Cosplay Competition Rules and Guidelines


Click HERE to sign up for the A-Kon 29 Cosplay Contest.

The Cosplay Contest deadline for entries is April 15th, 2018 @ 11:59pm.


  • Entrants must have a valid A-Kon badge in order to participate.
  • Entrants 13 and under must have their parents’ permission to enter, and must be accompanied by a legal guardian or adult relative at the show.
  • By entering this contest you agree to read and abide by all rules as posted and that failure to do so will result in your disqualification from the contest and/or removal from the event. Upon check-in, all entries will be required to sign their entry form to verify that they have read the rules and agree to adhere to them or be dropped from the contest.
  • A-Kon Cosplay Staff and A-Kon reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone to the Cosplay event for any reason.

Contest Guidelines

  • Cosplay is a PG-13 event. Offensive language and sexual humor is not allowed. Be clever, not crass. Judgment on appropriateness of material is left to the discretion of the Cosplay Director and Cosplay Staff.
  • All costumes must provide as much body coverage as a bikini. Body paint, latex pasties, thongs, etc. are not considered adequate body coverage on their own. Underwear and/or supportive garments must be worn underneath revealing or skin-tight costumes. If your costume does not meet this criteria you may be asked to change or not permitted to walk the stage.
  • Entrants must exhibit good sportsmanship and remain professional at all times. Rude behavior and offensive remarks or insults toward staff, judges, or other entrants may be considered grounds for disqualification.
  • Entrants must be able to enter and exit the stage quickly on their own or with the assistance of a handler. If your costume/prop cannot make it onto the stage, please enter the Hall Cosplay contest instead. Cosplay staff will not be able to provide a handler for you.
  • Entrants may not enter costumes entered in any previous A-Kon Cosplay contests. (Main Cosplay contest, Hall Cosplay contest, etc.)
  • In order to prevent sandbagging, entrants wishing to compete with costumes that have previously won a costume competition must declare this upon registration. Entrants may not compete in a costume that has won a major award at another large convention.
  • Costumes entered must be presented with reference images and recreate characters from anime, manga, animation, etc. Original characters will not be permitted; however, art book variations and reinterpretations of existing characters (including gijinka) will be allowed with an accompanying reference.

How and When to Enter

  • Signups for the A-Kon 29 Saturday night Cosplay Contest will begin on March 15, 2018. All entries are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline for online entries is April 15, 2018.
  • ONLINE ENTRIES ONLY.​ Absolutely no entries for either the skit or walk-on contests will be accepted on-site.
  • To enter, the entrant (or group leader) is required to submit the Cosplay Sign-Up Form online (to be posted March 15, 2018). Please submit only one entry per group.
  • Audio for skit entries must be submitted to on or before May 20, 2018 for approval.
  • Each entry must submit at least two (2) reference images, either at the time of entry or emailed to prior to the April 15 entry deadline. Entries without reference images cannot be judged and will be disqualified.
  • If your entry is confirmed, you must check in at Cosplay HQ (TBA) at your scheduled judging time or you will be dropped from the contest. When you check in, you must let us know how many parents/handlers you will be bringing backstage with you so we can make sure enough seats are available.

Walk-on Rules

  • Walk-ons will be performed to runway-style music chosen at the discretion of Cosplay Staff.
  • Walk-on entries will be limited to 30 seconds, and may include up to 5 people.
  • Walk-on entries are required to attend craftsmanship judging. Walk-on entries that do not come to craftsmanship judging will not be eligible to receive awards and may be dropped from the contest.

Skit Rules

  • Skits will be primarily judged on performance and visual impact. Craftsmanship judging is optional, and purchased/commissioned costumes will be permitted if permission is granted by the creator.
  • Skit entries that are judged for craftsmanship will additionally choose a Walk-On craftsmanship division and be eligible for craftsmanship based awards.
  • All skit audio must be pre-recorded, including all dialogue, music, and sound effects. Audio tracks must be received by the Cosplay Director no later than May 20, 2018 for review and testing.
  • Written scripts will not be accepted in lieu of recorded audio in order to meet the deadline. Any skit entries that do not submit a pre-recorded soundtrack by the deadline will be disqualified.
  • Should a soundtrack be deemed inappropriate, entrants will be allowed to re-record it once. After audio has been approved, it may not be changed or resubmitted for ANY reason. If submitted audio tracks exceed the time limit, they will be cut off at 3 minutes.
  • Dance skits must feature original choreography. Dancing along to music videos is fun, but please show off your own talents!
  • Skit performances will be limited to 3 minutes on stage with one minute allowed for setup.
  • Skit performances cannot exceed more than 10 people, including handlers and set crew (“stage ninjas”), and only 6 people may be on the stage at one time.

Stage Rules

  • No microphones may be used by the contestants at any time. ALL audio material must be pre-recorded and submitted as a skit entry (see above).
  • Everything brought onto the stage during a skit or walk-on entry must be removed at the end of the time limit. Messy substances including confetti, glitter, flower petals, and water are not allowed to be brought on the stage. Pyrotechnics or special effects such as fireworks, flash paper, or smoke machines will not be allowed on the stage or backstage area. You may not throw anything off the stage or into the crowd.
  • Non-firing toy weapons will be allowed on-stage without peace bonding, but any live weapons will result in immediate removal from the stage. No food, animals, or remote control devices are allowed on stage.
  • All stage fighting or acrobatics must be limited to half speed and quarter strength. One foot must remain on the floor at all times. Climbing onto the stage or leaping off the stage is prohibited.

Craftsmanship Judging

  • All costumes must be made by the entrant(s) or credited to the appropriate creator(s) on the entrant’s entry form. Creators not entering in costume must be present to receive awards. No purchased costumes will be considered for craftsmanship judging.
  • All walk-on entries must be at least 75% made or significantly modified from original garments. Entrants will be required to list any parts of the costume (styled wigs, props, etc.) that were purchased or commissioned upon entering the contest. Borderline costumes will be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
  • When filling out the entry form, you must choose a one-hour block during which your group will come in for judging. If your first choice is full, you will be asked to choose another. Each entry of up to 2 people will be allowed 3 minutes to present their costume to the judges; groups of 3+ people will be allowed one minute for each additional group member (up to a maximum of 6 minutes). Entries that go over their time limit may be disqualified. Please be courteous to your fellow cosplayers and to your judges by keeping your presentation brief!
  • Craftsmanship judging will take place in Cosplay HQ (TBA). Please arrive a few minutes early if possible in order to check in, as entries for each block will be judged in the order they arrive. If you arrive late, you may be rescheduled if time allows. If you find out in advance that you will not be able to make your timeslot, please contact us. Entries that do not show up for judging will be disqualified.
  • Reference images and progress binders may be used as part of craftsmanship presentations, but must be picked up from Cosplay HQ by 1pm on Sunday.


In all cases, if the Cosplay Head or a judge feels that you should be placed in a higher division based off the craftsmanship and presentation of your costume, your entry may be changed to that higher division. Groups will be considered a single entry, combining all awards won by its participants.

Any division receiving fewer than [4] entries will be omitted from the contest and entries will be moved to different divisions as appropriate for their level.

Walk-On Divisions

  • Novice:
    • This division is intended for costumers with little to no prior experience in making costumes, and no formal training in costume or fashion.
    • Novice Division entrants must not have won more than one award of any level at previous conventions.
  • Intermediate:
    • This division is intended for people with some to moderate experience making costumes, some formal training in costume or fashion, or who have competed previously and won more than one award.
    • Intermediate division entrants must not have won more than five minor or three major awards at previous conventions.
  • Masters:
    • The Masters division is intended for people with advanced formal training in costuming or fashion, extensive experience in making costumes, or who have won several awards for costumes.
    • Anyone may choose to enter this division.
    • Professional costumers must enter in this division.


  • Major Awards:
    • Best in Show ​- This award is to be granted to the entry that shows an overall exceptional degree of craftsmanship and execution. This award may be given to an entry in any division.
    • Best in Division (Walk-On)​ – Given to a solo entrant who has shown an exceptional degree of craftsmanship and presentation for their division.
    • Runner-Up in Division
    • Best Skit ​- Given to a skit which demonstrates exceptional performance and execution.
    • Skit Runner-Up
    • Best Craftsmanship ​- Given to an entry which displays an exceptional degree of craftsmanship.
  • Special Awards:
    • The People’s Choice​ – This award is given to the entry that receives the biggest audience response.
    • Judges’ Awards​ – Each judge may grant an award to an entry that they feel is exceptional. Crafting Special Mention: These awards may be given to recognize the work of a particular entry, in addition to any other awards won.
    • Best Sewing ​- best execution of sewing techniques
    • Best Armor​ – best execution of armor techniques
    • Best Prop​ – best execution of propmaking techniques
    • Best Wig​ – best execution of wig-styling techniques