After the initial expense of purchasing a costume, LARP (live action role play) is not extremely expensive for most people. LARPs vary greatly–some LARPers use one or two costumes over again at various one day events or when representing the same character at weekend events.
Event prices also vary greatly; events on the East Coast of the United States vary from $5 to $50, including varying amounts of things such as foods and sleeping areas.
Aside from these more obvious up-front expenses, players should budget accordingly for some hidden LARP expenses, listed below. Solutions are also provided to help you mitigate these costs.
Problem: Travel Expenses
For the right LARP, you’ll probably drive anywhere. Some LARPs also bounce from camp to camp depending on camp availability. Including gas and wear and tear on cars, the current IRS reimbursement rate for auto travel is $0.50 per mile. Think about this next time you travel; don’t forget to add additional expenses such as tolls if you are taking a toll road. Travel to games can be extremely costly.
The best solution to this involves carpooling with other players. Most LARPs (especially fantasy LARPs) occur in rural or wooded regions, so public transit isn’t usually an option. However, you can help the environment and split travel costs by carpooling to an event. If you are fortunate enough to attend an urban event such as a Firefly shindig or a zombie game, consider public transit.
Problem: Costume and Weapon Maintenance
While costumes are expensive to buy, they’re tough to maintain. Storage and regular use can wear a costume down pretty quickly, especially if you also wear your costume to other events such as Halloween gatherings or renaissance faires. Armor rusts and latex weapons are often ruined once they’ve been severely damaged, so maintenance costs can easily add up.
Solution: Tailor Friend
Most LARP friend circles do have a few people handy with needle and thread. For a small cost (or just the cost of materials), you’ll likely have a friend who can help you repair worn costumes. Some games may even allow this service to occur in exchange for in-game money. If you opt to use boffer weapons instead of latex, you may similarly seek the service of your game’s weapons smith.
Problem: Camping Gear
Camping gear is another thing that costs a great deal at first. Over time, it tends to hold up well, but does require maintenance. If your’e camping outside, you may want to bring food, pans and other related items. These costs add up and you might find yourself bringing more and more each time if you feel that you were not adequately prepared the last time.
Solution: Invest and Share
If you invest in the right camping equipment, you’ll find that it lasts longer. Do some research and speak with an experienced camper before tossing out the money. Also, like driving, it’s cheaper to split the costs of camping with a friend. Perhaps you can share your cooking gear in exchange for sharing a tent.
If you’re still living with your parents as you LARP, you might depend on them for some or all of your funding and transportation. Present these points to them and attempt to budget your LARPing costs to demonstrate your comfortability with budgeting short and long-term expenses. If you are fortunate enough to receive gifts for birthdays or holidays, consider adding some of the needed items to your wish lists.