Cosplay Contest

Craftmanship & Masquerade

Register for the cosplay craftsmanship contest, and you will be given a chance to show off your costume on stage! Even if you’d rather not be judged, we have an exhibition walk-ons category as well. This year’s theme is Knights vs Pirates. Mitsuki and Kitsuba would love to see what you come up with! There will be a special award for anyone that falls in the category of our theme! We have judging times for Friday AND Saturday! So make sure you come and see us at the Cosplay Table near the Manga Library.


Costumes that have won major awards (Best of category, First place, etc) at previous conventions will not be allowed to enter craftsmanship. They are permitted to enter performance but cannot be with a skit that has won an award at a previous convention. If you are unsure about this rule, please contact the cosplay department and ask.

No bullying other contestants. If you are found to be making negative comments or bullying in any portion of the contest, prejudging, green room, etc then you will be disqualified and asked to leave.

Judge’s decisions are final. There will be a feedback session for those interested in getting constructive feedback on their costumes. Please do not question their decisions. They are there to help you, not justify their choices.

Have fun! We are looking forward to seeing your costumes and want you to have the most enjoyable experience possible.


YOUTH: This category is for those who are 12 and under. You are allowed to receive help on your costume from friends and family.

NOVICE: This category is for contestants that are new to making costumes for themselves. No more than 1 major award.

JOURNEYMAN: This category is for contestants that have won no more than 3 major awards.

MASTER: This category for those who have more than 3 major awards.


For Craftsmanship categories all costumes must have been made from scratch by the costume creator. Most of your items need to be made by you. Commissioned or store-bought costumes cannot be entered into the contest but are welcome to be in the exhibition category or in performance. Fanart costumes will only be permitted in the original design category. All costumes must be derived from the original source material/artist/creator.

You can pre-register using the form below! You can also register at the convention, however, judging time preference will be given to those who pre-register first. Everything will be first-come first-serve for the contest at the cosplay sign-in table.

Remember, if your costume is being judged for craftsmanship you must have a printed reference of your character for the accuracy score. The judges will see dozens of costumes over the course of two days, so these really help them to remember you and what made you amazing! Please have your references and cosplays ready for your judging time.

Those who pre-register will sign up for their judging times before the con. Everyone else should come to the cosplay table to check-in and select a time to come back and get judged.

Every contestant will receive 5 minutes to talk about their costume, which will be timed. Tell the judges how you constructed your cosplay, how you decided on certain materials or patterns, and what you love about it and what you struggled with but overcame! This is your time to tell them how much you learned from the creative process, so keep it positive and try not to focus on the little things that you might still want to fix.

Judging will be in 10 minute blocks (5 minutes for you to talk, 5 minutes for logistics and judges to discuss and score) so make sure to come a little early for your time just in case someone drops or the judges finish talking early. You must be on time for your judging spot or you will have to re-register for a time if there is one still available. So coming early and waiting is encouraged!

Contest Categories

EXHIBITION: This category is for people who do not want to be judged and only want to show off their costume on stage for fun. It will not be for competing to receive awards. This category allows commission costumes and store-bought costumes. There will be a limit to this category depending on number of contestants.

CLOSET CONTEST: New! Contestants will not have a judging time, instead you will be judged on stage after the performances.  You will be judged on your walk on as well as how your costume looks.  You will have an Emcee introduction to include any fun things you want to say about your design!

CONVENTION THEME AWARD: Anyone entering will automatically be considered for this award if their cosplay fits this year’s theme for the convention.

DIVISION AWARDS: The best entries in each division–Novice, Journeyman, and Master–will receive 3rd, 2nd, and 1st place awards. If there are not enough entries in a category for three cosplayers to place, the judges may choose not to award one or more of the prizes.

BEST IN SHOW CRAFTSMANSHIP AWARD: This award will be given to the person or group with the best craftsmanship. Novice, Journeyman, and Master divisions are eligible for this award.

BEST IN SHOW PERFORMANCE AWARD: This award will be given to the entrant(s) with the best performance. Any performance is eligible for this award.

BEST CLOSET COSPLAY: This award will be given to the entrant with the most creative or well constructed costume made with found items, altered clothing pieces, or other store-bought unconventional materials.

YOUTH (Ages 12 and under): This category is for those who are 12 and under. You are allowed to receive help on your costume from friends and family.

ORIGINAL DESIGN: This category is for all costumes that are based on your own design or a fanart design. There is no award limitation for this category.

BEST ARMOR: This award will go to the most well-constructed armor among all entrants.

BEST MAKEUP: This award will go to the entrant with the most creative use of makeup, the smoothest application, or who is most accurate to the character design.

Other awards possible could be Judge’s choices, Honorable Mention, Best Wig, Best use of Materials, Etc.


All performance entries are subject to the following rules:

  • Costumes and skits must be PG-13. Tsubasacon is a family friendly event so please keep in mind if it is appropriate for children in the audience. If you are unsure whether your skit is appropriate, please feel free to email the Cosplay Coordinator for feedback.
  • Skits must be no longer than 3.5 minutes in length. So if you can, we encourage you to pre-record your skits unless it absolutely must be performed live. You will be given 30 seconds in which to enter and set up, as well as 30 seconds to clean up and leave the stage.
  • Objects and activities not permitted on stage: No live steel and firearms, incendiary devices (such as sparklers, firecrackers or smoke bombs). No throwing of objects will be permitted. If you hit the audience, equipment, or judges with thrown objects (i.e. Pokeballs) you will be disqualified.
  • Careless behavior on stage that could result in falling off stage, or breaking/damaging equipment (or nearly doing so) will result in disqualification. If you break something, you buy it. A lot of the equipment is property of the techs or rentals so please keep this in mind.
  • If you have a group performing try to limit how many are on stage at one time. There should be no more than 5 people on stage at a time. If your group involves staged fighting or a large dance group, no more than 3 people should be on stage at any given time. If there is stage fighting please get this approved by the Cosplay Coordinator ahead of time. This is a safety precaution since the stage will not be able to accommodate a lot of movement at one time.
  • What goes on stage with you MUST come off stage as you leave. So please nothing that will damage the stage like liquids, fake blood, or confetti that cannot be picked up easily. If you think it could be an issue, always check with the cosplay staff first.
  • You are allowed to compete both in craftsmanship and performance. You can chose to compete in different costumes for each contest but just be aware that it means people won’t get to see your craftsmanship entry on stage.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the convention in October! Be sure to join us!

Please Check-In to the Cosplay Registration Table when you arrive if you’d like to sign up or have any questions!

Please check in with the cosplay registration table if you're wanting to sign up, but online sign-ups are closed!


Register Online Until October 5th!

Single Day Badges available at convention!