Masquerade Ball Rules and Guidelines


Event Details

  • When: Thursday, June 6th, 2019 (Hours TBA later this year!)
  • Where: Fort Worth Convention Center, Ballroom (2nd Floor)
  • Theme: TBA


  • The A-Kon® masquerade ball is a formal event.
  • You must be at least 13 years of age to enter.
  • A valid A-Kon badge is required for entry.
  • Formal dress is required for entry.
  • All participants will be required to wear a mask.
  • Dress code will be strictly enforced.

Prior to entry, outfits and masks will be checked at the event to make sure they meet the guidelines specified here. If your outfit fails to meet requirements, you will not be allowed to enter the masquerade. You are welcome to go change into appropriate formalwear and try again. Detailed information and examples are provided below to help you plan your outfit for the masquerade.


For those of you who enjoy refereshments, there will be a cash bar located in the ballroom foyer. Any refreshments purchased from the cash bar will be allowed inside the ballroom during the masquerade event. By law, you must be 21 years of age or older and provide a valid government issued photo ID to purchase alcoholic beverages.


If you would like to take pictures and you are already attending the event, go ahead! Photographers with press badges may enter without costume as long as they are documenting the event. Anyone else, even with a camera, must wear appropriate attire to be allowed into the dance.


If you have specific accessibility requests or considerations you would like us to make, we encourage you to email us at prior to the event. (if possible)



Make sure whatever mask you choose covers at least one eye, but try not to impair your field of vision. Masks worn to the masquerade ball should be masquerade-style masks. You may attach your mask to your face with ribbons, elastic, body adhesive, spirit gum, etc., or it may be a stick mask that you hold in front of your face. Masks are traditionally intended to hide your identity, so please wear your mask at all times during the ball!

Distinguishing masks worn by a specific character that is NOT a masquerade-style mask are not allowed. For example, Batman, Spiderman, and Guy Fawkes masks/cowls are not acceptable because they are not masquerade-style masks. However, a Zorro mask would be okay because it is a masquerade-style mask (as seen below). You may, however, wear a masquerade-style mask decorated in a way that is inspired by a character (painting it with a character’s costume colors or patterns, etc.).

Acceptable Masks:

  • Masquerade-style (harlequin-style, domino-style, etc.)

Click HERE for examples of acceptable masks.

Unacceptable Masks:

  • J-Fashion/painters’ masks that cover just the nose and mouth
  • Gas masks
  • Goggles
  • Wrestling masks
  • Distinguishing “Character masks”
  • “Halloween masks” – character masks, rubber full-face masks of monsters, politicians, animals, etc.
  • Helmets
  • Masks that cover your entire head
  • Masks that are painted onto your face
  • A paper plate with holes in it

Click HERE for examples of unacceptable masks.


All footwear should adhere to the formal rules. All parts of the footwear must be formal in style; athletic shoes or boots and footwear with rugged or athletic soles will not be allowed. Footwear must not be torn, dirty, or scuffed. Sneakers/tennis shoes are not formal.

Acceptable Footwear:

  • Dress boots
  • Men’s dress shoes
  • Dressy ballet flats
  • High-heeled pumps/strappy heels

Click HERE for examples of acceptable footwear.

Unacceptable Footwear:

  • flip flops/thong sandals/espadrilles
  • heavy boots
  • clunky platform boots
  • slippers/house shoes
  • sneakers/tennis shoes
  • No Shoes/Bare Feet

Click HERE for examples of unacceptable footwear.

Black tennis shoes of any kind (including leather) and work shoes are not considered dress shoes and will not be allowed.

If you choose to make shoe or boot covers to match an outfit that you have made, make sure that they look finished and neat, without any loose or fraying edges.

Please remember that this is a dance, so you will probably be moving around a lot. Try to choose shoes that you will be comfortable dancing in.

Traditional Western Dress


Acceptable Attire:

  • Fancy dresses, prom dresses, and evening gowns
  • Tailored suits

Click HERE for examples of acceptable western dress for women.

Unacceptable Attire:

  • Excessively tight clothing
  • Anything you would wear to a dance, club or rave
  • Short cocktail or party dresses
  • Casual dresses

Click HERE for examples of unacceptable western dress for women.


For those planning to dress in male formal attire, a tuxedo would be delightful and encouraged.

Acceptable Attire:

  • Tuxedo
  • Suit
  • Nice button-up long sleeved shirt with a tie, slacks, belt, and dress shoes
  • Vests and/or jackets are highly encouraged
  • Fancy Highland dress**

**Kilts do not necessarily need to be traditional wool, but they should be tartan and of a more traditional cut. Utility or ultra-casual pocketed kilts are not formal enough, and will not be allowed in. For more traditional styles, you are more than welcome to wear a jacket, but more “fantasy” looks will also be allowed, with a poet-style shirt. Please wear kilt hose, flashes, belt, and sporran with both, and please do not bring sgian dubh or any other form of ornamental weapon, as this is prohibited by A-Kon’s weapons policy. Footwear rules still apply; you may wear ghillie brogues or some other type of dress shoes.

Click HERE for examples of acceptable western dress for men.

Unacceptable Attire:

  • Jeans (even dark colored ones)
  • Utility or ultra-casual pocketed kilts
  • T-shirts, polos and casual shirts
  • Any other dress that would be considered casual

Click HERE for examples of unacceptable western dress for men.

Traditional Eastern Dress

Those wearing formal Eastern dress should be dressed just as nicely – formal kimono, haori and hakama, cheongsam, hanbok, aodai, etc. While sandals are not allowed with other outfits, you may wear nice-looking zori or geta with Japanese formal attire. Sari and formal shalwar kameez are allowed.

Click HERE for examples of acceptable eastern dress.

Military Dress

Formal fictional military uniforms (i.e. formal SeeD uniforms from FFVIII) are ok, but all parts (footwear, mask, fit, etc.) must adhere to the rest of the rules.

Military personnel are welcome to wear dress uniforms.

No offensive historical military uniforms or costumes will be allowed. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Axis uniforms
  • Confederate uiforms
  • Hitler Youth uniforms
  • Apartheid-era South African uniforms
  • Burmese junta uniforms

Click HERE for examples of acceptable military dress. (fictional)

Cosplay Dress

While cosplay is welcome, we ask that all cosplayers choose attire that fits the rules. If there is a character you absolutely love, but their outfit doesn’t fit the rules, you can either convert their outfit to fit the rules or plan to bring a different outfit. Anime Boston has a fantastic guide located HERE for those who would like to convert character dress to formal dress.

Crossplay is also allowed if it is done seriously and if the attire adheres to the rules.

Please see the section on Props, Wings, etc. for more information related to cosplay.

Click HERE for examples of acceptable cosplay dress.

Alternate/Street Fashions

Alternate fashion outfits based on fantasy/sci-fi/historical costume are all welcome as long as all parts of the outfit are formal and meet our guidelines (see Traditional Western Dress, Skirt Length, Props, etc.).

Those wishing to wear Lolita fashion must follow all existing rules as seen in Western-style formal wear, including those regarding skirt length. Outfits must be appropriately formal in cut and fabric, for example: gothic, classic, and other styles in heavy cotton, velvet, chiffon, and other formal fabrics are recommended. OTT sweet and deco styles, salopettes, etc. will be considered too casual for this event.

Skirt Length

Skirts must be at least knee length. Short cocktail/party dresses are not formal enough for this occasion. For dresses with lace or transparent overlays, the opaque skirt underneath must be knee length or longer. For high-low dresses, the shortest part of the skirt must be knee length or longer. Slits in skirts must be no higher than mid-thigh; dresses with higher slits will need to be pinned or sewn by the wearer in order to be allowed in. Short pants (knee length, as in ouji/kodona or boy-style Lolita fashion) will be allowed if the rest of the attire fits the rules.

Props, wings, etc.

While we would love to allow large props and wings, we ask that you do not bring them to prevent damage to them or injury to yourself or others. For safety reasons, large and bulky costumes such as mascot suits or mecha will not be allowed, even if they are wearing formal attire. Fursuits or any other costume with a mask that covers your whole head thereby impairing your vision (including kigurumi and zentai suits/morphsuits) will not be allowed for the same reason. Canes may be carried if required for mobility assistance.

Prop weapons will not be allowed into the Masquerade Ball. If you have weapon props attached to your costume, please remove them before attending our event. Capes may be worn, as long as the attire worn underneath them meets all the rules and the capes do not drag on the floor or otherwise present a tripping hazard.

Body paint other than on the face or neck is acceptable ONLY if it is thoroughly sealed and will not smudge. For safety of others’ formal attire, we recommend instead wearing a bodysuit or armsleeves (tutorials are available online) in the appropriate color.

Wigs in all colors are permitted as long as they are neat and tidy, as would be expected of real hair.

Personal Hygiene

The masquerade ball is a formal event. While we hate to call attention to this, please be sure to put the appropriate effort into your personal hygiene. We recommend that everyone take a shower before you get dressed, brush your teeth, and use mouth wash, gum, or a mint where applicable. Because this is a dance with formal wear, please make sure to apply plenty of deodorant! We also ask that you apply body spray, perfume, or cologne sparingly if you have to at all. Others may be allergic or sensitive to strong scents so please avoid drenching yourself in these items.

Still have questions?

If you have questions or need additional help with the masquerade ball, please contact us at

Don’t forget we are a volunteer powered show, so sometimes we need a little time to respond to you since most of us work full time jobs outside of A-Kon. That said, we try really hard to get back to everyone within a couple of days, but we are human beings and sometimes we fail. Please don’t wait more than 7 to 10 days for a response. If we haven’t responded by then, we probably missed your email or it got eaten by the interwebs. Likewise, make sure you check your spam folder, sometimes we get lost and end up there by accident.