Skip to content

The Sci-Fi & Fantasy Masquerade is our "anything goes" contest. Cosplayers and steampunks are encouraged to participate in this masquerade.

Sci-Fi & Fantasy Masquerade Rules

I.    Competition Categories

All costumes entered must be either Original or Re-creation.

Original costumes are designed by the contestant, although they may be inspired by a fantasy, science fiction, or other source. They may be “interpretations” or “mash-ups” of media sources.

Re-creation costumes are those whose design is copied from a media or other source: TV, film, animation, art, illustration, comics/manga, theatre. They may also be re-created from a print description in a book. Documentation of the original source, showing at least one good view of the costume, or a print/prose description by the designer/author, must be provided for judging. (Bring paper copies only, no books or other media. No cell phones or USB drives will be accepted as reference!)

II.     Skill Divisions

The Skill Division System is for protecting those who have little to no experience in costume presentation and workmanship from having to compete directly against those who have costumed for many years. Entrants may always choose to compete at a higher division if they feel their skills are adequate, but they may not compete lower than a division in which they’ve won in the past.

  • Young Fan: Any contestant aged 13 or younger who made their own costume, who is not part of an adult group. All entries in a Young Fan group entry must be 13 or younger.
  • Novice: Any contestant who has never competed, or never won any awards at all. Any contestant who has only won minor awards, judges’ awards, or honorable mentions in any competition. A person may not compete at Novice if they have won more than two major awards (Best in Division, or Best in Show) in the Novice Division in international competition. Any Young Fan contestant may elect to “compete up” and enter the Novice Division.
  • Journeyman: Any contestant who has not won more than three major awards (Best in Division, or Best in Show) in the Journeyman Division in international competition. A person may no longer compete at Journeyman if they have won more than three major awards. Any Young Fan or Novice contestant may elect to “compete up” and enter in the Journeyman Division.
  • Master: Open category: any contestant may elect to “compete up” and enter in the Master Division. Any contestant who has competed and won in the Master Division in an international competition must enter at Master. Professional costumers must enter in the Master Division. Any contestant who has won Best in Show at any regional competition is strongly encouraged to enter at Master.

Group entries must enter in the skill division that their most experienced member sorts into.

Young Fans wearing adult-made costumes must enter in the adult’s skill division, and the maker must be present at time of judging to explain the costume.

The Costume-Con masquerades are International-level competitions; the only other International-level masquerades are at Worldcon and Anime North. If you have never won awards at any of these international-level masquerades, you may enter as Novice at CC, but you may choose to go higher if you feel your skills are sufficient. If you regularly compete at Master elsewhere, it is strongly recommended you compete no lower than Journeyman at Costume-Con.

If you’re not sure which division you should enter, please contact one of the Masquerade Directors.

III. Rules

These are the things you MUST pay attention to, as violating one of the rules can and will make you ineligible for awards.

Remember, when in doubt, ask the Masquerade Directors! Don′t guess.

  1. All contestants must be registered attending members of CC-36. This includes both makers and models.
  2. No purchased, commissioned, or rented costumes may be entered in this competition.
  3. A costume may not be re-entered in this competition if it has won a “Best in Show” at any competition. A previous “Best in Division” winning costume from other competitions may be entered only if it can be entered one skill division level higher than its previous win – which means costumes which have won “Best in Master Class” cannot be re-entered in this competition. Costumes which have only won minor awards or won nothing at all may be re-entered with no caveats.
  4. Costumes worn in the halls prior to the competition and then entered in the Masquerade may not be eligible for Best In Show. Note: this is a special rule for Costume-Con. We would like to help keep your costume clean and undamaged before it appears on stage or before the judges.
  5. This competition is rated PG-13, so no nudity, please. “No costume is no costume” still applies.
  6. No contestant may appear on stage more than once. Costumers may enter more than one costume, but each must appear on a different model. No “cameos” allowed, either.
  7. Each entry will have no more than 60 seconds on stage. You may certainly use less time, but going over 60 seconds requires approval of the Director. Large group entries may receive approval for additional time, but must ask the Director.
  8. No fire or open flame will be allowed on stage. No throwing things off the stage. No special effects (flash bulbs, strobes, sparklers, etc.) that might endanger anybody will be allowed on stage.
  9. The “no peanut butter” rule applies: No messy substances – wet, dry, sparkly, or oily – that might ruin another costume are allowed on stage or in the Green Room. This means no loose glitter or confetti, no unsealed body makeup, no loose powder, etc.
  10. There will be no live or pickup mikes on stage. You must pre-record your dialogue (if any) and background music. You may also submit text for the MC to read before, during, or after your entry. All of this background content may be vetted before approval to ensure we stick to our PG-13 rating. Audio must be submitted no later than your rehearsal time on CD or USB (in mp3 format). Music will NOT be provided. Editing assistance will not be provided.
  11. No weapons which might endanger people will be allowed on stage – edged steel, working projectile weapons, or real-world weaponry. Entrants must display all weapons to the Masquerade Directors at time of rehearsal to be approved. Prop weaponry is fine, but when in doubt, ask for the Director’s approval. All weapons and props must meet the general safety requirements for the entire convention.
  12. Special effects may be approved after safe display at rehearsal, provided they are legal. In no case will a special effect be approved that leaves a mess on the stage. Self-contained fog-machine type effects will be approved only if the “fog juice” is proven non-allergenic and non-messy.
  13. No flash photography will be allowed during the competition. Please pose for your friends during the photo-run on stage after the contest, or for our photographer while you are not on stage!
  14. You must check in at the green room by the required call time or you will be disqualified.
  15.  Rehearsal is required. Sign up for a rehearsal slot on-site at the convention before rehearsals are scheduled to start. Failure to show up at rehearsal time may result in disqualification.
  16. Entry numbers will be given out in the Green Room. You must be in line and ready to go on stage when your entry number is called. If you miss your call, your entry may be dropped.
  17. Entries with great difficulty getting on and off stage within a reasonable amount of time must be pre-arranged with the Masquerade Directors. All entries will be provided stage assistance as necessary.
  18. The Masquerade Directors require real names to be supplied on entry forms. These real names must match the ones you used to register for the convention. You can always ask the MC to announce nicknames.
  19. No exceptions will be made to these rules without advance approval by the Masquerade Directors.
  20. Do NOT surprise the Masquerade Directors or crew! Let us in on what you have planned, and trust us to keep the surprise from the audience and judges until you’re ready to unveil it.
IV.   Additional Information

Sound: We plan on accepting both CDs and MP3s. If you use CDs, be sure that they are recorded as an audio CD, that your dialogue/music is recorded on track #1, and that it is the ONLY track on the CD. When in doubt, bring extras, including extra blank media. USB sticks with mp3 media will be accepted, but if you must, please reduce clutter so we don’t have to search for your audio file. Please scan your USB stick before providing it to the tech crew to prevent virus/malware infection.

Lights: No details yet. Do not plan on anything more complicated than color washes, fade in/outs, and spotlights. Default lighting cue is full lights on at start of presentation, fade to black/blackout at end of presentation.

Power: There will not be power cords/plugs on stage. Lights and other effects must be self-contained.

Stage: Our official stage dimensions will be announced as soon as we have that info.. Default entrance will be stage left, default exit will be stage right. Plan on using stairs to enter/exit the stage. If a ramp is available, we will add that information when it becomes available. If you have mobility issues, please inform the Directors so accommodations can be made.

Miscellaneous: We do allow stage scenery, large props, etc, but the Directors would appreciate a heads-up if you will be bringing anything of this nature, so we can coordinate storage space, stage crew handling, and rehearsal time.

  1. Workmanship Judging

Workmanship judging is optional, but strongly encouraged. Workmanship score does factor into Best in Class/Best in Show awards. Your entire costume need not be judged; you can (and many do!) submit just one part of it for judging. For example, you may present just one prop, or a headdress, or all the beading.

If you think you may want workmanship judging, please check the YES box on your entry form. If you’re sure you won’t, please check NO. This will help us schedule our judges’ time better, to ensure everybody’s work gets a fair viewing.

If you are entering a re-creation, providing reference material is absolutely necessary. The judges don’t know every media source out there, they may not know your costume. Please print copies of any reference you wish to submit, phones/tablets/computers will not suffice. A huge documentation book is not necessary, a single image may be enough.

  1. Entry Forms

Registration forms will be available at the convention. Pre-registration may not be done online at this time. Registrations will be taken Friday until 6pm and Saturday until the end of the Masquerade Orientation panel. There will be a mandatory “check-in” at the Masquerade Orientation panel in Main Programming, to make sure the director has your completed forms, music (if any), and all entrants and their handlers have a “green room permissions mark” applied to their badge.

For more information, please email the Director, Dorothy O’Hare at:

The Future Fashion Design Contest (FFDC) has been a part of every Costume-Con, though its origin predates Costume-Con. The FFDC is a design competition open to anyone which takes place before the convention. Winners are selected, and are then published in the Future Fashion Folio. Members of Costume-Con can choose to make a design for the Future Fashion Show, which occurs during the convention. The rules for the Costume-Con 36 Future Fashion Design Contest are:

  1. All entries must be original designs. You may submit as many designs as you wish and as many times as you wish. You may draw your design on a traced figure if you like. Some sources for stock figures (croquis) are
  2. Designs will be judged solely on the design, not the quality of the drawing.
  3. You do not need to be a member of Costume-Con 36 to submit designs. However, you must be a member of Costume-Con 36 to make up a design for the Future Fashion Show.
  4. Deadline for entry is October  31, 2017.
  5. Designs should be drawn on white, 8 ½” X 11” paper.
  6. Do not submit original artwork. Paper entries should be copies. Scans are also accepted.
  7. Designs must be black and white, line art, inked images. No pencil, color, or shaded drawings should be used for the primary submission. While you may submit color or shaded versions as well, all designs must include a black and white line image. Scanned images must be at least 300 dpi and no more than 600 dpi.  Each design should include a description which identifies the source or inspiration, if any, construction notes, color preferences, and/or explanations of any details to help the judges and makers.
  8. Physical (paper) submissions should be marked on the back with the name, postal address, e-mail address of the submitter, as well as a title. They should also be labeled Design of 1 of x, 2 of x and so forth. Additional views should be labeled 1a of x and so forth. Descriptions of the designs should also be on the back of the design.
  9. Scanned submissions must consist of two parts. Each scan should be named “Design 1 of x” and so forth. Submissions must be in .jpg format. The description must be in a separate file, in .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .txt format and must be named “Design description 1 of x” and so forth.
  10. You can mail designs to our physical address. These can be on paper, or digitally on a CD, DVD or flash drive. The mailing address is:

Pierre and Sandy Pettinger
5100 Leighton Ave.
Lincoln, NE 685042

  1. Designs can be e-mailed to us at: Please limit each e-mail to one scan and description per e-mail.
  2. Designs can be entered in any category. Some categories are, but are not limited to, bridal, sportswear, business, children’s, party, formal, casual or anything else you can think of. If you don’t include a category, we will assign the design to the most likely category. We reserve the right to change categories when deemed necessary.
  3. Costume-Con 36 will have 3 special design categories. You should note if a design is intended for a special category.
  4. The special categories are:
    1. Maritime: Clothing appropriate for any navy, coast guard, merchant marine, pirate or any other nautical individual or group. This is not limited to the planet Earth or water.
    2. Shore Leave: Clothing appropriate for service, entertainment, or any person, company or group intended to cater to sailors on shore leave.
    3. Culture Mash-Up:  Assume two disparate cultures colonize a planet. Over time they will cross-pollinate each other. Design costumes featuring this crossover. Cultures need not be limited to current or past earth cultures. Projected future cultures as well as cultures from film and literature welcome. (Mayan-Klingon? Centauri-Castithan?)
  5. By submitting designs to the Costume-Con 36 Future Fashion Design Contest, you agree to their publication in the Future Fashion Folio, which will be distributed to all members.
  6. By submitting designs to the Costume-Con 36 Future Fashion Design Contest, you agree to allow any member of the convention to make the design for the Future Fashion Show. Designers will be allowed first choice to make a design. Only one of each design will be allowed on stage. Other than the designer, designs are reserved by first come, first served.
  7. Designers may note they wish to reserve a particular design for their own creation at the time of entry. If that design is chosen to be included in the Folio, its reserved status will be noted in the Folio.
  8. By submitting designs to the Costume-Con 36 Future Fashion Design Contest, you agree to their use before, during and after the convention for promotional purposes for Costume-Con 36 or Costume-Cons in general.
  9. Other than the uses noted above, designers retain all copyrights to their designs.
  10. Designs will not be returned unless requested, and only if sufficient postage is supplied.
  11. All submitters, as well as all members of the convention, will receive a copy of the Folio, in PDF format.
  12. Above all, have fun!

We are working on a wonderful Friday Night Social. The theme of the night will be USO. So, don your best World War II uniform, nurse's uniform or your best dancing outfit and head on down to the party. There will be coffee and donuts and music and dancing.  During the evening, you'll be shown the Single Pattern Show where you admire the imagination of the entries.