Hall Costume Contest

Hello and welcome to the Hall Costume Contest! Please read through the rules as many things have changed since last year!

The Hall Costume Contest is a contest that deals specifically with the quality and workmanship of the costume itself. There is no performance element - it is a quiet scheduled judging session where you speak to the judges and tell them about the details of your work.

Awards are presented following the Masquerade Saturday Night and you will also have the option of showing off your costume in a catwalk onstage.

Contestants ARE permitted to compete in both Hall Costume Contest and Masquerade!!  Hall Costume Contest will be taking over the Craftsmanship Judging portion for any interested Masquerade performers.  It is recommended that Masquerade participants register for a Friday judging time at Hall Costume Contest to avoid scheduling conflicts.  There will be a very limited number of Saturday judging times between 11am and 12pm reserved for Masquerade contestants that are first-come, first-served.

Judging Categories

  • Youth -individual or group consisting primarily of children 15 years of age and under, as well as their parents, guardians, or other individuals deemed appropriate by the Hall Costume Contest Coordinator. The designer and the primary constructor of the costume must be 15 years of age or younger, as well as any model, unless otherwise approved by the Hall Costume Contest Coordinator. Parents are required to accompany children 15 years of age and younger during the Hall Costume Contest.
  • Beginner- Zero to Three major Craftsmanship related awards. This does not include judges awards or honorable mentions.
  • Intermediate - Four to Six Craftsmanship awards.
  • Advanced - Seven or more Craftsmanship awards.
Click Here For Hall Costume Contest Rules and Regulations

2023 Hall Costume Contest Judges

 Akakioga Cosplay

Akakioga is an internationally recognized cosplayer with a passion for creating costumes from all different forms of media. With a love of working with her hands, she has become a self taught powerhouse that truly enjoys everything craftsmanship! Whether it be sewing, armor making, 3D printing, or even wig styling, she’s ready to take on any project whether it be big or small! She loves sharing her crafting knowledge to all who will lend her an ear so other cosplayers can be empowered to also get into the crafting game!

She also uses her multiple online platforms to also promote diversity in cosplay, recognizing the importance of promoting that no matter what walk of life you may come from, cosplay is for everyone no matter what!

Starbuck Cosplay

Starbuck Cosplay is a North Carolina based cosplayer who has been cosplaying since 2014. She enjoys doing meticulous handwork, including beading, smocking, and embroidery, and creating original designs. In addition to building intricate costumes from scratch, she also enjoys using multimedia techniques to elevate store bought costumes. Between costumes, she unwinds by playing an excessive amount of League of Legends and Love Live! School Idol Festival. 

She has been staffing cons as long as she's been attending them, and has served in a number of pivotal staff roles at cons east of the Mississippi River, including media department head, social media director, and cosplay contest coordinator. 

She is also passionate about community outreach through the cosplay community. She currently serves on the executive board for Causeplay Carolinas, a community service organization centered around providing character experiences for children in need, and volunteers with the Fandames Initiative, which seeks to provide safe spaces and programming for femme people in the con-going community. 

Her proudest accomplishments of the past year include adopting a very good dog and winning the Taylor Swift Ticketmaster wars.

Utopian Pigeon Cosplay

Utopian Pigeon is an award winning cosplayer from Charlotte, NC and believes that with enough patience, pins, and hairspray you can literally create anything.

She's been creating cosplays of characters and a variety of original designs for over 15 years and competing for ten. What started as just wanting to join in with her friends in silly escapades has turned into a passion for learning new skills and building an absurd amount of pokemon cosplays. When she's not working she is reading manga into the wee hours of the night, playing DnD and learning random bird facts. 

Release forms are currently unavailable.


Q: I'm wearing a costume to Otakon, am I entered in the Hall Costume Contest?

A: No. The Hall Costume Contest is an event at Otakon that you must register to participate in.

Q: I didn't make my costume. Can I still enter the Hall Costume Contest/participate in the Fashion Show?

A: No. You will need to have made at least 85% of your costume on your own. Questions will be asked to verify the authenticity of your craftsmanship. If someone else made the costume, you may still model it, but the contest entrant (and one who will receive the prize) is the designer. 
The designer must be present for all aspects of the contest, including the judging sessions and the Fashion Show (if they wish to have the costume appear in the Fashion Show). The only exception to this rule is the Youth category. Youths are permitted to have more help on their costume, although they still must have participated in the direct creation of it, or made at least 65% of it.

Q: Can I enter an original costume/original variant of a character? What about a Gothic & Lolita dress, kimono, or other type of fashion/historical design?

A: Original designs are not permitted because the lack of consistent reference materials makes it nearly impossible to judge accuracy. However, you are encouraged to show off your costumes/fashion in the hallways. Gothic and Lolita will only be permitted if it is a design from an anime or J-drama series, this includes brand designs for anime series, BUT you still need to make 85% of the costume yourself.

Q: What do I need to bring to my judging session? What's recommended?

A: All members of your group, reference art/photos, your badges, and your waivers. We recommend showing up early.

Q: What happens if I'm having a costume meltdown?

A: The judges as well as staff have competed and been in the same situation. We will have emergency hot glue, thread/needles, safety pins, superglue, Wrinkle Release, hair spray, bobby pins, and other emergency supplies!

Q: What can I expect to happen at my judging session?

A: You will check in a few minutes before your judging time. Your photo will be taken and paperwork will be taken care of. You will then meet with the eager judges where you will tell them about how you made your costume. Individuals get five minutes, groups receive ten.

Q: How many people can enter as a Group?

A: As many as you would like but remember the golden rule of groups: You are as strong as your weakest link. A group of two clean, technically perfect costumes will trump a group of ten with half-finished costumes.

Q: How long is a judging session?

A: You have five minutes for individuals, groups have ten. Be concise, enjoy the experience, and make sure you don't leave out any major details.

Q: I just want to walk across the stage, but I don't want to enter the contest. Can I do this?

A: No. The cat walk during the Masquerade is for Hall Costume Contest participants only.

Q: What if I'm late for my judging time because of a completely unforeseen emergency, rather than carelessness or forgetfulness?

A: We will do our best to work with you to get your hard work judged but please keep in mind that appointments are tight and we are all doing our best to get everyone equally served. Communicate with us and let us know (E-mail) if you are running late or have issues and we will do our best!

Q: Do all members of my group need waivers, even if they won't be in the catwalk?

A: Yes, all members of the group must have waivers signed. This includes assistants and people that helped with the construction of the costume.

Q: What is the difference between the Hall Costume Contest and the Masquerade?

A: The Hall Costume Contest is a competition that focuses solely on costume craftsmanship, while the Masquerade is a competition that focuses on cosplayer performance and presentation.

Q: I have no awards, what level am I considered?

A: You are going to compete in the Beginner level.

Q: Do you allow World of Warcraft/League of Legends? 

A: We do allow MMORGs and Online games such as Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, World of Warcraft, and League of Legends.  We allow Disney characters that have been in a RELEASED or CONFIRMED appearance in games such as Kingdom Hearts.