COSPLAY COMPETITION/MASQUERADE COMPETITOR GUIDELINES
The below Cosplay Competitor Guideline document is inclusive of all 4 LeftField Media shows, including:
- Awesome Con’s Cosplay Competition
- Rose City Comic Con’s Cosplay Competition
- Anime NYC’s Cosplay Masquerade
- Anime Frontier’s Cosplay Masquerade
It was last updated 7/11/23. For questions and concerns, please reach out email@example.com.
We are excited to have you as a competitor at our Cosplay Contest/Masquerade! In addition to the convention policies, these Guidelines are designed to ensure every competitor and attendee has a safe and enjoyable experience at our shows.
Failure to adhere to these guidelines at one of our shows or online on our official social media channels may result in a competition ban from all future competitions at Anime NYC, Anime Frontier, Rose City Comic Con, and Awesome Con.
If you are confused or concerned about the guidelines below, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to further clarify.
Follow convention rules and respect the rules and instruction of the event staff
This should go without saying, but being in our competition doesn’t mean you’re exempt from rules. This can include but is not limited to mask wearing, cosplay weapons policies, and convention center specific rules.
Convention and competition staff will be sure to remind you if you are breaking any convention rules.
Respect your fellow competitors, attendees, and contest staff
The cosplay community is diverse and so are our competitions. We expect all competitors to honor that diversity and ask you to show the same care and respect to your fellow competitors, attendees, and show staff that you would like to have shown to yourself. Harassment behaviors will not be tolerated and you will be disqualified from competing or, in extreme cases, banned from competing further should you harass another competitor or attendee.
Harassment includes, but is not limited to, verbal comments that reinforce social structures of domination related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion; deliberate intimidation; stalking; following; harassing photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events; inappropriate physical contact; and unwelcome sexual attention.
While these are extreme examples, we ask you to simply be kind. From personal experience we know that competing can be stressful for everyone involved from you as a competitor to your handler helping you to the contest staff coordinating.
Be honest about your cosplay and your skill level
Our 75% rule:
For our craftsmanship competitions we have a rule that 75% or more of your cosplay/the cosplays in your group must be handmade by you or people in your group. While we fully recognize that every cosplay is a cosplay whether it’s 100% purchased or 100% self-made, this is a craftsmanship competition specifically focused on the handmade portion of your costume. In a craftsmanship competition, judges look at aspects like the diversity and quality of skills you’ve employed, the materials you chose, your interpretation of the source material, etc. If you haven’t made the vast majority of or any of it, there’s simply not enough for our judges to consider.
This is a term you may have heard discussed in the cosplay community. Sandbagging is when someone re-enters a cosplay that has already won a major award such as Best in Show or a Runner Up award at a comparably sized or larger event OR when someone knowingly competes in a category below their actual skill level.
Not every convention enforces this rule, but we think it’s important to make space for new creations and new creators to have a spotlight and a chance to win. We want to encourage people to continue to make things. You are very welcome to wear an award winning costume to the convention, and other attendees will definitely enjoy seeing it, but please don’t enter it into the cosplay competition.
We know you’ve spent a lot of time, money, and emotional effort on your beautiful cosplay, but if you’ve already won a major award for a costume you want to compete with again, please be upfront about it. We’re always happy to talk to you 1-1 to decide if you’re able to compete with us based on past awards won.
Additionally, please be honest about the level at which you’re competing. It’s important to us to have a competition that celebrates all skill levels. If you know you’re in the masters/advanced category, please don’t compete in intermediate or beginner and so on.
See our Cosplay FAQ for more information on what this entails.
Ensure your cosplay is both physically and visibly safe.
This section is serious. We have a zero-tolerance policy meaning: If you arrive to our competition with any of the below symbols, physical items, or makeup you will be immediately disqualified from the competition and banned from competing in the future with no further discussion.
Any weapon that could seriously hurt somebody is not allowed. Prop weapons that will be allowed in are at the discretion of convention staff and uniformed security personnel. Safety is paramount, we will always err on the side of caution. There will be no place to store prohibited weapons on-site. If you have a weapon that is prohibited, you will be asked to discard it or remove it from the premises. Please see the corresponding policies page for the show you’re attending for more info on what prop weapons are or are not allowed.
Historical costumes can be great, but reminders of unspeakable atrocities are not appropriate, ever. This includes any sort of “ironic” or satirical costumes that reappropriate Nazi paraphernalia or gear that toes the line in resembling it.
Blackface will not be tolerated. We know you want to be as accurate as possible in your cosplays, but we ask you to focus that attention on the fabrication of your costume as it relates to the source material.
If you see someone exhibiting one or more of these behaviors, please immediately alert the competition staff or convention staff members who can be identified by their black t-shirt with “STAFF” written across the back. We will address the situation with the offending party and ask them to stop or in some cases immediately ask them to leave. While we’d prefer not to get security involved, we will if necessary.
If you are banned from competing, we will let you know directly. This may or may not happen verbally at the show, but we will regardless follow up with you via email confirming. We will not confirm if someone has been banned from competition with anyone other than the person who has been banned for their privacy.