Masquerade Costume Competition

This year Convolution will be hosting its first ever Masquerade Costume Competition!  The Masquerade will be our gala event on Saturday evening.   It offers an opportunity for costumers and cosplayers to show off their work.  Whether this is your first project or thirty-first, all experience levels are welcome to participate in the Masquerade.

If you are planning on wearing a costume to Convolution or exploring Halfway Station in character, then consider entering the Masquerade.

Masquerade Rules

•Every entrant must be a registered attendee of Convolution. If the maker and presenter of the costume are different people, both must be attending members.

•You (or a representative of your group) must attend the Pre-Masquerade Meeting. Failure to attend the meeting (without making previous arrangements with the Masquerade Director) can result in your entry being taken out of the Masquerade. More information on this important meeting can be found at the end of this section.

•Purchased and rented costumes may not be submitted for judging of any type, with the following exception: costumes using less than 50% purchased parts may ask for judging, as long as those purchased elements are thoroughly disclosed to all judges (so that they may be discounted).

•Practical applications of the above rule: if you got your costume off the web, or purchased all in thrift stores or eBay, you are ineligible for competition. If you bought your costume items and then altered them yourself to fit you (or your friend) better, you are still ineligible for competition unless the alteration significantly changes the original garment structure. It will be the Masquerade Director’s decision in that case whether the costume can compete.

•If your costume doesn’t qualify for competition, we still welcome your presence on stage in the Exhibition category!

•You may appear on stage once, in one costume.

•You do not have to create a skit or presentation to go on stage. A simple catwalk (walk on, pause, turn, pause, walk off) works, too.

•Presentations have strict time limits. Solo entrants are limited to one minute. Entries of two or more are limited to two minutes. If you have a REALLY LARGE group, contact the Masquerade Director before the Masquerade about the time you will need. Any entry going beyond the stated time limit will be disqualified.

•Entrants under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian sign the entry form.

•This is a family show. Your costuming – and your skit – needs to be a PG-13 rating or less. No costume is NO costume! (Don’t get on stage naked.)

•No materials or effects that will leave a mess on stage or in the green room are allowed. No materials or effects that may ruin another entrant’s costume are allowed.

•No live animals on stage, unless it’s a service animal.

•No pyrotechnics or any other open flames are allowed.

•Weapons must be peace-bonded when not on stage. If you plan on wielding your weapon as part of your presentation, you must advise the Masquerade Director of what exactly you plan on doing on stage at the Pre-Masquerade Meeting. Failure to do so can result in disqualification. This is for the safety of the entrant, the judges, the Director, the rest of the Masquerade staff, the other entrants, and the audience.

Pre-Masquerade Meeting

The Pre-Masquerade Meeting will take place on Saturday morning at a time to be determined. Each entry must be represented, unless prior arrangements have been made with the Masquerade Director. At the meeting, you will turn in your entry forms (if you haven’t already), along with any music or soundtrack CDs and documentation. The Masquerade staff will review your paperwork with you, and will inform you about Green Room times and procedures.

Why is this meeting mandatory? You will know where to be when for the Masquerade, and you will be assured that the Masquerade staff understands your requirements. It also benefits the Masquerade staff, because by meeting with you prior to the event, we will get a real sense of what you and everyone else will be doing. This information will help in planning a running order and how to best set up the Green Room.

Technical Stage Stuff

The following are important technical concerns for entrants in the Masquerade.

•There will be NO live mikes on the stage. All sound/music must be pre-recorded and brought by the entrants to the pre-masquerade meeting.

•Music/soundtracks must be burned on to a CD-ROM in MP3 or WAV format. Also, bring 2 copies of the disc, just in case.

•Please do not bring us a commercial CD with a note along the lines of “Track 3, 45 seconds in, please” because the correct playing of it cannot be guaranteed. Please take the time to edit your music exactly how you want it.

•Label the disk with your real name, your entry name and a contact phone number (preferably a mobile number).

•At the Pre-Masquerade Meeting, the Director will collect music/soundtracks from you. Since you’ve brought two copies, keep one, and give the other to the Director.

•The lighting setup is basic, generally “lights up” and “lights down”. Tech may not be able to accommodate any special lighting needs.

•The MCs will be willing and able to read out a short piece of commentary/description before and/or during your number, if you wish. There is a section for your script on the MC form. Please print legibly, or type up something ahead of time to attach to the MC form. Pre-printed text (in 14-16 point font) is highly encouraged.

•In the Green Room, the MCs will check in and meet with all entrants to confirm how to pronounce your name, how you want to be introduced, etc.

•If you have large props, or a costume that limits your mobility, please bring your own assistants to help you/it/them on and off the stage. Although we will have a limited number of backstage ninjas available, we cannot guarantee they will give you the same level of service your own dedicated crew would give.


Participating in the judging aspect of the Masquerade is purely voluntary. If you don’t like competing, or if your costume doesn’t actually qualify for competition, you are still welcome and encouraged to appear on stage as an Exhibition entry. Appearing on stage gives your outfit maximum exposure to the convention attendees with minimal amounts of work.

There are two types of judging: presentation and workmanship.  Everyone is encouraged to participate in both workmanship and presentation judging. After all, if you don’t enter, you won’t win!

•Presentation – Evaluates how your costume is presented on the stage (not the quality of your performance).

Do you inhabit your character’s body when you move on stage? Is your presentation (no matter whether it’s a walk-through or a full-fledged skit) appropriate to the character and costume? The judges discuss these kinds of questions as they debate which entries deserve prizes.

•Workmanship – is the ‘up close’ judging of a costumer’s technique. This occurs in the green room, before the show.

Our workmanship judge will get up close and personal with your costume and props in the Green Room prior to the actual start of the Masquerade. You will have the opportunity to show off details that you’re particularly proud of, that won’t be that visible on stage, as well as chat with the judge about overall construction tricks and techniques used to create your costume. You can pass on Workmanship judging and still participate in Presentation judging.

◦If you have a re-creation costume (i.e. a costume that’s a recreation of a costume from another source, like pretty much anything worn by characters on tv, in film, on the web, in manga, in anime), you should bring along some form of documentation for the judges. This documentation doesn’t have to be elaborate: a few photos of the costume will suffice. The judges may not be familiar with the source costume. You may turn your documentation in with your entry forms and your music/soundtrack at the Pre-Masquerade Meeting.

Classes of Competition

Novice: You have not won a major prize in any other Masquerade. (A “major prize” is an award that doesn’t involve the words “Honorable Mention.”) This category is ideal for first-time entrants, and for those with limited Masquerade experience. Professional costumers, however, can’t enter as a Novice, even if it’s a first Masquerade for him/her. (A professional costumer is a person who makes more than 50% of his/her living off of costuming.)

Open: Anyone who has won a major prize at a Masquerade, or a Novice who’s feeling extremely confident. (The Novice class exists to give Masquerade newcomers a chance to compete without being judged against more experienced entrants.) Professional costumers desiring to compete would enter

Young Fan: Entrants no older than 16 who participated in the design and construction of their costumes. Children wearing costumes made by adults should enter the Novice or Open categories.

Exhibition: This category is for those entrants who either don’t want to compete or have a costume that doesn’t qualify for competition, but still want the chance to show off their costume in front of a large captive audience.