Masquerade Costume Contest


From anime to books to podcasts, cosplay is the art of bringing your favorite characters to life. What matters most is that you’re having fun!

So what’s the cosplay masquerade? It’s a chance to show off that awesome work you’ve done. If you have a costume you made and want to be judged on your work, or have a performance you want to show a crowd – come check out this event and bring your best poses for the spotlight!


All participants are required to sign-up or check-in at the Cosplay Table in the hotel lobby or at the Cosplay Lounge (Studio 3) on Friday, attend the stage orientation meeting on Saturday morning, and attend the Masquerade show that evening. You will be notified of specific event times on Friday when you check in.

  • Online sign-ups for the cosplay competition will be available prior to the convention.
  • In-person sign-ups will take place at Anime Fusion starting at noon (12:00pm) in the Cosplay Lounge on Friday and will be open until all spots are filled.
  • Competitors who signed up online will be required to check-in at the convention.
  • If not filled, any remaining spots will be open during orientation on Saturday.

To access the stage, cosplayers may need to pass through a small hallway and climb a few stairs, so please plan your costume accordingly. You may have one handler per group if necessary. If more are required please contact cosplay competition staff as soon as possible.

All costumes must adhere to the general Cosplay Policies of the convention. 


Any props or materials brought onstage during your performance MUST be brought offstage with you. No glitter, confetti, liquids or other messy materials may be used onstage. Open flame, lasers, strobe effects, fog/smoke machines, and projectiles are not permitted.

There can be NO LIVE STEEL or real weapons on stage! Any prop guns must be obviously props (i.e. marked with an orange tip), cannot be pointed at the audience at any time, and fingers must remain off the trigger at all times.

If desired, you may ask cosplay competition staff to remove any safety markers (i.e. zip ties) from your props before you go on stage, but you are responsible for getting the markers replaced by staff before you re-enter the public areas of the convention. 


Any stage combat must be safe for all cosplayers and convention property. All stage combat must be reviewed by con staff prior to competition. All stage combat must stay on the stage.

There is no live microphone use or live speaking on stage. If you would like audio played during your skit or walk-on performance, bring your audio on a USB drive to the cosplay competition table on Friday. Make sure the USB stick contains only the sound you want used and no other files. Your audio file will be transferred onto another laptop and then returned to you. We cannot edit your audio or start it at specific times!

The Masquerade Cosplay Competition is an all-ages event. All content must be appropriate for a PG-13 rating.

The following content is prohibited in all presentations:

  • Profanity
  • Sexual content
  • Inflammatory or offensive material
  • Real-world political commentary
  • Other content not suitable for a PG-13 rating

If you are questioning whether or not your material fits within these guidelines, please contact Cosplay staff at


There are three categories of participants in the Cosplay Competition:

  • Craftsmanship (costume quality and construction)
  • Performance (skits)
  • Exhibition (display only; not eligible for awards)

Cosplayers may enter both Craftsmanship and Performance.

Cosplayers may not enter a costume into Craftsmanship or Performance that has previously won a major award at another convention. 


This category is for cosplayers who make their own costumes. Cosplayers can enter individually or as a group, with the awards given to the people who made the costumes. At least 60% of the costume must be made by the participant or, if you are modeling a costume you did not make, the creator must be with you during judging.

There are three levels of competition:

  • Novice: Those who have not won any costume competition awards or are entering for the first time.
  • Journeyman: Those who have won at least one major award at a costume competition.
  • Master: Those who EITHER make 25% of their income from costume/prop making or have won three major awards at a costume competition.
  • Exhibition: Those who wish to show their costumes but do not want to be judged.

If judges believe your costume’s quality is above your entrant level they may move you up a level. This is a compliment to your skill, not a punishment.

Craftsmanship entries will sign up Friday at the cosplay competition table for a Saturday pre-judging time to have their costumes examined by the judges, and then will participate in the Masquerade.

All cosplayers with craftsmanship judging MUST bring printed reference material showing the character design their costumes are based on. Because your score is partially determined by accuracy, this is mandatory. 


All entrants are by default signed up as walk-ons unless otherwise stated during sign-up.


This category is for individuals or groups who wish to perform a skit on stage.

Skit performers must have pre-recorded audio and skit content may not exceed a PG-13 rating. If you or any member of your group violates this policy, your audio will be cut and your group will immediately be disqualified from the competition. All skits must occur entirely on stage.

Skits are limited to one minute and thirty seconds (1:30).


This category is for individuals who wish to display their costume, and model for pictures. Walk-ons may be no longer than 45 seconds. 


The Exhibition category is for cosplayers who want to show their costumes or a skit to the audience without competing for any awards. Exhibitions must follow all applicable rules regarding their performance. 


A costume competition is defined as any competition at a state level such as other conventions, or other large-scale costume competitions.

Following the Masquerade, the photoshoot area will be reserved for competition participants. All cosplayers are encouraged to make use of this time to let admirers take pictures of their costumes.

Exceptions to previously stated rules can be made at the sole discretion of cosplay competition staff. These exceptions are not guaranteed. All questions regarding exceptions to rules must be made by Friday at the cosplay competition table. Requests can also be made ahead of time by email to the cosplay competition staff.

Any rule infringement can and will result in disciplinary action by the cosplay competition staff. The cosplay competition staff reserves the right to remove any cosplayers based on conduct, safety, or for any other reason deemed sufficient.

Questions? Email our Cosplay department.