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.

Also, the Best of Show winner will receive a complimentary membership to Otakon 2019.

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. 
  • Novice - One to Three major Craftsmanship related awards. This does not include judges awards or honorable mentions.
  • Journeyman - Four to Six Craftsmanship awards.
  • Craftsman - More than Six Craftsmanship awards.

For full rules and regulations click here.


Registration for the 2018 contests will open on July 1st, 2018 and close on August 1st or until we fill up. An exact time will be announced as the date approaches. There is a limit of 50 slots for online registration. At-Con registration will take place at 11:15 AM on Friday and 10:30 AM Saturday at the Hall Costume Contest Office (Room #159) where there will be an additional 25 slots that will be available at a first-come first-serve basis.

Hall Costume Contest Pre-Registration

Open: July 1, 2018, noon - Aug. 1, 2018, noon

Registration will remain open until noon on August 1st or until all pre-registration entries have been filled, which ever comes first.

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.

Hall Costume Contest Adult Waiver

Hall Costume Contest Minor Waiver

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

Utopian Pigeon

Spiked wigs and wings, hot glue and awkward dancing with a dash of Shoujo, sunflowers and JRPG's. Utopian Pigeon or U.P. Cosplay is a 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 10 years and competing for eight. 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, chasing cats and playing with friends on Twitch.

Laura Cristina Ortiz

Laura Cristina Ortiz is a Costume Designer in the film industry, a member of IATSE local 892 The Costume Designer's Guild and a 'Trashion" (trash + fashion) artist, specializing in upcycled garments inspired by Disney/pop culture.

Growing up in New York City, Laura was surrounded by the performing arts- from attending performances of the Big Apple Circus to the American Ballet Theatre, the Metropolitan Opera and to Broadway. Her continued exposure to various cultures continued through extensive travel, both in and out of the country. As part of a large Puerto Rican family, Laura was imbued with a strong sense of community and festivity, attributing her initial interest in costuming to her family's dedicated celebration of Halloween. At an early age, she fell in love with the art of storytelling through fabric, color and texture.

Her first convention was Otakon 2003- where she cosplayed as Selphie Tilmitt from Kingdom Hearts. It was her first foray into the niche hobby and opened the door to a six year cosplay journey, including opportunities to work with brands such as Bandai and Funimation by promoting their shows at conventions. Ultimately, Laura decided to pursue costuming professionally and focused her resources on starting her career as a Costume Designer. Her education has been widely eclectic, ranging from her degree earned at the Fashion Institute of Technology to interning for Tony Award winning Costume Designer Martin Pakledinaz to dressing classic, beloved characters at the Disneyland resort.

Her keen eyes for juxtaposing color and pattern has led to design opportunities with well known brands and companies such as Disney, Warner Bros, ABC Digital, Dreamworks TV, SMOSH, CollegeHumor, Awesomeness TV, Ruffles, Olympus and many more. Laura has also become invested in wearable art & sustainable fashion- constructing a dress made entirely out of recycled material, inspired by the character WALL-E (of the Pixar movie of the same name) for the Her Universe Fashion Show (2016) at San Diego Comic Con. She was a part of the "Designing Disney" DisneyStyle Facebook series, where she designed an upcycled Ariel dress made out of some of the most common trash found in the ocean. Laura's film and independent design projects have been written up by the New York Times, Disney Style, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Queens Tribune and others.


WindoftheStars, Mel Hoppe, is a veteran international known cosplayer based out of Northern Nevada.  She has been cosplaying since 2004 and has made over 100 costumes inspired by video games, anime, comics and of her own creative design. Many of these costumes have won prestigious awards at cosplay competitions since 2007.  Her costume works have been featured on TV as a judge on Call to Cosplay that aired on Crunchyroll and Myx TV, in print mostly notably in Cosmode, OtakuUSA and Mangabomb, and in several web publications such as CNET, Nerdist, TokyoPOP, and Kotaku.  She has also worked with 2K Games, Jo­Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, iLoveToCreate, IGG/I Got Games and more on promotional events, contests and costume collaborations.   Aside from making costumes for herself, she has made and designed costumes for her local theater group and had the honor to make Game of Thrones costumes for George R. R. Martin.  As a veteran in the cosplay community, she strives to spread the sense of community, helping her fellow cosplayers, and to promote the art of costume creation through her online presence and guest appearance both in the USA and international.


  1. I'm wearing a costume to Otakon, am I entered in the Hall Costume Contest?
    • No. The Hall Costume Contest is an event at Otakon that you must register to participate in.
  2. I didn't make my costume. Can I still enter the Hall Costume Contest/participate in the Fashion Show?
    • 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.
  3. 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?
    • 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.
  4. What do I need to bring to my judging session? What's recommended?
    • All members of your group, reference art/photos, your badges, and your waivers. We recommend showing up early.
  5. What happens if I'm having a costume meltdown?
    • 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!
  6. What can I expect to happen at my judging session?
    • 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.
  7. How many people can enter as a Group?
    • 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.
  8. How long is a judging session?
    • 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.
  9. I just want to walk across the stage, but I don't want to enter the contest. Can I do this?
    • No. The cat walk during the Masquerade is for Hall Costume Contest participants only.
  10. What if I'm late for my judging time because of a completely unforeseen emergency, rather than carelessness or forgetfulness?
    • 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!
  11. Do all members of my group need waivers, even if they won't be in the catwalk?
    • Yes, all members of the group must have waivers signed. This includes assistants and people that helped with the construction of the costume.
  12. What is the difference between the Hall Costume Contest and the Masquerade?
    • 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.
  13. I have no awards, what level am I considered?
    • You are going to compete in the Novice level.
  14. Do you allow World of Warcraft/League of Legends? 
    • Starting last year we now 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.