How to Register for the Otakon Masquerade

To register for the Otakon Masquerade, please read to the bottom of the page and follow the link.

Registration will open for the Otakon Masquerade July 12th, and close July 23rd, or when all registration slots have been filled. Please be aware that the Otakon 2023 submission form was online for two days before filling.

Otakon Masquerade Information

We welcome everyone to come see the long-standing staple of anime conventions: the Masquerade! For those interested in seeing what it's all about, come to the Masquerade on Saturday night, find a seat, and watch a great show by fans, for fans.

We welcome participants, too! After all, it’s by fans, for fans. Interested in performing?

The Masquerade is designed for cosplayers who wish to perform a short skit on stage, or whose costume would be best presented in an on-stage format. For costumers who wish to have their costume judged but do not want to perform a skit (i.e. a walk-on entry), we recommend entering the Hall Costume Contest.

Why participate in Otakon Masquerade? Here's one reason!

Best in Show winners will receive free, complementary memberships that include attendance for Otakon 2024.

Please note that these memberships are non-transferable and apply only to Otakon 2024.

In order to participate, you must have an Otakon Member Badge (Dealers, Press, and other specialty badge types are also valid).

Additional Prize Support provided by:
Ultimate Wireless

We're excited to have Ultimate Wireless provide additional prize support for our masquerade this year.  Prizes may include Cat-Eared Bluetooth Headsets, Wireless Chargers, Mobile Fans and more.



Performance Categories

Entries will be separated into one of five categories:

  • Youth - individual or group consisting primarily of children 13 years of age and under, as well as their parents, guardian, or other individuals deemed appropriate by the Masquerade Coordinator
  • Beginner - contestants who have won zero or one major cosplay performance award at any convention. This level may be known as ‘Novice’ at other events.
  • Intermediate - contestants who have won two, but less than five major cosplay performance awards at any convention. This level may be known as ‘Journeyman’ at other events.
  • Advanced - contestants who have won five or more major cosplay performance awards at any convention. This level may be known as ‘Craftsman’ or ‘Masters’  at other events.
  • Exhibition (Non-competition) - contestants do not wish to be part of the competition and simply perform on stage.

Children 13 years old and under will be judged separately in the Youth category. Entries which include participants who do not qualify for the youth category, such as parents or guardians, in addition to qualifying youth participants may request to be judged in the youth category. These requests are subject to the approval of the Masquerade Coordinator.

Parents are required to accompany children 13 years of age and younger during the Masquerade.

Release Forms

All participants will be required to sign a permission/release/waiver form to participate in the contest. This includes stage hands, stage assistants, and any other individuals appearing on stage. Simply put, any person who steps on stage must submit a waiver.

Minors under 18 years of age can only participate in the Masquerade 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 check-in to expedite the process.

Important! Forms are collected during Masquerade check in, and is the only time we accept waivers. Groups with missing waiver forms will not be checked in and cannot reserve a spot in the Masquerade. We strongly recommend that you make prior arrangements on your own with your cast members to ensure that all waiver forms are present when you check in. Extra copies of blank forms will be made available at the Masquerade Office.

Release forms will be e-mailed to pre-registered skits.

Costume Eligibility

Craftsmanship judging is no longer part of the Otakon masquerade.

  • Costumes are not required to be hand-made.
  • Cast character choices must pertain in some way to anime, manga, anime-style video games, or some facet of East Asian culture.
  • Original character costumes are allowed so long as they follow the above requirement.
  • It is not required that all group members wear a costume, but attire must be appropriate with the skit theme.

Skit Length

Maximum skit length will continue to be determined by the number of performing participants in your skit:

  • 1-2 performing participants: 2 minutes (120 seconds)
  • 3-4 performing participants: 3 minutes (180 seconds)
  • 5-7 performing participants: 4 minutes (240 seconds)
  • 8-10 performing participants: 5 minutes (300 seconds)

The length of a skit is measured from the first move or line until the last move or line.

Participants who do not play an active role in the progression or storyline of their performance, such as stage hands or assistants, will not count towards the number of performing participants.

Remember, short is good, funny is better, short and funny is best.

Stage Entry and Exit

The performance stage is large and lifted off the floor. Attendees must use stairs in order to get on and off the stage.

"We are unable to confirm if a ramp or lift will be made available until the first day of the convention."

The arrows above indicate the preferred direction for entry and exit during your skit. Following this traffic pattern helps minimize crowding backstage and allows the next skit to prepare for their upcoming performance. 

You may use these points for both entry and exit as many times as needed (i.e. to enter and leave the stage multiple times during the skit.) If the standard pattern does not work for your skit idea, talk to the Masquerade staff during rehearsal so we can find the best way to accommodate your group.

Please read the Full Masquerade Rules and Regulations for the complete guidelines and more information on this and other rules changes.

How to Register for the Otakon Masquerade

A maximum of 25 skits are able to perform during the Masquerade. These slots are filled using the following methods:

  • First 25 registered entries are designated as “Reserved.” These entries gain first access to check-in at the convention on Friday to choose their performing slot.
  • The next 15 entries registered are designated as “Overflow.” These entries gain later access to check-in at the convention and are able to choose from the remaining slots.

All performance slots are first-come-first serve unless special accommodations are made, which must be discussed with the Masquerade Head before the convention. 


If you have not done so already, please take a moment to review the Full Masquerade Rules and Regulations.

Masquerade Registration

Registration is now closed. All submission spots have been filled.


The Masquerade and Cosplay Contests section of the Otakon Web Boards is dedicated to questions about the Masquerade and other costuming events.

You may have a question that's already been asked by fellow Masquerade participants. You can find answers to the questions already asked and post new questions there.

You must be a registered member of the Otakon Web Boards to access the Otakon Masquerade and Cosplay section.

We strongly encourage all Masquerade participants to visit the web boards regularly, as we will be posting information leading up to Otakon to make your at-con Masquerade experience smoother and more enjoyable.

Questions, problems, changes to any skit entries, and requests for additional information may be sent to the Masquerade Coordinator through the Otakon Help Desk.