• No metal weapons, real firearms, or props loaded with high velocity projectiles are allowed. Realistic weapon props may be peace bonded at the discretion of security or Masquerade staff.
  • Props should be carried and posed with in a way that does not inconvenience or risk injury to other attendees.
  • Costumes must be tasteful and cover appropriate areas of the body. Shoes must be worn in public areas of the convention for your own safety.
  • What is illegal outside the convention is still illegal inside the convention.
General Masquerade/International Cosplay Contest Rules
  • All the general cosplay rules above apply.
  • Costumes from both Japanese and Western media are welcome in the competitions. This includes anime, games, comic books, manga, or other media such as Korean media, sentai, music, J-rock, etc.
  • Original designs based on established media, such as Pokemon gijinka-type designs or fanart alternative designs are permitted in competition, but specific reference images must be provided. Original characters regardless of media are not permitted.
  • Entrants must be registered attendees of Youmacon and present a badge at cosplay check-in.
  • Participants must fill out a cosplay registration form with legitimate information for award purposes.
  • Participants’ costumes and props must be able to traverse the 6’ wide backstage hallway.
  • Skits may not exceed a PG-13 rating.
  • Groups may not exceed 8 people.
  • No jumping onto or off the stage or acrobatics.
  • No throwing items off the stage.
  • Clean up after yourself. Do not leave anything behind on the stage.
  • Stage combat will be allowed only if approved by the Cosplay ADH after a demonstration during skit approval.
  • No special effects. Electronic flashes are permitted only if okayed by Masquerade staff. An announcement will be made to attendees at the start of your skit.
  • No live singing will be permitted. That is what karaoke is for.
  • No surprises.
  • Costumes or skits that have won a major award (Novice, Journeyman, Master, Best in Show, etc.) at other events are ineligible to win another award at the same skill level. You must enter the next skill level up. You must have made improvements or changes provable by before and after photos presented in your progress binder to re-enter a costume with a category award or higher. Prior awards must be disclosed to the judging panel.
  • Entrants may enter both the International Preliminaries and Youmacon Masquerade with the same costume and presentation. This year’s events are integrated which means entrants will be able to opt in for international awards while still being considered for Youmacon Masquerade awards.
  • Although entrants can opt in for all applicable awards, winners can only win one award. For example: one individual entrant cannot win Youmacon’s Best in Show and an international solo award. The judges will determine which contestant will receive each award.
The International contests will run together with the Youmacon Masquerade. Call time for the green room is the same time as all other masquerade entrants.
  • All contestants entering for ICL/CWM INTERNATIONAL SOLOS are required to have a stage presentation of at least 90 seconds in length and no longer than 2:00, for which you will provide your own audio.
  • All contestants entering for ICL DUO are required to present a stage presentation that is 2:30 in length.
Cosplay Photoshoot Gatherings
Youmacon features scheduled gatherings for cosplayers from the same series to meet up and get photos. These gatherings will take place in the Winter Garden, located in the RenCen, the River Walk at RenCen, Huntington Place South Atrium at level 100 and level 200, and the Gardner Wall (located near the escalator to the People Mover on the 300 level). Further details can be found in the mobile app when available.
cosplay competitions
Masquerade/International Cosplay Contest
  • The Masquerade is a Saturday evening Main Event consisting of skit performances and craftsmanship presentations. The masquerade also houses the International cosplay contests. Skits can enter for performance, craftsmanship, or both, but only those entering BOTH categories are eligible to win Best in Show. You can also model your costume in front of an audience by entering as a walk-on for craftsmanship judging.
  • The Best in Show winners (those who excel in BOTH craftsmanship AND presentation) will win $500(for the group), FREE ADMISSION to Youmacon 2023 plus a fabulous trophy. Those winning in Best craftsmanship and Best presentation will also win $250(for the entry group not per person) as well as a fabulous trophy. Those who win the best in their respective categories will also receive a fabulous trophy.
  • The International prizes available are ICL: a trip to Madrid, Spain for one pair (duo) of cosplayers and one solo cosplayer. CWM: a trip to Lisbon, Portugal for one solo cosplayer.
  • In addition to the trophies and cash prizes, winning entrants will also receive prizes from our contest sponsors (sponsors differ from year to year and will be announced on the website/social media/at the masquerade).
  • Masquerade entrants can opt-in for international awards without losing eligibility to compete for Masquerade awards. The international judging panel will be one and the same with the masquerade craftsmanship judging panel.
  • Masquerade and International participants should be at the Green Room (Mackinac Ballroom) at 6PM with their badges for check-in.
  • While waiting for the Masquerade to start, drinks and snacks will be provided. Once the Masquerade begins, participants will be guided to the stage for their walk-on or performance. Once they are finished on stage, they will return to the Green Room to await awards.
  • Awards for both Hall Cosplay and the Masquerade/International will be given out at the end of the Masquerade.
Hall Cosplay Contest
  • The Hall Cosplay contest gives cosplayers a chance to get their craftsmanship judged without the pressures of an audience. This is also a chance to get additional costumes judged. Hall cosplay is craftsmanship only, and competitors are not required to appear on stage during the Masquerade. You may enter Hall with one costume per day and enter a completely different costume in the Masquerade/International Costume Contest as well.
  • Registration form(s) for Hall cosplay must be submitted in order to obtain a judging time slot. Please see the Craftsmanship rules below; the same rules apply to the Hall competition.
  • Costumes in the Hall Cosplay contest must be able to traverse the Youmacon hallways.
  • Hall Cosplay awards will be announced at the end of the Masquerade.
  • Hall Cosplay participants may watch the Masquerade from the Green Room (Mackinac Ballroom) if they wish. Those who do not wish to watch the Masquerade may check in with us in the Green Room periodically to find out when awards will be announced. You may also watch the Masquerade from the audience.
signing up
All attendees who wish to enter their costume in a contest require a judging appointment. Entrants will submit a form for a craftsmanship judging time, a skit approval time, or both. You may enter either or both Friday and Saturday Hall Cosplay contests, and/or the integrated Masquerade/International, provided that you have a different costume for each. Again, ONLY Masquerade/International entrants will appear on stage during the Masquerade.
You can sign up either at con or in advance. To allow for the maximum number of entrants, we will only be accepting Pre-Reg signups for HALF of the available spots. Online signups will close at midnight the Sunday prior to the convention, or when we reach capacity. An announcement will be made if we close online signups early due to capacity. You are encouraged to sign-up online if you plan to participate. If, after signing up, you decide to drop out for any reason, please email the Cosplay ADH to drop out at
Please follow the links below to the forms for the Masquerade/International and Hall competition.
Masquerade / international Application (Open)
hall application (Open)
We will use these forms to assign judging times. A confirmation email will be sent out to each entrant with their assigned time slot. YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO CHECK-IN WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT THE CONVENTION. Please report to the Cosplay Registration booth on Level 4 on Friday between 3pm and 9pm. Failure to check in will result in your spot being forfeit and made available for at-con signups. If you have extenuating circumstances that prevent you from checking in, please advise the Cosplay ADH in advance. We are open to working around any scheduling issues as long as we are made aware of them. Any remaining spots will be available at the convention.
There will be a sign-up table in the Cosplay Registration booth on Level 4. There you can find the required forms, as well as the list of available appointment times.
Craftsmanship Judging
  • During craftsmanship judging, our judges will evaluate the quality and accuracy of the costume(s).
  • Costumes CANNOT be judged for craftsmanship if they were primarily store-bought or commissioned. Children 12 and under are exempt from this rule. If modeling someone else’s work, the person who constructed the costume MUST be present.
  • You must provide a reference for your costume. A picture, a figure, whatever. (We prefer paper references that we can keep.) While smartphones and tablets are great, please do NOT rely on these as your primary sources for reference photos. The judges are not familiar with every series or video game. References are needed to check accuracy. Lack of a reference will hurt your chances at winning higher awards.
  • Contestants opting-in for International must present a progress book of no less than 5 pages, and no more than 30 pages. You must have at least one physical copy of your progress book.
  • In regard to presenting 3D modeled items, custom printed fabrics, pepakura files, etc. If you created the file or image for these items, or if you purchased the file, please advise the judges.
  • The judges WILL inspect your costume up close. Be prepared to have your costume touched and be asked to show specific details.
  • Entrants will only have 5 minutes per judging session (up to 10 minutes for larger groups). So, if you have something special that you wish to highlight to the judges, make sure to point it out whether they ask you about it or not.
  • The judges will ask you questions about your costume. Be prepared to answer truthfully and accurately.
  • You DO NOT have to be in character while being judged. That wastes time and is unnecessary. Save it for the stage.
  • BE CONFIDENT. Please don’t tell the judges what you did wrong. They want to know all the wonderful things you did right. Remember, don’t be shy! They want to hear about all your hard work!
  • Be sure to show up to your judging appointment a few minutes early in your costume. If you miss your appointment, you may be rescheduled, time permitting, no guarantees.
  • Remember to try your best, be courteous, and have fun!
  • The judges will ask you questions about your costume. Be prepared to answer truthfully and accurately.
Skill Level Categories
Novice: Cosplayers with no prior awards
Journeyman: Cosplayers with 1-5 awards
Master: Cosplayers with 6 or more awards
Youth: Cosplayers age 14 and under
Staff: Youmacon staff members
Categories are based on any type of previous major award, craftsmanship or presentation. Division qualifications are subject to change to ensure even award distribution. Honorable Mention awards do not count toward your skill level category.
cosplay skits
Skit Approval
  • During skit approval, our staff will evaluate skits for time and content. MP3s with dialogue and/or music to use during the Masquerade will be collected if you did not upload your audio to the entry form.
  • You can edit your entry form after it has been submitted. Please upload your audio using the Google Drive upload link on the form. If for some reason you have technical difficulties, please email the Cosplay ADH: Youmaconcosplaydept@gmail.com You can use official audio from your source material or record your own. But audio must be provided by you, the entrant. It is permissible to receive help creating your audio.
  • You will need to perform your skit in front of our screening team. They are not judges, they are simply checking for time and content. So, if your performance is not perfect, don’t worry about it. Our screening team can also give you advice to improve your skit.
  • It is okay if one of the people in your skit group can’t make it to approval. We will use our imagination.
  • You DO NOT have to be in costume for skit approval.
  • If you want to get judged for craftsmanship at the same time, we can do one long appointment —subject to availability— instead of two separate appointments. These will be assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • If your skit is NOT approved, we WILL give you time to correct it. We love skits, and we want to give everyone a chance to participate.
  • Please make note of any cues or stage directions when submitting your skit approval form. There may not be time prior to the show to determine these cues (ie: Kuwabara starts offstage and enters with the music.)
  • Participants must fill out a cosplay registration form with legitimate information for award purposes.
  • At this time, we do not have maximum dimensions for skit props and set. However, you are responsible for management of your items at all times. Youmacon is not liable for any broken or stolen items. You will be given a place to store them and build them on the day of the show. There will be people to bring them on and offstage.
  • Your friends and family can assist you in creating props and sets for the stage. However, keep in mind that if you win an international award these items will have to fly to the world’s competition. Do your best to keep them light and portable. Extra or oversized baggage is the responsibility of the cosplayer/team.
Time Allotments for Presentation
1 to 2 people = 2:30 minutes
3 to 4 people = 3:15 minutes
5 to 8 people = 4 minutes
International SOLO = 90 seconds to 120 seconds.
International DUO = No longer than 2:30.
Please note that these are guidelines and there is room for reasonable accommodation. If you have a question about your skit length or content, please contact YoumaconCosplayDept@gmail.com
Pre-Recorded Audio & Music
  • All performance participants are required to pre-record audio to ensure content will not be changed and that they are able to be heard by the audience and judges. You may not provide your own microphone.
  • We accept audio submissions in MP3 file format ONLY.
  • You must upload your audio to the entry form OR bring your audio file to your skit approval on a flash drive.
  • We will not be accepting at-con music submissions via email. You must bring your music on a flash drive.
  • We will extract the file and return your device to you immediately.
  • All of your audio must be fully edited and prepared before being submitted to us. We CANNOT edit audio in any way and what you give us is what we play.
  • We cannot “just play a youtube video”. Don’t ask us.
  • Please label the file CLEARLY with your skit title, group name, and series.