FAQs About the Convention
Table of Contents
What is Hal-Con?
It’s the largest costumed event in Atlantic Canada. It’s a weekend of excitement, and panels, celebrities, activities, learning, and entertaining events for all ages in a fun, welcoming environment free of judgment. Combining the best elements of a Comic Con and a Maritime Kitchen Party, Hal-Con is a blast.
Where is Hal-Con?
Hal-Con will take place at the new Halifax Convention Centre, located on Argyle Street between Sackville St. and Prince St.
When is Hal-Con?
Hal-Con is October 23-25, 2020.
What are the hours of Hal-Con ?
Check out our Venue page for the answer to this question.
I’m sold! Where can I get tickets to Hal-Con ?
Starting June 14th at 7pm AT, you can get your tickets on our website.
Tickets and Pre-Registration
What types of tickets do you sell?
We sell Warp Speed Passes (VIP), Impulse Speed Passes (Deluxe Weekend), Weekend Passes (3-day), a Student/Senior (65+)/Military Weekend Pass, Single Day Passes, and a Child Pass.
What does my ticket include?
General entry admission tickets/passes include entry into the convention on the given day(s). Impulse and Warp Speed tickets/passes have additional perks.
How will I pick up my badge or bracelet?
You can pick up your badge by bringing either a printout or a digital copy of your ticket to the Registration Desk in the Argyle Street lobby.
Do you offer early registration?
Early registration will take place Thursday from 5-9pm, and Friday morning from 9am-12pm. After that, registration will be open for regular pickup.
What are the ages for a Child Pass?
A Child Pass covers children ages 6-12. Children 5 and under do not require a ticket, and attendees 13 and older require a regular ticket.
What are the ages for a Senior Pass?
This is designed for those aged 65+.
Will my child need adult accompaniment?
Any child using a Child Pass and children under the age of 5 require adult accompaniment. We recommend no more than three children to an adult.
What do I need to get a Student/Military/Senior ticket?
To be able to get a Student/Military/Senior Pass, you must have the corresponding ID as proof at the time of the convention. Failure to present the required ID will require a $10 fee before being admitted to Atlantic Canada’s biggest sci-fi and gaming convention. You must be aged 65+ to use the senior discount.
Tell me about Warp Speed Passes
Details are here: www.hal-con.com/tickets
Tell me about Impulse Speed Passes
Details are here: www.hal-con.com/tickets
You’re sold out of the kind of ticket I want – do you have any held back?
No. Like any event, such as a concert for example, if it is sold out for that day, it’s sold out due to capacity in the venue. We put all of the tickets available online for sale at the beginning of the season – once they’re gone, they’re gone. Tickets can be transferred, sold to or traded with other individuals (see additional info about this) – but if the category is sold out, we’re sold out.
Why don’t you have any held back?
Quite simply, because it’s not fair to individuals. It’s always been our policy to release all tickets in a category at the same time. We announce the ticket sales date 4-6 months prior (on social media, on our website, and for our newsletter subscribers) giving plenty of notice. If you have personal conflicts which prevent you from attending on the particular day you hold tickets for, you still have options: tickets can be transferred, by being sold to or traded with other individuals (see additional info about this). If the category is sold out, we’re sold out.
Tell me about the Stargazer Soiree
It’s essentially a nice cocktail party, reserved for Warp Speed ticket holders, guests, sponsors, and special Stargazer Soiree ticket holders. We can’t guarantee all guests will attend, however, you’ll often see familiar faces. The event is 19+ and offers a cash bar. We also provide light refreshments in the form of passed hors d’oeuvres and a few grazing stations. (Many people change into nicer clothes, but it’s not necessary.)
What’s the difference between a retailer, artist, exhibitor, and society table?
An exhibitor typically produces their own product, often for sale, or represents a society or special interest group. Artists producing original work, in any media, would also typically be considered exhibitors. A retailer often sells product from multiple creators and may have a store or do business year round. You can find out more information about each table type on our Become a Vendor under the Participation tab in the main menu.
How do I become a vendor?
Please visit our Become A Vendor page to review our Vendor Information Package and complete the Vendor Application.
Sponsorship Why should I become a sponsor?
Over 19,000 people come through Hal-Con every year—and we’re still growing! Reach your target market through our audience—be part of our event, get your brand in front of fans at the most exciting cosplay and science fiction gathering in the Maritimes. More information about our demographics and other excellent reasons why you should become one of our proud sponsors can be found in our Sponsor Package.
How do I become a sponsor?
To become a sponsor of the largest pop culture and comic event in Atlantic Canada, read how here.
What’s expected of me as a volunteer?
Volunteers must offer up a minimum of 12 hours of their time over the course of the weekend. Volunteers are expected to perform the tasks they are asked.
What do I receive as a volunteer?
In exchange for their work, volunteers receive a weekend pass to the convention, a badge, a volunteer T-shirt, snacks and beverages, and a voucher for the volunteer after party.
How old do I have to be to volunteer?
To apply to any of the general teams and the gaming team, you must be 16 years old. To apply to the guest team you must be at least 19 years old.
I think I want to volunteer, how do I start the process?
Head over to the Volunteer page and read the information there.
What kind of programming will be happening at Hal-Con?
We’ve got something for everyone! There will be discussion panels, live theatre, Q&A panels with guests, instructional workshops or seminars on a number of topics, costume contest, charity auction, a dance, debates, demonstrations of swordplay, and so much more!
Where can I see a schedule for Hal-Con?
Usually, it’s out 2-3 weeks prior to the event. Changes can occur at any time.
What are your cosplay policies?
You can find all our policies listed on our Policies page.
What is your weapons policy?
You can find all our policies listed on our Policies page.
Costumes & Costume Contest
What is your prop weapons policy?
You can find all our policies listed on our Policies page.
My costume may not be family-friendly or may violate one of your policies; can I still enter the costume contest?
All costumes must follow the rules we have set in our general policies. Costumes deemed to be offensive may result in expulsion from the convention.
While Hal-Con strives to be an environment of tolerance for everyone, we can and will not allow costumes promoting groups who would seek to make the world more intolerant, and as such we have banned Nazi and Hitler cosplay, costumes, or accessories. Anyone found with these items (or items found to be similar in nature at the discretion of event staff) will be expelled from this year’s event and issued a lifetime ban from all future Hal-Con events and functions.
What are the rules for the Costume Contest?
Rules for the costume contest can be found on the Costume Contest page.
Is there an entry fee?
No, the cost of entering the costume contest is included in your admission, but we only have a limited number of spots.
Do I have to sign up in advance?
Yes, details on where and when to sign up can be found on the Costume Contest page.
Can I sign up before the convention?
No. We only do contest sign-ups during the convention.
How do I sign up?
Details on where and when to sign up are updated closer to Con. Watch the Costume Contest page for updates.
When is the Costume Contest?
Sunday, exact time TBD
What Category should I enter?
Details on the different categories and restrictions can be found on the Costume Contest page.
When/Where/How does judging take place?
Details on where and when judging takes place can be found on our Costume Contest page.
What do I do if I have a special request for the contest?
Please read the rules on our Costume Contest page and the Hal-Con policies. If neither of these answers your question please email email@example.com
Who can I contact if I have already read the rules and have a question about them?
Please copy and paste the specific part of the rules you have a question about into the email you send. firstname.lastname@example.org
How does meeting guests work?
If you are getting an autograph some small talk is allowed, however, due to time constraints, if you are getting a photo op there really is not enough time to chat with the guest. We ask that you respect this as there are often long lines and we have limited times allotted for each session. Please be considerate of those waiting for their turn. If you are attending the VIP Stargazer Soiree, we encourage you to chat with the guests that are in attendance, but we ask that you refrain from crowding them or asking for photos or autographs.
Do guests accept gifts?
While the guests appreciate the thought and meaning you put into gifts for them, please remember, if you present a gift to a guest, do not be offended if they are unable to accept it. Most guests travel here with carry-on luggage only and simply don’t have room to take the gifts back with them. We ask that you do not give them gifts of alcohol as they cannot have it on site due to the venue and provincial alcohol policies, and guests cannot take it home on the flight. Please do not give guests candles, or items that have strong scents to them. We ask that you also refrain from giving them baked goods as some guests may have food allergies or other dietary restrictions.
Can I take my own photos of Guests?
When in line in for autographs and photographs, or even just in the A/P area to see what’s going on with the celebrity guests, it is against policy to take photos of the guests at the autograph tables, without their knowledge or permission. If the volunteer staff sees pictures being taken, we will ask you to delete them. You are allowed to take photos during the main stage panels with most guests. Some guests have it in their contract that photos and videos are not allowed during panels – if this is the case with one of our guests, we will have a notice on the main stage screens before their panels begin.
Can I get a photo with a Guest at the Star Gazer Soiree?
Cameras are not allowed at the Soiree. If we see you sneak a picture on your cell phone, we reserve the right to ask you to delete the photo and leave the event. There will be a photo booth with props at the soiree, which all attendees are allowed to use (it’s free!), however, please do not ask a guest to join in with you. You might see guests using the photo booth with other guests – the guest can ask you to join in, but you are not allowed to ask them. The Soiree allows a chance to talk to the guests, not ask for a free photo.
Are we able to arrange interviews with any Guest(s)?
Interviews with guests are allowed at Hal-Con, as long as they are approved and booked through our media team. If you are a local blogger, or a school reporter, etc, you cannot set up an interview on site, or ask a guest for a quick interview during an autograph signing session. All media must be cleared by our staff first. Please read our Media page for full details.
Can I ask questions at main stage actor Q&A panels?
We encourage questions during the main stage Q&A panels! Please limit yourself to just one question, not multiples or follow up questions; others are waiting for their turn, and we want as many people as possible to get their chance. Our volunteers will be vetting your questions to ensure they are appropriate. If your question is considered inappropriate, the moderator will move on to the next person. Moderators will also use their discretion to cut off the attendee if the question asked is not the question that was vetted. Please note that due to time constraints, we cannot guarantee that everyone in line will have the chance to ask their question.
Do all the guests go to the Stargazer Soiree?
We ask all guests to attend, however, if some are experiencing jet lag or feeling unwell, they might not attend. Those guests who do attend might not be there for the full time but will be there long enough to talk to some attendees.
Autographs and Photographs
How does getting an autograph work?
You are allowed one signature per autograph ticket. We permit you to get up to three autographs, using three tickets at a time from the same actor. After receiving those autographs, you would get back in line for up to three more and you can repeat that as often as required. Each autograph ticket is specific to each actor and is specific to a day; you cannot use one actor’s ticket for another actor’s autograph, or use a ticket on a different day. If you do not have an item to get signed, there will be free headshots provided (one per autograph). If you have an item to get signed, you will not receive a free headshot. It is up to the guest’s whether they will sign the item you bring. If you pre-pay for an autograph, you must exchange this for a voucher at the convention, before you get in line for the autograph. Tickets will be for sale in the Autograph/Photograph area.
How many people can be in a photograph?
It’s ultimately up to the guest’s discretion. There is, however, a maximum of 3 people to ensure photo quality won’t be affected.
What types of gaming are offered at Hal-Con?
- Board Games: a library of over 500 board games, including both quick family games and multi-hour strategy games like Twilight Imperium. Borrow an old favourite or learn something new—the staff is on-hand to help!
- Video Games: Cool games from the latest consoles!
- Pinball Machines and Arcade Machines!
- Roleplaying Games: examples include Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, Pathfinder, Numenera, Exalted and FATE.
- Tabletop Miniatures: The Grudge of Ages Tournament for Warhammer Fantasy / 40k is a Hal-Con tradition! Other games which often appear include Warmachine / Hordes, X-wing, Malifaux, Zombicide and Space Hulk.
- Magic: The Gathering
Are the arcade machines and pinball machines free to play?
YES! The machines are free to play. Please do not insert quarters into them!
Are there gaming-related seminars?
How do I sign up for an RPG?
Sign up sheets for RPGs are posted on the day the RPG is scheduled to run so you cannot sign up for Sunday sessions on Friday or Saturday. Sign up occurs at the Board Game Library signout desk.
Does signing up for an RPG guarantee me a spot?
It does, provided that you are at the table in time! We ask all RPG players to show up a few minutes before their session is scheduled to start. If players are still missing 10 minutes after the session is scheduled to start, the GM can start the game and fill in the spots with standbys.
What if the RPG I want to sign up for is full?
You can still show up to the RPG as a standby and see if one of the players who did sign up doesn’t show. Clearly identify to the GM that you are not on the sheet and are waiting to see if a spot becomes vacant. 10 minutes after the scheduled start time, GMs can fill no-show seats with standby players.
How many games can I borrow from the board game library?
You can only borrow one game at a time, but after returning it you can immediately borrow another.
The facility is wheelchair accessible, with large elevators to accommodate large costumes and strollers.
The Halifax Convention Centre is a non-smoking environment. This includes vaping. (Smoking areas are located nearby outdoors.)
Getting Around the Convention
Elevators are open for all to use, but priority will be reserved for those with mobility, accessibility issues, or those with strollers. If you have any problem with accessing elevators, please alert any Hal-Con volunteer and it will be escalated to the senior team.
The venue’s official policy is that no outside food should be coming on site. That being said, they’ve always accommodated special needs. If you have allergies/medical issues around food, or young children who need snacks, please bring what you need and there shouldn’t be an issue.
As many people do have food allergies (like peanuts), please try to clean up after yourself if you’re eating on-site to limit contamination as much as possible.
There will be limited food available for sale on site, and plenty of restaurants are near the convention centre to help you refuel.
Service Animals & Pets
Only official service animals are permitted. Pets or comfort animals, however, aren’t. Please make sure your service animal (ex. Guide Dog) is wearing their uniform. With allergies, children, and for sympathy to animals in crowds – it’s not the best idea. We recognize the value of therapy animals, but they won’t be permitted on site.
ASL / Sign Language
Hal-Con is making every effort to accommodate the need for ASL Interpreters at our event. This year we will be providing access to a limited number of main stage events on the Fanta Stage (Main Stage) on Saturday and Sunday, with the possibility of additional panels/workshops.
Although we will make every effort to accommodate on-site requests for interpreters, we cannot guarantee they will be facilitated. For more information, please contact any Info Desk on-site to ask questions.
Personal Attendants for Medical or Special Needs
Hal-Con recognizes some individuals have a need for a companion or assistant (e.g. a dedicated sign language interpreter) during the convention. We want to remove as many barriers as possible and do not charge for official attendants, but they must reach out in advance to secure a badge, as we have limited capacity. Please contact us if you have any questions about bringing somebody with you during the event. We strongly suggest contacting us in advance to make arrangements to prevent excessive delays at registration.
Staying in Halifax
Does Hal-Con have any partner hotels with special rates?
Yes! We have a few, including the Hotel Barrington and Hotel Halifax. See special rates here.
Where can I park?
If staying at a hotel, most hotels have a parking fee of $20/night plus tax. There will also be limited street parking available. For further information, there is a listing of parking lots available under the travel section.
Scotia Square Parkade is the closest public parking with a rate of $20 max per day. However, we will be selling exit passes for $15 (25% discount!) at the Hal-Con Merchandise booth on the Convention Level (limited quantities, while supplies last).
The Nova Centre Parking (the full complex, which includes the Halifax Convention Centre) is $28.00 per day.
Is there public transportation available?
You can ride the bus with Metro Transit. The cost is $2.75 per individual ride. Regional Council has also approved a 6-month pilot program for kids ages 13 (ages 0-12) and under to ride free.
Directions to Halifax
View map here.
If you are coming in from the airport, you have a few options. There are multiple car rental agencies in the ground transportation area of the airport. If you take a taxi into the city, the cost is approximately $60, or you could take the bus (number 320) for $3.50. The bus will make a final stop behind Scotia Square, which is less than a 5-minute walk to the Hotel Barrington and Hotel Halifax.
Can I bring a camera and take pictures?
This year, pictures will not be allowed at the Stargazer Soiree or when you’re standing in line to get a photograph/autograph. Pictures are allowed during stage performances unless otherwise noted.
Where can I go to smoke/vape?
Nova Scotia’s Smoke-free Places Act states that smoking and vaping is illegal indoors. The Halifax Convention Centre is a smoke-free environment. Check the live map offered by the city for the latest updates.
HRM’s smoking ban bylaw started Oct. 15, 2018: The city has a full ban on smoking (including tobacco and cannabis) and vaping. However, approved smoking areas exist near the convention centre: 1) On Argyle St., near Prince St. intersection (near The Carlton), 2) on Argyle St. near the Sackville St. intersection (by World Tea House), and 3) On Argyle St., near Grand Parade Square.
Am I allowed to bring my own bags?
Of course! You may be asked to show the contents of your bag upon first entry through registration by security.
Am I allowed to bring my own water or water bottle?
Of course! Event security prefers sealed drinks prior to entry during bag checks. Water bottle refill stations are available on most floors of the facility near the washrooms.
Where can I get food or drink?
Within the convention, where the vendors are located, there will be booths that sell food (mainly sweets and desserts).
Sense & SensibiliTea will have tea for sale on site, and Garrison Brewing is setting up a sampling spot on site across from their retail location. The area will be 19+ with no wearing masks permitted, with 5 oz samples of various brews for sale. Non-alcoholic soda will also be available at Garrison as well. Coca-Cola has chips and assorted drinks for sale.
Boston Pizza will be on-site, as well as To Go Fast Fresh Food (salads, veggies, baked goods including some gluten-friendly options). Check out their space on the Convention Level on the bottom floor.
Am I allowed to bring in outside food?
The venue does not allow food from outside. They are likely to overlook small things like a granola bars etc, but it’s at their discretion. If you have medical condition allergies or food sensitives for example that would require you to bring in food, please make the security personnel aware of the situation if they question you.
Is there Wi-Fi?
There will be complimentary wi-fi available at the venue, provided by Hal-Con. There will be a dedicated network for our vendors/artists, and a separate one for attendees. Please look for signage on-site with information.
Is there an ATM on-site?
Yes, there will be ATMs available on the Ballroom level near the vendor area and on the Convention level near the guest auto/photo purchase booths. Additionally, there’s a BMO location attached to the convention centre, just around the corner from our main entry doors.
Does the venue provide gender-neutral washroom?
Hal-Con and the venue management want to offer all our attendees a comfortable experience at the convention. All participants at the event are encouraged to use the washroom to which they identify. Inclusive washrooms are marked on floor maps. There are gender-neutral washrooms, as well as gender-specific washrooms, on each level of the facility.
Check out our Maps & Vendors page for floor maps and more information.
Hal-Con and the Community
Which charities do you support?
Our official charities of choice are the IWK Children’s Hospital and Kids Help Phone. In the past, we’ve supported Child’s Play International. Each year, we contribute items and funds to various local groups. Our fans help through our Charity Auction with items and their generous bids.
How much have you raised so far?
In the last 10 years, we’ve donated over $65,000 to various charities.
Can I donate to your charity auction?
Absolutely, we’d be delighted. Please email email@example.com to connect with our team.
Can you show up at our event?
We love getting out into the community! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with information, dates, and your needs.