Cosplay Rules

Cosplay Sign Up Information
Attendees wishing to compete in the cosplay competition will be able to sign up Friday from 9pm-10:30pm, and Saturday from 10:00am until 3:00pm at the Cosplay Registration desk.

General Cosplay Rules

  • Dress Code: All cosplayers must wear the following articles at all times while inside the convention center.
  • Clothing: This is a family friendly event. No costume is considered No Costume. Absolutely no nudity. Please ensure that all costumes are properly secured at all times and are not prone to “indecent accidents”.
  • Footwear: To ensure your safety, we ask that you wear footwear at all times. You should consider wearing a minimum of sandals (ie, flip flops) at all times even if your character is barefoot. Skates and rollerblades are prohibited in the hallways. Sneaker-skates may only be worn as a sneaker at all times inside the convention area. We will not be held accountable for any damages or injuries that occurs due to inadequate or improper footwear.
  • Weapons Policy: Please refer to our weapons policy.
  • Mock or Play-fighting is not allowed in the hallways and convention area. Wielding or handling weapons or props in a way that could potentially cause harm to others is prohibited, whether there was intent to harm others or not. Mock-fighting is allowed on stage during cosplay but must be carefully rehearsed, reviewed and approved by cosplay staff.
  • Large Costumes: Please be sure to keep all large costumes contained as much as possible. We recommend the use of handlers to help manage your costume if it is large costume. Large costumes or large parts of costumes are not allowed inside the dealer’s room due to blocking the flow of traffic and other hazards.
  • Picture taking: Do not stop for pictures in smaller, crowded hallways. Please go outside, to a less crowded area, or to the designated picture taking areas. Do not block doors, ramps, exits, corridors, and aisles while taking pictures.

We reserve the right to remove you from the convention and/or cosplay events at any time. If for any reason we feel that your actions pose a threat or hazard to others while at the convention, we will ask you to stop or you will be removed from the cosplay events. We simply ask you to be courteous towards others at all times.

Cosplay Contest

Want to show off your costume or awesome skit on stage? Why not participate in our Saturday night cosplay? Everyone entering the cosplay contest will need to check-in with cosplay staff on Friday. You do not have to be in costume during this time. Judging will take place on Saturday.

Information on the times and locations of cosplay registration and judging will be available as the convention date draws near.

ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST HAVE A BADGE: The convention and hotel requires that all participants have a valid badge prior to cosplay registration or check-in.

Getting on stage?

For those of you who have never competed in a cosplay contest before, you may be wondering how this is done. You will be going on stage to show off your costume, or going on stage to perform a skit for the audience. You are not required to perform a skit, but you are required to go on stage! Exceptions can be made, but please notify cosplay staff in advance.

Walk On: You will be going on stage for a few brief seconds, posing, and showing off your costume to the judges and audience. It’s a low-stress and fun way to participate in a cosplay contest. Think of it like a J-culture themed fashion runway show!

Performance (skits): Here, you will be going up to do some sort of performance for the audience, whether you are acting or doing a choreographed dance. These take some time and planning to do, but they are a great experience! For more specifics on skits and performance rules, please check the skit rules!

When you register for the cosplay, you will be given a chance to choose how you will be going on stage!

About Divisions:

Everyone entering the cosplay contest is required to choose a division. A division is simply your placement and competition level. Here’s what each division entails:

For Juniors (Ages 12 and under): For those who are 12 and under, you may choose which division you would like to enter (either Exhibition, Novice, Journeyman, or Master) depending on your experience level. We ask that any Juniors with costumes made by a parent or friend enter as Exhibition.

Non-Competition Division

Exhibition: This division is intended only for people who wish to show off their costume on stage for fun but is not interested in competing for awards. There are also various costumes or situations that we will only allow in the exhibition division:

  • Costumes that you did not make yourself. These include commissioned, store bought (such as Ebay), rented, borrowed costumes or closet cosplay (costumes made up of entirely existing/found parts with little to no modification).
  • Costumes that have already won at least one major award, and/or two minor awards in the past.
  • Costumes not of Japanese or East-Asian origin. Examples of this would be Disney Characters, Avatar the Last Airbender, or American Comics.

In the Exhibition division, you will not be receiving any awards. Nor will your costume be judged for craftsmanship.

Competition Divisions

The following divisions are for those who want to compete for awards with their costumes and/or performances. In order to compete here, your costumes must adhere to the following criteria:

  • Costumes must be of Japanese or East-Asian Origin.
  • All costumes must have been made from scratch or by heavily modified existing parts at least 70% or more by the costume creator.
  • Commissioned costumes cannot be entered in the competition divisions.

Beginner Division: This division is intended for those new to making their own costumes or performing on stage and has not competed much, if at all.

Criteria for Beginner Division:

  • No more than 1 major award won previously at a comparable-sized convention or larger for their costumes or performances.
  • No more than 3 minor awards won previously for their costumes or performances.
  • No more than 2 years of experience creating costumes or performing on stage.

Advanced Division: This division is intended for those who are more experienced with creating their own costumes or performing on stage.

Criteria for Advanced Division:

  • No more than 2 major award won previously at a comparable-sized convention or larger for their costumes or performances.
  • No more than 3 minor awards won previously for their costumes or performances.
  • No more than 3 years of experience creating costumes or performing on stage.

Master Division: This division is intended for those who have adequate experience with creating their own costumes or performing on stage.

Criteria for Master Division:

  • More than 3 major awards won previously at a comparable-sized convention or larger for their costumes or performances.
  • More than 3 minor awards won previously at a comparable-sized convention or larger for their costumes or performances.
  • More than 3 years of experience creating costumes or performing on stage.

Awards

Beginner: Best Beginner Runner-Up and Best Beginner will be awarded for craftsmanship and performance. Best Beginner is considered a major award.

Advanced: Best Advanced Runner-Up and Best Advanced will be awarded for craftsmanship and performance. Best Advanced is considered a major award.

Master: Best Master Runner-Up and Best Master will be awarded for craftsmanship and performance. Best Master is considered a major award.

Best Overall Craftsmanship: This award will be given to the entrant(s) with the best craftsmanship. Best Overall Craftsmanship is considered to be a major award.

Best Overall Performance: This award will be given to the entrant(s) with the best performance. Best Overall Performance is considered to be a major award.

Judges Awards: All of the judges will be giving awards away to whomever they would like based on their own personal criteria. This is considered a minor award.

There will be no Best In Show. Participants may enter in both craftsmanship and performance and if the judges see that a group has both excellent craftsmanship and an excellent performance, they are eligible to win both Best Overall Craftsmanship and Performance.

All About Costume Judging

Remember that in order to have your costume judged for craftsmanship, you must enter for one of the competition divisions, Beginner, Advanced, or Master! It also must meet the criteria listed above!

When you register/check-in for the cosplay contest, you will be able to schedule an appointment to have your costume judged for craftsmanship. Here are some things that you need to know about the judging process!

  • Bring reference: A reference is a picture of the character that you are cosplaying. Without a reference, we cannot accurately judge your costume for craftsmanship. It would be beneficial to your score to bring as much reference as possible, preferably as a color printout, but bringing figures, tablets, manga, books, laptops, etc., will also be accepted.
  • Be prepared to talk about your costume: Come in knowing what you want to say. Tell the judges everything about how you made your costume. Things you should talk about include fabric, construction methods, or any special methods you used to get around a problem in designing the costume. The judges will be there to help guide you in your costume judging.
  • The judges will look at your costume up close: Make sure that your hems and seams are finished properly! Your costume may look great from 5 feet away, but if it looks sloppy up close or on the inside, you won’t score as high! Take time now to make sure that your costume is as neat as possible. Also, don’t forget to iron!

Judging Appointments: There will be 40 judging appointments available. They will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis! We will give each entrant 5 minutes for the judging process as a guideline, but if you pass it, don’t worry. Generally, the time is spent half discussing your costume, and half looking at your costume up close.

Skit/Performance

All performance entries are subject to the following rules. Disregarding these rules may result in disqualification and/or you could be asked to leave the event.

  • Costumes and skits must be PG-13 Cursing, sexual or explicit content, and obscene gestures are not permitted.
  • Skits must be no longer than 3 minutes in length. Skits that run on longer than 4 minutes (within reason) will be disqualified from any awards. For this reason, we encourage you to pre-record your skits unless it absolutely must be performed live (such as playing an instrument). 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.
  • No surprises! What you present to us during your pre-screening session is what we will see when you go on stage during the event.
  • Objects and activities not permitted on stage: No live steel and firearms, incendiary devices (such as sparklers, firecrackers or smoke bombs), messy substances (including glitter, petals, confetti etc). No throwing of objects will be permitted. If you hit the equipment or judges with thrown objects (ie, Pokeballs) you will be disqualified. No acrobatics or jumping off stage. All staged fighting must be reviewed and approved by the cosplay staff.
  • Reckless Behavior resulting in falling off stage, or breaking/damaging equipment (or nearly doing so) will result in disqualification. If you break something, you buy it. So please keep this in mind.
  • Member Limit: Your group can be as large as you’d like it to be, but no more than 5 people should be on stage at a time. If your group involves staged fighting, no more than 3 people should be on stage at any given time.
  • What goes on stage with you MUST come off stage as you leave.
  • Direct Interaction is Forbidden! You may not interact with the emcee or judges. You may not ask audience members to come up on stage, unless it was planned ahead of time with the audience member/group member. However, you may interact or attempt to get response out of the audience members from the stage (such as holding up an “applause” sign).

Mandatory Pre-Screening Sessions
Pre-screening will be done by appointment. You will be able to set up a time to have your skit pre-screened for content. All performances must be previewed by the cosplay head prior to being allowed to go on stage. This must be completed BEFORE 4pm on Saturday.

Weapons Policy

We have a few important rules regarding weapons and props for cosplay and items that may be purchased in the dealer’s room.

Weapons NOT Permitted

  • NO LIVE STEEL at all will be permitted on the premises. Live steel is defined as swords, knives, bayonets, cane-swords, and/or other objects made of metal, which can take an edge. This holds true regardless of whether the object is actually sharp. This includes star knives/shurikens.
  • Real Swords will be allowed on stage for the masquerade/cosplay contest only, but they are not to be swung.
  • GUNS: The following types of guns are NOT PERMITTED.

- Real guns
- Stun guns

Water guns are permitted as long as they are not loaded. Airsoft guns are allowed as well, as long as you keep the orange tip on and they are not loaded. Please keep any water guns or airsoft guns within the convention space, and away from the public resort areas, as there are resort guests who may feel threatened.

  • There are to be no explosives or chemicals of any kind, including but not limited to smoke powder, sparklers and fireworks.

Weapons and Props Permitted

  • Bokens, wooden swords, walking sticks.
  • Fake or made-up prop weaponry (for example, made of wood, foam, bondo, resin, plaster, cardboard, etc) are permitted if they are safe and not dangerous to the other con-goers around you. For example, dangerous conditions include but are not limited to wires sticking out, items that trip passersby, clothes lining a member, etc.

Please try to limit the size of prop to less than 8 feet in height and weighing less than 50 pounds. If you do happen to make something heavy, make sure you are able to carry it without a problem.

Behavior with weapons

Anything can be innocent or harmful depending on how it’s being handled. If you handle something innocently, you won’t be bothered about it. If it appears that what you are carrying may become a problem, we will ask you to put it in your room/car. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Any weapon purchased in the dealers’ room that is boxed, should remain boxed and stored in your private quarters. Weapons are not to be taken out of their packaging or wrappings while at the convention.

All questionable items will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Anything deemed illegal outside the convention is deemed illegal inside the convention premises. All staff decisions on weapons are final.