New Students

New students often don’t know what to expect from Costume College. We’ve put together some tips and tricks to help you out.

Help! I don’t know anyone! – Don’t worry! You’ll meet people with similar interests very soon. If you arrive on Thursday night, go to Registration, attend the pool party and get to know people. If you show up Friday morning, GO to Freshman Orientation! Show up after these events? Don’t hesitate to talk with other students about their costumes when you see them in the halls. Too shy to start up a conversation? Volunteer and meet people! Promise: you’ll start recognizing faces very soon. You might also like to join the Costume College Year-Round Forum Facebook group (see link at bottom of page) to chat with other students in the months leading up to the big event.

How do I find someone to share a room with me? Come and join our Costume College Year-Round Forum Facebook group (see link at bottom of page), and ask around!

But I don’t know how to sew!- And? This is Costume College, not Sewing College. You will find classes on our schedule for non-sewers, as well for beginning sewers. Some people like to come just to see the Exhibits or attend the Gala or Tea. Remember, we are here to learn and enjoy, not to compete with each other.

So, what do I wear?– During classes, it is best to wear regular, comfortable clothing, especially when you’re in a workshop. Hotels can be freezing in one room and quite warm in the next, so try to dress in layers, so that you can adapt to the situation. If you do wear costumes to class, do not wear anything bulky or large that will take up more than your share of space (hoops, panniers, giant view-blocking hats, etc…) And try not to wear anything so fabulous that it distracts the other students! Between classes and at events, wear whatever costume you like, so long as it is at least “PG-13” and follows rules set out on the Costume College policies page. Costumes are not required to match the theme of any of the events, so wear what makes you happy. If you don’t have any costumes yet, don’t worry! No one will think less of you for wearing street clothes.

What do I bring to classes? – For workshop classes, you will be provided with a materials list. For lecture classes, bring a notebook and keep a few dollars or quarters on you. Many teachers provide a handout for the price of the copies (typically $1 or $2, but it depends on the handout.) You are not required to purchase a handout, but be prepared to take copious notes instead. If you do not intend to attend a class, please don’t pop in at the beginning to buy just the notes, as that may not leave enough handouts for those in the class. Please no open food containers in the classrooms. You may be careful with that container, but your neighbor may not. Always bring a sweater. The classrooms can get cold!

Lectures/Workshops- Workshop classes are the ones you have to sign up for in advance. You will see more details about this in the Registration Book. Lecture classes are open to registered students, and do not have a class list or require an RSVP.

So many great classes! How do I decide? – One method of choosing classes is to refer to the grid schedule that lists all classes, and mark off anything that you know won’t fit your schedule, or any workshop classes you did not request. For example, if you have purchased tea tickets, you are “busy” during the Tea, as well as just prior to the Tea (assuming you need time to change into something fabulous). When those things are marked off, you can look through the lecture class descriptions and see which one interests you the most during each time slot. Do NOT forget to leave yourself time to eat lunch!

Food– There is a Starbucks in the lobby. There is usually a grab-and-go sandwich shop set up for lunch in the hallway near the Information Desk, but the hotel won’t open it on Sunday if they don’t sell enough on Saturday, so have a back-up plan. All of the hotel rooms have mini-fridges. You may wish to keep a power bar or other snacks in your bag, in case you need a quick something between classes. There are water stations in the hallways outside the classes. The hotel has a fine restaurant, but service can be impacted when everyone wants to eat breakfast or dinner at the same time. The mall across the street has both fast food and sit-down restaurants available. Information has details on local shops and restaurants.  You can also check food ordering apps for to search for food that suits you.

Money – You will probably want to have cash on hand for some of the following things: teachers’ handouts in classes, shopping in the Costumer’s Marketplace the Bargain Basement and Trunk Show (and the LA Garment District Tour if you are signed up,) tickets for the raffle and Early Bird entrance to the Marketplace, photo studio, on-site registration for workshop classes, meals, drinks at the pool party or gala, and tips for maids and bellhops.

Hotel rooms –  The hotel will charge you a deposit at the time of check in, which will be refunded after you leave.  Please use a credit card to avoid having money taken out of your account directly.  Only the person who made the reservation (or whose name the reservation is under) needs to check in for the room, and can confirm the rest of the guests names and get key cards for them.  To split the bill, each guest will need to check out separately.

You will find two full beds, an iron, ironing board, a mini-fridge, and internet service (for an extra fee). There isn’t a lot of space for rollaways or extra costume racks. Some people like to bring their own iron, because it might be better than what the hotel has to offer. If you leave items on your bed, the maids will not make the bed for you. It’s nice to tip the maids ($1-2/night for each person in the room) by leaving a few bills on the pillow.  It is recommended to tip each day rather than just at the end of your stay, as the maids will change which rooms they service. Common sense reminds us not to leave other cash laying about.