While cosplay fails certainly induce much cringing, they hardly comprise the absolute worst things that happened at cosplay conventions. For every terrible My Little Pony cosplayer you come across, there are at least 10 different accounts of cosplayers describing creepy encounters at conventions. Harassment at cosplay conventions continues to be a problem at these events, particularly for women, even though these events try their best to prevent such behavior. More innocent though no-less obnoxious cosplay horror stories involve terrible anime fans who lack personal boundaries or the sense to know that no one wants to be called someone else's 'waifu.' And sometimes the worst cosplay experiences happen with people outside the convention, who have nothing better to do than to get themselves worked up over people wearing costumes.
Cosplay nightmares appear all across Reddit, detailing both cringeworthy to downright horrifying cosplayer experiences that give the whole community a bad name.
"Few years back my then-girlfriend was cosplaying Chell from Portal at a con. It was mostly great, everyone and their mom wanted a photo with her. Except this one guy who decided to grill her on how much she really knew about Portal. He was looking at her like he'd just found a unicorn, but she was pissed as hell that some stranger thought she needed to prove herself to him. I think he thought he was flirting."
"Not really cosplay, but at the midnight showing of the last Harry Potter movie I was dressed in a Slytherin shirt with a house scarf. I was standing with some friends and some girl came up to me and said I was everything that was wrong in this world. I asked what she was talking about and she yelled, 'Anyone who truly like Slytherin is a bane on humanity!' I just stared as her friends took her away."
"At Anime Matsuri last month, I was crossplaying as Prompto with my friend as Noctis. A much younger Noctis cosplayer (they looked to be about 13-14, whereas we're in our mid-twenties) came up to us and said their Prompto really wanted to meet us. We followed this Noctis cosplayer over to their group of friends, introduced ourselves to the other Prompto, took some selfies, had some laughs.
Apparently, the kids felt super comfortable around us, because they then proceeded to pull out their sketchbooks and show us the explicit fan art they'd drawn while loudly describing each pornographic scene in detail. Needless to say, my friend and I exchanged a look of abject horror and hightailed it out of there, torn between feeling utterly skeevy and biting down the urge to call their mothers.
Obviously, there are kids who wander into the NSFW side of fandom. (I'm sure we all had our instances of saying we were 18+ when prompted to on AFF.net, LJ, etc. back in the day). But to have literal children showing me the porn they drew in real life was positively jarring."
"Went to a con as Zuko from Avatar. An Aang cosplayer approached me excitedly to talk about the show, but after 10 minutes he pulled out his phone and wanted me to read their X-rated Avatar (Aang/Katara FYI) fanfic. Proceeded to tell me how long he's been working on the fic and how he was planning out the rest of the story to have 'books' like the show itself. This thing looked to be novel-length by this point. I politely excused myself and left but this guy found me on FB later on and sends me NSFW Avatar fanart every now and then. UGH."