Comicpalooza Houston Home

2018 Comicpalooza Cosplay Contest

Presented by 

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Saturday, May 26, 2018 | General Assembly | 7:30 PM

The rules on this page are subject to change, if you are interested in participating, please check the cosplay section of the website 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.

General Rules for the Competition

  • You must be a registered Comicpalooza attendee in order to compete.

  • Contestants under the age of 18 need a parent at the event to sign a waiver in order to compete in the cosplay contest.

  • Your costume must cover swimsuit areas – no nudity. Body-paint costumes are not eligible for craftsmanship.

  • The contest is open to characters from published works; movies, TV shows, comic books, cartoons, video games and card games. If your costume has won a major award before at Comicpalooza or another competition, you are not allowed to enter it in this year’s contest. Rule breakers will be disqualified.

  • Comicpalooza adheres 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 rule may be grounds to be disqualified from the competition. (If you're unsure about whether what you want to do will cross the line, please ask by submitting an email or inquiring at the cosplay registration table.)

  • During the contest 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 by handler(s) the contestant brings to help. Comicpalooza will not provide assistants.

  • You are not allowed to throw anything off the stage (this means no projectiles) or use anything on stage that will leave 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. All participants are encouraged to keep at least one foot on the stage at all times.

  • No pyrotechnics, fire, explosive devices, live animals or similar special effects can 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 be asked to leave the convention area depending on the severity of the incursion. All prop weapons must conform to the Comicpalooza prop policies, including being checked.

  • If your entry wins and you have multiple people in your Skit or Catwalk, you will have to decide among yourselves how to split up your prize. Only entries competing for Craftsmanship can win Best in Show or 1st and 2nd runners up in the Advanced and Intermediate categories and the Skit division. (See the Craftsmanship section for percentage requirements.)

  • Children (age 12 and below, see Children's Cosplay 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 be in only one Division, Catwalk or Skit. You can have up to six people in a Catwalk 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 6:30 pm. Comicpalooza reserves the right to turn away any contest entry it deems inappropriate or not in compliance with the rules.

  • Skit-specific Rules: Everyone has a maximum stage allotment of 3-1/2 minutes. Your skit can be anywhere from 1 minute to 3-1/2 minutes long. You will have 30 seconds from the time your number is called to set up props and 30 seconds after you finish to pack up props; this minute of setup and dismantle time does not count as part of your 3-1/2 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.

  • The microphones will only be available for live singing, poetry reading and 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 at: Use "Can I Have a Microphone for My Skit" as the subject. Everyone else will need to have their audio pre‐recorded and in an mp3/mp4 format on a flash 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 cosplayers performing skits will need to turn in a script/description of their act at the time of registration. Overt adult humor will not be allowed. All material must be PG-13.

  • Keep in mind that, despite its late start time, the cosplay contest is a family-friendly event, which is why a script/description of your act is due at registration. 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 choreographed at 3/4 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, 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. If you have any questions or concerns please send an email to the cosplay coordinator at: with “Skit Contestant Question” as the subject.

  • Pre‐Meet: There will be a pre‐meet before the cosplay competition in the Cosplay Staging Room at 6:30 pm 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 as well as explain etiquette for Catwalks 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 6:30 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 6:30 pm.

  • 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 you're competing for craftsmanship. You should show up to the pre‐meet in costume, ready for the contest.

Music/Audio: Contestants may bring their own music for the Catwalk division, and Skits have to provide their own audio track.

  • All audio must be in mp3/mp4 format only on a flash drive (USB).

  • Music for Catwalks 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, you will be defaulted to using house music for your Catwalk.

  • If there is an issue with your music (for example, the file is corrupt), then house music will be used.

  • Skit audio should not be any shorter than 1 minute, but no longer than 3-1/2 minutes and needs to be in mp3/mp4 format on a flash drive. No CDs. See Skit-specific rules for information about a microphone. Catwalks will not be allowed a microphone.

Craftsmanship: Our Cosplay contest is craftsmanship oriented.

  • 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) for the cosplay contest.

  • You must have at least five 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 choose 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 Best Sewing Award if you are not competing in Craftsmanship.

  • Bodypaint costumes cannot be entered for Craftsmanship.

  • Comicpalooza will not provide a printer onsite; however, there is a FedEx printing office located in the George R. Brown Convention Center.

  • Each Craftsmanship entry will get 4 minutes each with the judges.

Beginner: There isn't a Craftsmanship level for beginners. However, to compete in this category you must 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 moved up to Intermediate if they meet the percentage requirement, on a case-by-case basis (determined by the judges), and compete for craftsmanship. If moved 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.

  • Beginners who plan to make 60% – 80% of their costume should have five progress shots and a reference picture since those will be necessary to compete for Craftsmanship.

Intermediate 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: 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 the costumes involved to be able to compete in the Skit division and qualify for your division's Craftsmanship. If you've made your props, audio and script (mixing, voiceovers and splicing counts), it can be factored into your percentage.

  • 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).

Pre‐Judging: The hours for the cosplay contest pre‐judging are 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. on Friday and 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.

  • 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 to inspect your costume. There may be seam checks, and the judges may ask to touch parts of your costume.

  • Skits will not be performed for the judges at this time; however, you will need to bring any props/backgrounds you've made to pre‐judging.

  • You should bring progress shots of your props as well as costumes.

  • You will have several judges looking you over at once. Try not to be too nervous; the judges are people who love costuming and acting in character just as much as you do.