Youmacon Cosplay

Note: For the International Cosplay Competitions, click the button below:
International Cosplay

Contents (Click link to jump to section):
Cosplay Rules
Masquerade Rules
Photoshoot Gatherings
Cosplay Competition – Masquerade
Cosplay Competition – Hall
Cosplay Competition – Hall Signups
Competition Hours
Craftsmanship Judging
Skit Approval
Time Allotments
Music and Audio Rules



  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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 must be “PG-13”
  • Groups may not exceed 8 people.
  • No jumping onto or off of the stage or acrobatics.
  • No throwing items off of the stage.
  • Clean up after yourself. Do not leave anything behind on the stage.
  • Stage combat will be allowed only if approved by the judges 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.
  • Karaoke is not a skit. Please save it for the karaoke.
  • No surprises.
  • Costumes or skits that have won a major award at other events are ineligible to win another award at the same rank.
  • Entrants may enter both the International and Youmacon Masquerade provided the following are met. One must go through both sets of judging and must enter different costumes/skits in either competition. 
  • The International contests masquerade will run in the same timeframe as the Youmacon Masquerade. We will have the skit competitions for both of them separated by the walk-on portion of the show to allow people to do both provided they want to and can change in the short time allotted.


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, TCF Center 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


The Masquerade is a Saturday evening Main Event comprised of skit performances and craftsmanship presentation. This is a separate contest from 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.
  • Masquerade 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 will be given out at the end of the Masquerade.



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 DO NOT appear on stage during the Masquerade. You may enter separate costumes in the Youmacon Masquerade or the International Costume Contests 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 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.



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 Masquerade, provided that you have a different costume for each. Again, ONLY Masquerade 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 that number. An announcement will be made if we close online signups early due to capacity.


If you choose to sign up in advance, please follow the links below to the forms for the Craftsmanship, Performance and Hall competitions. By signing up in advance, this means you will not have to sign up for a slot at con.



We will use these forms to assign judging times. A confirmation email will be sent out to each entrant with their assigned time slot. IF YOU SUBMIT AN ONLINE REGISTRATION, 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 night during the hours listed below. Failure to check in will result in your spot being forfeit and made available for at-con signups.


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.



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. 
  • 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 judging 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! 


Everyone will also enter in one of these 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 12 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.


  • During skit approval, our staff will evaluate skits for time and content. MP3s and CDs with dialogue and/or music to use during the Masquerade will also be used and collected at this point.
  • You will need to perform your skit in front of our approvers. 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 approvers 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 also want to get judged for craftsmanship, we can do one longer 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


1 to 2 people = 2:30 minutes

3 to 4 people = 3:15 minutes

5 to 8 people = 4 minutes


Please note that these are guidelines and there is room for reasonable accommodation. If you have a question about your skit length please contact youmaconcosplayreg@gmail.com 


Groups with three or more participants are highly recommended to pre-record audio to ensure being heard by the audience and judges. Handheld microphone availability is not guaranteed.

  • We accept submissions on CD or MP3.
  • You must bring your audio file to your skit approval
  • If you are using an MP3 file, you need to bring your submission on a flash drive or CD. 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.