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Costume Contest

Costume Contest Guide

Registration and sign-up for the Costume Contest will be available starting Saturday morning at the registration desk. We have a limited number of slots available, so be sure and secure your spot early. Registration for the Costume Contest will close prior to prejuging, or until all slots are filled.If you do not arrive for prejudging during your assigned timeslot, you run the risk of being disqualified, so please make note of your time slot with our judges.

Costume Contest Rules *

  1. No store bought costumes. Elements of costumes may have been purchased to compliment or complete the costume, but the majority of the work must be hand crafted. Handmade commission work is acceptable. Please identify this to the judges.
  2. This is a family friendly contest. No overt nudity, blood, gore, etc.
  3. All participants must be registered attendee of VisionCon.
  4. Real firearms are not permitted. All other weapons must be checked with security to be peace-bonded and kept in a non-firing status. Real swords, knives, etc must be approved by security and VisionCon staff for use in the Costume Contest.
  5. No pyrotechnics allowed. This includes, but is not limited to: Open flames, smoke generators, fireworks, etc.
  6. There will be no disbursement of debris or water. This includes, but is not limited to: Paper products, glitter, flower petals, foam darts, water guns, etc. If it makes a mess, it is prohibited.
  7. No live animals will be permitted except for service animals.
  8. If you require a handler to enter and/or exit the stage, please consult the con staff so that we can make arrangements.
  9. A short skit or performance is not required, but adds flavor to your walk on. Performances are capped at one minute, and there will be an award for best performance.
  10. Costumes that require power must be self-contained. There can be no extension cords on stage due to safety concerns.
  11. Surprise the audience, not the judges. Please clear anything unusual beforehand with the event staff. We are there to help you shine.
  12. Due to the convention’s potential liability, no acrobatics are allowed during a performance.
  13. No “horseplay” or other rude behavior. Contestants may be held liable if found to have damaged another contestant’s costume or belongings or the facility itself. Rude behavior includes both physical and verbal assaults to another individual. See the convention’s <harassment policy> for more information.
  14. Participants will be required to sign a video/photography release and participants under the age of 18 must have a written release from a parent or guardian.

* The Costume Contest director retains the right to eliminate any entry on the basis of taste, danger to the audience, building, or yourself.

Total list of rules will be available before the Costume Contest.

Classes and Skill Levels

There are four different skill levels in which to enter. Make sure to pick the right one for you. They are:

  1. JOURNEYMAN - This is the novice level. If you have little experience in costuming, or you have never won a prize in a contest then you may enter in this level.
  2. INTERMEDIATE - This is the middle ground level. You have a good skill set with your costuming and craftsmanship, but not quite ready to advance to Master level. Contestants that have won in Journeyman previously, or are competent builders should enter in this class.
  3. MASTER - This is our most advanced level. You’re a master of your craft! Film ready and amazing! Every stitch stitched and every prop perfect. Contestants that have previously won Intermediate or are confident of their craft should enter in this class.
  4. EXHIBITION - If you wish to enter but not compete in the contest.
  5. GROUP - Groups consist of two or more participants. The costumes will be judged as a group effort. The judges will award an averaging of the points of all of the costumes. There are no skill levels for this class. Groups stand as its own unique entry
  6. YOUTH - 15 and under.

Please be fair and honest with placing yourself in to your skill level. Beating up junior level costumers is bad form. Once you have entered in a skill level, you cannot go backwards next time and place yourself in a lower level. Additionally, once you have won First Place in your level, you will be required to enter at the next highest class: Journeyman to Intermediate; Intermediate to Master.

Judging Criterion

We will be looking at several things in your costume. Some areas weigh heavier than others when judging your costume. It is sometimes helpful that you have reference photos of your character. We don’t always recognize the character you are portraying. O.C. characters are always welcome, of course. If you have photos of the construction process of your costume or props, bring those. It helps us see how much work went into your costume. Sometimes a costume is so good it’s difficult to determine the origin of all of its parts. Be aware that the judges may get very close and personal when judging and may want to closely examine your costume, props, and make-up. Often times we may ask to handle the material of your costume, hold your props, or touch prosthetics. If this is not okay, please advise the judges beforehand. We remain fair and impartial in our judging, but will always have our own individual opinion of the different areas. Those areas are as follows:

  1. CRAFTSMANSHIP - How well your costume and prop(s) are put together. Clean lines, a good paint job, good seam work, the actual construction of the costume.
  2. MATERIALS - Your fabrics, armor, leather work, etc. Is it the right material for the job? Are you able to make us believe that what you used works for your look?
  3. PROPS - Props will judged as a separate category and although can add to the overall look of your costume, are not necessary and the lack of such count against your overall score.
  4. MAKE-UP and/or PROSTHETICS - As with props, this is a separately judged category and the lack of such will not negatively affect your overall score.
  5. STAGE PRESENCE - Are you convincing as your character? Not everyone is an actor, but when you do your walk on, do your best. Even a good pose is sometimes enough to “sell” the character to us.
  6. OTHER - This is a catch-all category that could include lighting, animated parts, sound effects, etc. that fall outside of the other five categories.

The Walk On

Contestants will, when prompted, walk onto the stage to show their work to the audience and judges. Remember, you may have up to one minute stage time, not including entry setup and exit time, but are not required to use all of the allotted time. If not doing a skit or routine, please walk slowly from one side of the stage to the other, then return to center stage. At this point pause for a few seconds so everyone can get a good look at you and then exit the stage.

(Remember that you still have to register to get into the convention.)

Email Questions About the Costume Contest





Fri: Noon to  9pm
Sat:  9am to 10pm
Sun:  9am to Noon


Open to Public:

Fri: Noon to 7pm
Sat:  9am to 7pm
Sun:  9am to 3pm