Large Prop Etiquette
I am a first time cosplayer and new to the website. I have made many costumes and incidental props before for friends, but I have never worn or carried them. I have been pretty fat for most of my life, and I have only just recently lost enough weight to feel comfortable being on display.
My chosen character has a very large and very important prop (a kind of zither-like stringed instrument, roughly 4.5 ft wide when all is said and done) that is carried horizontally in front of her. I have rigged up an attachment to a corset-type arrangement so that it can appear to 'float' instead of having a neck strap, which means I will not be able to remove it and carry it vertically easily.
As if the awkward size of the prop is not enough, the far edges of it are kind of delicate wings. I have constructed similar things largely from insulation foam board and friendly plastic with a dowel frame and this will likely be no different, so it is not particularly sturdy. A bump will likely be okay, but if someone oblivious walks into it, it will break.
Historically when I have made such a delicate thing, I have run interference for my cosplaying friend, preventing glomps and ushering the oblivious around it. There will not be anyone to do that for me this time.
Suggestions? Should I save the large prop for the masquerade (I'm not 100% sure I'll do the masquerade), even though it is an important part of the cosplay? Should I just stick to less-populated areas of the con? My apologies if this has been asked before, I did a perfunctory search and found nothing useful.