Cosplay Costume Contest presented by
Texas Renaissance Festival
After a little bit of a makeover, Comicpalooza is proud to bring back the Cosplay Contest for 2016! So, ready, get set: Start Your Sewing Machines!
The Cosplay Contest is a chance to show off your costuming skills on the main stage and win an award! The contest will take place at 7pm on Saturday evening in the GA. This event, for those of you unfamiliar with cosplay contests, is where you go toe to toe with other cosplayers in order to put your skills to the test.The walk-on portion of the contest will run similar to a fashion show. Need a little motivation to show off your crafting skills? There are many reasons to participate in this year’s costume competition: the roar of the crowd, the applause, constructive critiques from experienced judges (available upon request via email to the cosplay coordinator, only available for craftsmanship competitors) and some fabulous prizes.
Top prizes will be cash cards, because, hey, who doesn’t like money and recognition? Only those competing for craftsmanship in their category can win 1st or 2nd Runner Up (the cash prizes). Only participants who made 80% or more of their costume and competed for craftsmanship are eligible for Best-in-Show. Money’s not your thing? Don’t fret, because there will be some awesome goodies from our sponsors as well! As prizes are acquired, the prize breakdown will be amended, which means you should keep checking back to see what else you could possibly win and if more subcategories have been added.
This year the contest will have two Divisions: Walk On and Skit. Walk On competitors will have 40 seconds on stage to strut their stuff in character and pose for the crowd and judges. The categories for Walk On will be Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. The Beginner category is for people who have just started making their own costumes and haven’t won any awards. The required percentage for this skill level is much lower than the Intermediate and Advanced categories, and craftsmanship awards won’t be available. The Intermediate category is for people who have more experience costuming and/or have won a few category or judges awards. The Advanced category is for people who have won best in show/1st at another competition and/or have three or more major awards. Skits will have 3-1/2 minutes on stage to entertain the crowd and judges. Winners will be announced after the halftime show and brought back on stage.
For those interested in signing up for our cosplay contest, it’s critical that you read the Cosplay Contest Rules prior to signing up for the contest, as you are bound by the cosplay rules even if you do not read them. Remember, if you are competing for Craftsmanship, you must provide proof of your costume-creation process. “Proof” is minimum of five progress shots, and if available, one reference picture or sketch or your design. Not having this proof will negatively affect your score. Print out photos of your work along the way. You will also need to attend a pre‐judging session on either Friday or Saturday. The pre‐meet directly before the cosplay contest is mandatory for all competitors. See rules for more details. All contestants will have to attend the pre‐meet at 6pm on Saturday and be in their costume for the contest. You will be in cosplay for four hours straight – the cosplay contest will be letting out at approximately 10pm. Please be prepared for this, and plan accordingly.
Sign Up During Comicpalooza
There will not be online registration for the cosplay contest this year. You will need to locate our Cosplay Registration table in the Dealer’s Room near the cosplay guest tables. The cosplay registration table will open from 11:30am to 4:00pm on Friday and 10:30am to 4:00pm on Saturday. (Exact location is TBA.) The available slots for competitors are limited, and signups this year will be first come, first served.You will need to be registered for the cosplay competition before you can attend a pre‐judging session. Pre‐judging sessions are from 2:30pm to 5:30pm on Friday and 2pm to 5pm on Saturday. Please be aware of potential time constraints and plan ahead so that you aren’t running late.
The rules on this page are subject to change, if you are interested in participating, please check this page often to ensure you are aware of any updated/added/changed rules. Please be advised that signing up for any cosplay contest is an affirmation that you agree to adhere to the rules presented on the Comicpalooza website as well as any decisions made by cosplay staff prior to, or during, Comicpalooza.
All cosplay events/panels have the potential to be photographed/filmed/recorded in some fashion. These recordings may be used in future galleries or promotions. Signing up for, and/or attending, any cosplay event is done with the understanding that recording could occur at any time and permission is tacitly given for the participant’s likeness to be used.
• You must be a registered attendee (have purchased a convention badge) in order to compete.
• Contestants under the age of 18 should be aware that they will need to have a parent available to sign a waiver in order for them to compete in the cosplay contest.
• The contest is open to characters from Movies, TV shows, Comic Books, Cartoons, video games and card games. Costumes should be from genres relevant to Comicpalooza.
• If your costume has won Best in Show before at Comicpalooza or another competition, you are not allowed to enter it in our contest. Rule breakers will be disqualified from craftsmanship.
• Adhere to the PG-13 rule when it comes to language/hand gestures on stage. Violation of this rule may cause you to be disqualified from the competition.
• Overtly political or religious statements are not allowed on stage. Violation of this may be grounds to be disqualified from the competition. (If you’re unsure about whether or not what you want to do will cross the line please ask by sending in an email or at the cosplay registration table. Don’t just do it.)
• Enter and exit the stage at the designated points only. There will be a wheelchair accessible ramp for contestants.
• Costumes must be handled by the contestant or handler(s) that the contestant brings to help. Comicpalooza will not be able to provide assistants.
• You are not allowed to throw anything off the stage (this means no projectiles) or use anything on stage that will leave behind a mess. This includes (but is not limited to) liquids, glitter and confetti. If you have a question about something you want to do feel free to send an email with “Costume Contestant Question” as the subject.
• It is also encouraged for all participants to keep at least one foot on the stage at all times.
• No pyrotechnics, fire, explosive devices, live animals, or similar special effects are to be used during the competition, this includes smoke/smog machines, and flash powder. Anyone who violates this rule may be disqualified from the competition and may be asked to leave the convention area depending on the severity of the incursion.
• All prop weapons must conform to the Comicpalooza Weapons Policy and go through weapons check.
• If your entry wins and you have multiple people in your Skit or Walk On, you will have to decide amongst yourselves how to split up your prize.
• Only entries competing for craftsmanship can win Best in Show or Best in Category & Runner up in the Advanced and Intermediate categories and the Skit division. (See the craftsmanship section for percentage requirements.)
• Children (age 12 & below, see children’s costume competition for more details) who need a parent to accompany them on stage will need to compete in the children’s costume competition instead of the main stage Costume Contest. However parent/child teams are allowed to compete in the main stage competition together.
• Each contestant may only enter one costume into the competition and can only be in one Division, Walk On or Skit.
• You can have up to six people in a walk on group. Costumes in the group should be correlating.
• If you attend the pre-judging session on friday you will still need to attend and participate in the pre-meet and the contest itself. Not participating in the stage portion of the competition is grounds for immediate disqualification.
• All contestants must be in the room where the pre-meet will occur no later than 6:10.
• We reserve the right to turn away any contest entry we deem inappropriate or not in compliance with the rules.
• Attendees not adhering to the rules may be subject to removal from the convention without refund.
• This is a family friendly convention; there will be children present. Swimsuit areas must be covered at all times.
• Be sure your costume or outfit has non-see-through material over the swimsuit areas for both male and females.
• If you are not covered properly, you will be asked to change.
• Men wearing costumes that are intended to be topless may remove their shirt for photos but must put the shirt back on when walking in public spaces.
• Body paint is allowed, but you must have a functioning top (for females) and bottom (for males and females) that covers the bikini area for females (thongs are not allowed) and modest Speedos for males.
• Certain cosplays may be difficult to constrain to our “swimsuit area and shirt” rules. In these cases, the prostheses in your costume must be of sufficient coverage to act as a respectable top and bottom.
• Profanity is not allowed to be displayed on costumes or signage.
• Wings should be collapsible/removable to prevent impeding crowds in tight spaces or accidentally injuring someone.
• Shoes, slippers, sandals or lyricals must be worn at all times in public spaces.
• Shoe removal is allowed for photos only.
All props will be checked before entry to the convention center. If asked to take your weapon to security, please comply.
• All prop weapons must adhere to state laws.
• There are no height or size limitations at this time for props or costumes.
• Props may not be made of solid metal; however, metal detailing is permitted.
• Props may not be swung, except in designated photo areas for action shots.
• As a courtesy, please review flag etiquette when carrying a national flag.
• Selfie sticks are currently permitted.
• Props heavy enough to cause injury may be declined on a case-by-case basis.
• Live steel (i.e., swords) are allowed but must be peace bound. Peace bonding is any tie that keeps a weapon in its sheath. Live steel purchased at the con should be checked by security once taken out of its packaging.
• Firing any type of projectile is not permitted.
• Large props and swords should be carried in a vertical, upright position when walking in public spaces.
• Powders, smoke bombs, sand or flash bangs for visual effects within public spaces are not allowed.
• Any signage must be connected with the character and not contain profanity.
Firearm & Projectile Props:
• All firearms must have a closed barrel with a visible orange tip. Removable barrel plugs are allowed, but can only be removed for photos.
• All airsoft and paintball weapons must be trigger-disabled and demonstrate to be unable to fire.
• Removable gun clips and moveable gun chambers must be empty and stuffed.
• Water gun barrels and attachment containers must be visibly empty.
• Firing any type of projectile is not permitted.
• If a gun prop is deemed to be too realistic, you may be asked to remove it from the con floor.
• Props must not use sound effects that can be mistaken for realistic weapons.
• Arrows and other projectiles must have metal tips removed. Plastic tip attachments will be allowed.
• Projectiles may not be fully strung and must be unable to fire projectiles if asked to demonstrate.
• Everyone has a maximum stage allotment of three and a half minutes. Your skit can be anywhere from a minute to three & ½ minutes long. You will have thirty seconds from your number being called to set up props and thirty seconds after you finish to pack up props, this minute of setup time does not count as part of your 3 &½ minutes of stage time.
• No more than seven people at a time are allowed on the stage (this includes stage ninjas). Please keep that in mind when planning out your act. Stage Dimension will be posted here ASAP (when I know you’ll know).
• The microphones will only be available for live singing, poetry reading & stand up comedy type of acts. If you’re not sure if your skit qualifies please send a brief description of your act to the cosplay coordinator’s email. Use “Can I have a Microphone for my Skit” as the subject.
• Everyone else will need to have their audio pre-recorded and in a Mp3/Mp4 format on a thumb drive. No CDs will be accepted. Audio will need to be turned in when you register at the Cosplay Registration Table.
• We will not be able to do lighting cues or effects.
• All skits will need to turn in a script/description of your act at the time of registration.
• Overt adult humor will not be allowed. Whatever it is needs to be able to fly over the heads of 13 year olds, i.e. PG-13 rated. (If you need examples of adult humor that flies over children’s heads go watch a few of the Shrek movies.) Keep in mind that the costume contest is a family friendly event despite how late it starts. There are some grey areas and that is why a script/description of your act is due at registration so we can either approve or disapprove the skit/act. Therefore if you’re unsure if something is acceptable you can send your skit/act description in ahead of time via email.
• If you have a choreographed fight scene in your act you need to use stage fighting techniques and be ¾ speed. We ask that you do not attempt stage fighting if you have no previous experience with it, this is to avoid accidents. It is also encouraged for all participants to keep at least one foot on the stage at all times.
• One person is allowed to work on multiple costumes for the skit, but they have to be a part of the performance. Everyone performing in the skit is allowed to help each other make their costumes and props.
• General rules for the competition will still need to be adhered to.
There will be a pre-meet before the cosplay competition in the Cosplay Staging Room at 6PM on Saturday. This pre-meet is where we will do a check in before briefly going over where you will enter and exit the stage. Explain etiquette for walk ons and skits. During check in you will be lined up and we will leave after the pre-meet is over to start the cosplay contest. Please, do NOT be late to the pre-meet, if you show up after 6:10 PM you are late. It is mandatory to attend the pre-meet if you’re going to take part in the contest. You WILL automatically be disqualified and removed from the list to compete if you are not in the room by 6:10 PM. If you have to drop, make sure you contact someone at the cosplay registration table ahead of time, or let someone on staff at the pre-judging session know you’re dropping. Only participants and handlers, if necessary, will be allowed in the room. Leave all personal belongings behind in your car/hotel room. Water bottles with a closed lid will be allowed into the pre-meet.
The pre-meet is mandatory for all contestants in both divisions regardless of whether or not you’re competing for craftsmanship.
You should show up to the pre-meet in costume ready for the contest.
Reminder: the Pre-Meet starts promptly at 6:00pm.
Contestants may bring their own music for the walk on Division, and skits have to provide their own audio track. All audio must be in mp3/mp4 format only on a thumb drive (USB). Music for walk-ons should be 45 seconds long and will be due when you sign up at the cosplay registration table. If you do not turn your music in when you register for the contest at the cosplay registration table, then you will be defaulted to using house music for your walk on. If there is an issue with your music (for example the file is corrupted) then house music will be used in its stead.
Skit audio should not be any shorter than than minute but no longer than 3 minutes and 30 seconds and needs to be in mp3/mp4 format on a thumb drive. No CDs. See skit specific rules for information about a microphone. Walk Ons will not be allowed a microphone.
• If you are signing up for Craftsmanship, you will NEED to provide proof of your costume creation process and attend a pre-judging session on Friday or Saturday. You must attend a session on the day you sign up (unless otherwise specified by the coordinator).
• Have at least 5 progress shots printed in color for the judges to review. Keep in mind that the judges will not have time to read any text if you choose to make a full portfolio, you can bring fabric samples if you’d like.
• Not having progress shots will negatively affect your score and can even lead to being disqualified from craftsmanship (this will be left to the judges’ discretion).
• To be judged for accuracy points print out a color reference picture, preferably a front and back, this can be turned in when you register for the competition. You may not be eligible for accuracy points if the judges are not familiar enough with your character to make a determination without a reference picture (they can chose to award you 0 points for accuracy).
• Craftsmanship offers point opportunities that will not be available to contestants who do not participate in the craftsmanship portion of the contest. You will NOT be able to qualify for Best in Show, First Runner up or Second Runner up if you are not competing in craftsmanship.
• Bodypaint costumes cannot be entered for craftsmanship.
• You can opt out of craftmanship but doing so disqualifies you from winning any of the awards that have a cash prize attached to them.
• Comicpalooza will not provide a printer on-site; however, there is a FedEx printing office located in the GRB Center.
• Each craftsmanship entry will get four minutes each with the judges during the pre-judge.
There is not a craftsmanship level for beginners. However to compete in this category you have to have made (or modified) at least 20% of your costume. This category is also for those who have never been in a cosplay competition before and/or do not have a lot of experience costuming (less than two years). Beginners are not eligible for the Best in Show award. However, they can be bumped up to intermediate, if they meet the percentage requirement, on a case by case basis and compete for craftsmanship. If bumped up and you meet the 80% requirement you will be eligible for Best in Show, yet again this will be on a case by case basis determined at the cosplay registration table upon registration (you cannot be bumped up after you register for your category). Beginners who plan to make 60-80% of their costume should have 5 progress shots and a reference picture since those will be necessary to compete for craftsmanship.
This level is for people with some costuming experience. You have to have made at least 60% of your costume to qualify for Craftsmanship in this category. If your experience level is Intermediate and you make less than 60% you will not be allowed to compete for craftsmanship and will not be eligible for cash prizes. If you made 80% or more you are eligible for the Best in Show award as well.
Advanced Craftsmanship is the category for you if you have previously won Best in Show at a costume competition. You have to have made at least 80% of your costume to qualify for Craftsmanship in this category. If your experience is Advanced and you make less than 80% you will not be allowed to compete for craftsmanship and will not be eligible for cash prizes. If you made 80% or more you are eligible for the Best in Show award as well.
Your group has to have to have made at least 70% of everything (costumes, props, audio* and scripts) to be able to compete in the skit division & qualify for your division’s craftsmanship. If you made 80% or more you are eligible for the Best in Show award as well. Skits will need two progress shots per performer and a reference picture (if available).
* Audio can include things like sound mixing, doing voice overs, splicing counts, etc.
The hours for the cosplay contest pre-judging are 2:30PM – 5:30PM on friday & 2PM-5PM on Saturday, location TBA. Only participants competing for craftsmanship need to attend a pre-judging session. You need to attend only ONE judging session – so whichever session you attend, be sure to wear the costume you entered into the contest (you must attend the session on the day you register). The judging spans two days. Only participants (and one to two handlers if necessary) will be allowed in the room. Leave all personal belongings behind in your car/hotel room with the exception of your progress and reference pictures/portfolio*. You will need to leave at least one of your pictures with the judges.
Be prepared for the judges to ask you questions about your creation process and inspect your costume. There may be seam checks, the judges may ask to touch parts of your costume. You will have several judges looking you over at once. There is no need to be too nervous; the judges are people who love costuming and acting in character just as much as you do.
Skits will not be performing for the judges at this time. However you will need to bring any props/backgrounds you made with you to pre-judging. You can bring progress shots of your props as well as costumes.
* If you have necessary medical supplies, you can bring those.
Cosplay prize breakdown is as follows:
Best in Show: $1,000
• Advanced – Best in Category: $500
• Advanced – Runner Up: $300
• Intermediate – Best in Category: $300
• Intermediate – Runner Up: $100
• 1st Place Beginner’s Category: TBA
• 2nd Place Beginner’s Category: TBA
• Best in Category: $400
• Runner Up: $200
You have questions? We have answers! If you have read through all the cosplay rules and still can’t find the answer to your question, please feel free to send an email to the address below. Our Cosplay Coordinator, Bex, will be happy to assist you. Rules for this contest can be found in the Cosplay Contest Rules.