy/get your money’s worth will depend on what you want out of it and what you expect. Good pictures, actually seeing guests – yes you will have to pay for the better seats. Just to be in same room and hear and meet bunches of other fans, don’t need the reserved seats. You don’t need the paid parties etc to meet other fans. At fan run cons there are casual groups finding a spot and sit and talk, grab a meal together, etc I figure CreationCon’s much the same happens. I personally am going to venture to first CreationCon in 20+ years for the Sacramento one. Being employed at the time I got the tickets I decided to go for the whole thing; also figure this may be my only one so do it up big.
    At fan run conventions you can get up close and personal with some of the guests – writers more so than actors. You have more panels with smaller number of people, discussions move out to hallways after panels. They are less expensive. Unfortunately the popular actors are too expensive for fan run cons any more – if CreationEnt hasn’t gotten a hold of them so they can do fan run cons.

    • Good info Pam. Do you know where to find info on the fan run conventions? I’ve never been to a convention at all and would be interested in a fan run one. Sounds like those would be fun!

      • The only fan run con was Twicon in Dallas and it was a total mess. There have been other events like the post says. I don’t think Creation has them locked up because I see Peter Facinelli doing mall appearances all the time and the other actors have done stuff in England where one of my friends lives.

        The stars aren’t going to be your new best friend or anything, but you get a chance to see them at things like vampire baseball and that wasn’t run by Creation.

        There’s also things like in store appearances, but those aren’t as good. At least at a planned event you’re pretty much guaranteed a 45 minute or so Q&A of at least three actors.

        I’ve done Vampire baseball, Hot Topic in store, TwiCon, and Creation. I’d rank it Creation 1, Vampire Baseball 2, Twicon 3 (but only because I met so many fans who made it fun), and Hot Topic 4

        • Twilight_News says:

          There were two other fan run cons that we know of Summer School in Forks (2009) and Italy Con. We were at both and had a great time at each one. The Italy folks are doing another one next year. Don’t know if the Summer School in Forks folks would ever do a repeat.

        • The mall appearances and such are not con’s and are not bound by any contract they have with CreationEnt for exclusive convention appearances.

      • There are science fiction convention listings on some web sites – I don’t visit so don’t know exactly. You can start with clink on related links and find a short list of other SF associations in different parts of country and one in Melbourne. Google science fiction society or associations. Some of the major cons are: World Con, Dragon Con, World Fantasy Con, WesterCon, CopperCon are all that I can think of right now. DragonCon is in Atlanta. CopperCon in Arizona. WF, WC and WesterCon travel. If you send a nice ‘hate to bother you on non-con issue’ message, the general info person may be able to steer you to better web info. Most of fan run cons are more writer / artist orientated, if any media guest more likely lesser known or long ago known. Hope that helps you find something in your area Gina.

  5. i really would like to attend a convention close to where i live in southern illinois. more infor abouth them would be very helpful thanks, a devoted twilight fan!

  6. i woud realy like to attend a convention in the near future! is there any coming close to southern illinois area? more info please! thanks a devoted twilight fan!

Leave a Comment