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. Please note that you cannot compete with the same costume in both Hall Costume Contest and Masquerade.

Judging Categories

  • Youth -individual or group consisting primarily of children 13 years of age and under, as well as their parents, guardians, or other individuals deemed appropriate by the Hall Costume Contest Coordinator. The the designer and the primary constructor of the costume must be 13 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 13 years of age and younger during the Hall Costume Contest. 
  • Beginner- One to Three major Craftsmanship related awards. This does not include judges awards or honorable mentions.
  • Intermediate - Four to Six Craftsmanship awards.
  • Expert - More than Six Craftsmanship awards.

For full rules and regulations click here.



Otakon Hall Costume Contest pre-registration is now COMPLETELY FULL!!! Thank you all for your enthusiasm!  If you did not get a chance to pre-register, don't worry!  You will be able to sign up at the convention at 11am Friday or 10am Saturday morning in room 159!  We hope to see you there!

Hall Costume Contest Pre-Registration

Open: June 15, 2019, 6 a.m. - July 14, 2019, midnight

Registration is currently closed

Release Forms

All participants will be required to sign a permission/release/waiver form to participate in the contest.

Minors under 18 years of age may participate in the Hall Costume Contest only if a permission/release form signed by the minor's legal guardian is provided. We highly encourage you to print out and sign the appropriate form(s) and bring them to your judging time to expedite the process. Please make sure to print out and bring the correct waiver for the day you plan to participate.

We will collect forms when you check in for your judging time. We will have forms on-site but we ask that you please print them out ahead of time and fill them out.

Costumers may not wear the same costume in both the Masquerade and Hall Costume Contest. You may also only enter the Hall Costume Contest once during the length of the convention.

Featured Cosplayer Judges

Becka Noel

Becka Noel is a costume designer living in New York City and has been cosplaying for eight years. Specializing in armor and props, she is known internationally for her mashup cosplay groups. Becka is a designer for McCalls Pattern Company and her work has been published in numerous national and international publications. Becka was a cast member on Syfy’s reality show, 'Cosplay Melee' in 2017. In 2018, Becka was chosen as the face of New York Comic Con and had over 200 ads displayed in multiple NYC subway stations. Becka currently teaches workshops on armor and prop making with Worbla at Manhattan Wardrobe Supply in addition to workshops around the country.

Fire Lily

Fire Lily has been cosplaying and sewing costumes since 2004. She has won numerous awards such as Best In Show and Best Overall for her costume craftsmanship and presentation skills since 2006, and to date has made over 200 costumes for herself and others. Fire Lily has served as the Head Judge and Judge Wrangler for Katsucon's Masquerade Department for the last ten years, and she judges costume contests at conventions in the Mid-Atlantic region such as Otakon, Anime Mid-Atlantic, Tekkoshocon, T-Mode, Escape Velocity, MAGFest, and more. She is always happy to share her expertise with others and regularly gives panels on costume construction.

A stickler for details, Fire Lily focuses on making her costumes as accurately as possible and regularly learns new methods and techniques to achieve that personal goal.  Most recently, she has been exploring historical costume making and techniques, and learning aari embroidery and tambour beading.  When she isn't working on costumes, Fire Lily loves to read, play video games, bake pies, and binge-watch TV shows, movies, and anime!  

Jennifer Ozimek

Jennifer has 10 years of experience in costuming and competing at conventions and has won a number of awards including Best In Show at Otakon 2017. She loves working on complex costumes that include a lot of applique and beading. When she's not working on cosplay she can be found knitting, reading, playing video games, and crying about fictional characters.


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 costume craftsmanship as well as 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.