Cosplay is welcome throughout the convention and we encourage attendees to come in their favorite cosplays! This page contains information about our cosplay competition, which is held on our main stage.
Cosplay Contest Rules
Welcome to our cosplay contest. All winners, including the Best In Show (Grand Prize) and Best In Each Category will receive free admission to next year’s convention, and possibly additional sponsored prizes.
Sign up: At the convention in con ops.
We may need to make adjustments or modifications to the rules at any time to improve the rules or the operation of the contest.
There are two categories: Performance & Workmanship. Entries may choose to compete in one or both categories if they qualify. There will be one winner chosen per skill level in Workmanship, a winner for performance, and finally a “Best in Show.”
- Workmanship – Entries are judged on overall appearance and skill used on making the cosplay. Purchased costumes may not compete in this category. Groups may enter, but all must qualify.
- If an outfit includes a combination of created and purchased items, tell our judges and they will decide if you can enter.
- Performance – Entries are judged on acting, memorization, accuracy, and presence. A good performance that the audience likes will be great.
- Exhibition – Exhibition is for those who do not wish to compete, or are not allowed to win (like staff).
Workmanship Judging Divisions:
- Inexperienced: If this is your first Cosplay experience or you have never won a award, this is your category.
- Experienced: If you have ever won a Workmanship Cosplay award you are experienced.
- Master: If you have won two or more awards, you are a master.
You can choose if your audio will play before you get on stage, or after you are on stage.
We do not supply participants make-up, make-up applicators and/or removers, paint, etc. Please come to the convention with everything you need to complete and/or assemble your cosplay.
QUALITY AUDIO IS IMPORTANT!
- Sound for your entry is not required but is recommended for the Performance category. There is only one microphone available. We will never give you more than 1 microphone. Any words spoken from stage will not be heard by the audience.
- There will NOT be audio editing software/machine on site. Please have all audio prepared ahead of time.
- We will only accept submissions in MP3 format on a flash drive. Not accepted: cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, etc. Bring your laptop or other backups of your audio files.
- The pre-recorded music/dialogue submitted to the Masquerade staff must be 2 minutes and 30 seconds or less. There will be no exceptions to the “2 Minute” rule. Any entry over the 2:30 mark will be stopped at that point.
- All audio must be turned in with your entry/application.
Mainstage Cosplay Contest Rules
- Run-through and judging blocks are essential to running the contest on time. If you miss these, you will make the show late, and so you will be disqualified. We do not make exceptions, period.
- Run-through is mandatory! If you miss it, you will be disqualified. Disqualified contestants will not be allowed on stage.
- Be on time for your judging block. If you miss it, you will be disqualified.
- If you make 75% or more of your income from crafting or sewing, or you are performing in a semi-professional to professional capacity you may not compete for an award.
- If your cosplay/performance has won a “Best in” award at a convention of similar size or larger, you may not compete with it.
- If your cosplay/performance has won a “Best in” award at a smaller convention, you may compete with it.
- Judge’s Choice and Honorable Mention awards do not count toward your number of awards won to define your division and eligibility.
- Performance content that is a duplicate of an existing performance will get you disqualified unless you credit your source. See cosplay director for details.
- Passing other people’s work off as your own original work whether it be crafting, designing, or performance, or not making 75% of your cosplay is considered unethical and will get you disqualified. If in doubt, always inform the judges, even if not asked.
- Run-through may take 2-3 hours, and judging may take time too. Expect this to take up a lot of your Saturday of the con.
- Be careful onstage! No dangerous running or horseplay as part of your act.
- All Cosplay participants must be registered attendees of the convention.
- Staff members, and immediate family, are not eligible to win in any category.
- Presentations have a required minimum of 30 seconds to be on stage in any competing category. That way, the judges have enough time to actually do their job and see/judge your cosplay or performance.
- Presentations may not exceed 2 minutes, 30 seconds in duration. Plan ahead. If your skit is affecting the flow of the program, or is running excessively long, we reserve the right to interrupt and end your performance. If your skit is so interrupted, it will not disqualify you from winning any of the awards, unless you refuse to leave the stage.
- NO blatant nudity/adult related content. This event is rated PG-13, and we are a family-friendly convention. Please use some discretion with your character, props and presentation. Also, please keep bad language to an extreme minimum level.
- The following may not be worn for competition in any workmanship division: purchased costumes or rented costumes. These may be entered on stage in the Exhibition Category or Performance Category but will not be eligible for workmanship awards.
- Youth participants (ages 13 and under) can be accompanied by a parent/guardian (they must have a con badge). This isn’t a requirement, just a suggestion, especially for children 10 and under. ^_^
- Your entry must be finished before you get to the Masquerade room. No sewing, gluing, spray painting, welding, or other construction work is allowed backstage. However, final assembly of large pieces and/or props and unexpected repairs will be allowed.
- Participants will be required to sign a liability release and a release for use of video and photo images.
- For safety reasons, the following are not allowed:
- Live animals
- Substances which might damage or soil
- Aerosol sprays
- Projectiles of any kind.
- No pyrotechnics including but not limited to: fire, flash powder, explosives, smoke bombs or fireworks.
- Entries that could potentially damage the Convention Venue, other participants or the wearer will not be allowed.
- Illegal weapons of any kind are not allowed.
- Prop weapons used as part of the costume are allowed with restrictions. You are expected to act responsibly with your weapon. If you decide to carry a weapon, by attending you accept any legal and financial responsibility for damage your weapon may cause to persons or property.
- Entries with electric power requirements need to be self-contained. There will be no access to electrical outlets on stage.
- Surprise the audience, not our staff. If you are planning something completely different, let us know well in advance. All information will be held in the strictest confidence. Also let us know well before the masquerade starts if there are any last minute changes to your performance! ^_^
- Smoking is not allowed in the Convention Center. Contestants who leave the building for a smoke break may lose their turn to appear on stage.
- All contestants must be able to move their costume on their own. So please no 80 lb wings or giant mecha unless you can walk up stairs in it.
- There will be only one microphone available, and NEVER more than one. Any and all music and/or skit audio must be pre-cut, pre-recorded and turned in (in MP3 format) on a USB Flash Drive at sign-up. Bringing back-ups is strongly encouraged to ensure you have working audio.
- People can only enter as part of one costume our group. If a person has made multiple costumes, they must be entered as a group, otherwise you must select only one to compete in the Workmanship contest.
- Audience are not allowed to run up to the stage area for any reason.
- Audience members must be courteous and respectful. Please do not boo or shout negative things to masquerade contestants.
- The cosplay director, or judges, have the right to change your division to a higher division to create a fair competition. Consider this an honor. The director and judges also have the right to not give out an award for any reason they see fit.
The coordinators have the right to eliminate any entry from the competition on the basis of taste, danger to the audience, building or yourself, violation of any of the above rules, or any other reason sufficient.