​Making comic cons a family event

When you think of a comic con, you think of a horde of adults acting like kids for a day. It's Halloween for a second time in the year. It's reaching your inner child and hanging onto all the entertainment passions and idols you had since you were a kid.

Now it's 2017, and the nostalgia business of comic conventions has been a thing since 1970, and a mainstream thing since the 1990s. That means many of us are parents, passing this enjoyment on to a new generation.

For the first time this year I got my full family out to C2E2 in Chicago. Three of us were veterans now, and we piled in the car with three additional friends, a vanload of 8. Two even had to share a seat - please don't call the cops on me.

When we got there, we split up into three groups to tackle the show. Three eighth-grade boys, two sixth grade girls and the crazy kindergartner with mom and dad.

The boys act like they rule the show and try to get every freebie available. The middle school girls made terrible decisions, spending most of their money on cat ear headbands and some weird terrarium style necklace that cost $18.

The little guy wanted everything in sight, and for once most of those items were affordable. So he got what he wanted.

If you're a parent I bet you've heard this one before, but mom and dad ended up buying nothing. That is, except some awesome OffWorld Designs shirts - like the Stranger Things Should Eggo T-Shirt. We are a little biased there.

A highlight of the day was meeting two of the actors from Stranger Things. My two older kids love the show as do us parents. The line was fast and there's not much time to talk to the child actors, Millie Bobby Brown and Gaten Matarazzo, but both got a quick “hi,” and I love the picture with the girls. They are so naïve and innocent and had no clue they were getting rabbit ears.

The day went fast, and as always, the people-watching is incredibly fun.

There's always a lot of cool stuff to buy, and my wife and I are trying to figure out how to display it in a creative way in our house. We're thinking we set up a pop culture wall with shelves, and go nuts with it.

C2E2 (or any comic con) as a family event is pretty great. People in the con world are generally courteous and lighthearted. There's no sense of competition or pushy sales that are there at a lot of other conventions. And it's pretty neat to share a pop-culture past time with your kids.