Masquerade Rules



  1. Participants must have an Otakon membership badge. Dealers, Press, Artists, and other specialty badges are valid.
  2. All entries must be pre-registered online to participate in the Masquerade. There is no at-con registration.
  3. Registration is capped to 40 total entries.
  4. A maximum of 25 skits can perform at the Masquerade. The first 25 registered skits are marked as ‘Reserved.’ Once filled, the additional 15 entries are marked as ‘Waitlist.’
    • Reserved entries gain first access to check-in at the convention Friday to choose their performance slot.
    • Waitlist entries gain later access and choose from the remaining slots.
    • Note: It is common that there are very few open skit slots for Waitlist participants.
  5. All participants appearing on stage, including stage hands or assistants, must be listed in the registration form with their information. 
  6. Access to backstage areas are restricted to individuals listed as skit participants. If any individual not part of your skit (such as parent or significant other) are needed backstage, please inform the Masquerade staff at check-in.
  7. ‘Secret’ or unlisted cast members are not allowed to participate. Skits found with adding members without approval of the Masquerade Staff will be immediately disqualified and may be subject to a ban from future Otakon Masquerades.


Due to the high amount of submissions with each growing year, Masquerade submission will no longer be ‘first come first serve’ basis.

  1. Registration will be made available for a limited period of time. Visit the Masquerade main page for the posted dates.
  2. When registration is closed, Masquerade staff will review all submissions. 25 submissions will be given Reserved spots, and 15 will be given Waitlist spots. All others will be informed that their submission was not accepted.
  3. Masquerade staff will not provide the metrics used in our choosing process. We will not provide feedback as to why a skit was or was not chosen, except for the following:
    • Skits that submit dance covers will be given lowest priority in our selection. Dance covers include:
      • Idol performances. Please visit the Otakon Idolspace.
      • Skit consisting majority of dancing to KPop, JPop, or western media.
      • TikTok dance mixes.
    • Skits that are Exhibition will be given lowest priority.


  1. Entrants must check-in to confirm their performance slot. Check-in is held on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. The time and location will be listed in your confirmation e-mail.
    • Please note: It is common that all skit spots are filled on Friday.
  2. Reserved entries will have first access to choosing their performance slot. Waitlist entries will then have access to the remaining slots.
  3. All entry slots are on a first-come first-serve basis.
  4. Those who fail to check-in will be unable to perform during the Masquerade. 
  5. All participants must submit a permission/release/waiver form at check-in to participate in the contest. This includes any individuals appearing on stage, including stage hands or assistants. Entries missing waiver forms will not be able to check in.
    • Minors under 18 years of age may participate in the Masquerade only if a permission/release form signed by the minor's legal guardian is provided. 
    • Digital waivers for printing out prior to the conversation will be made available online and e-mailed to submitted entries. 
    • Paper waivers will also be available at the Masquerade office before and during check-in.
  6. Changes to skit or cast may be done during check-in. Any changes once check-in has closed are subject to the approval of the Masquerade Head or Stage Manager.
  7. Changes to cast after check-in will be approved under the most extenuating of circumstances, such as illness or other emergency. Please finalize details of your skit and organize the cast prior to check-in.


The Otakon Masquerade no longer includes a craftsmanship competition portion and focuses solely on performance. If you or your group would like to have your costumes judged for craftsmanship, register for the Hall Costume Contest.

Those who participate in the Hall Costume Contest and would like to perform a skit rather than participate in the Hall Cosplay Walkon may register for the Masquerade.


  1. Entries are 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.
      • Note: Entries that plan to compete will be prioritized for acceptance over Exhibition skits.
  2. Each entry’s category is determined by the participant with the highest number of cosplay awards won. Examples:
    • 3 Participants with zero awards = Beginner
    • 2 participants with zero awards + one participant with a major Intermediate award = Intermediate.
    • 5 participants with Beginner awards + one participant with major Advanced award = Advanced.
  3. Otakon ranks placement awards as follows:
    • Major Awards: Best in Show, Best in Division, Best Performance, First Place, Second Place.
    • Minor Awards: Honorable Mentions, Judge’s Awards, Staff Awards.
    • Craftsmanship Only awards are not considered for ranking.
  4. Children 13 years and under will participate in the Youth category. A parent or legal guardian is required to accompany Youth participants during the Masquerade.
  5. Groups with skit participants that are both Youth and non-Youth, such as parents or legal guardians, may request to be judged in the youth category. These skits must focus on the Youth Participants. These requests are subject to the approval of the Masquerade Coordinator.



  1. Groups are limited to 10 people. This includes all individuals appearing on stage, including stage hands or assistants. This is for the safety of the participants and equipment. Individuals not appearing on stage (including backstage) are not counted toward this limit. 
  2. Presentations will observe the following time limits based on the number of performing participants in their presentation:  
    • 1-2 performing participants: 2 minutes (120seconds)
    • 3-4 performing participants: 3 minutes (180seconds)
    • 5-7 performing participants: 4 minutes (240seconds)
    • 8-10 performing participants: 5 minutes (300 seconds)
  3. A Performing participant is defined as a cast member on-stage for part or all of the performance and plays an active role in the progression or storyline. The following are not considered a performing participant and are not counted towards the time limit:
    • Stage hands or assistants who have very minor moments on stage. ‘Stage Ninjas’ who assist the performers on stage are considered participants.
    • Off-stage narrators or backstage hands.
  4. Under no circumstances will we grant extensions to time limits.

Costumes / Attire

  1. Skits and costumes must predominantly pertain in some way to anime, manga, anime-style video games or some facet of East Asian culture.
    • Characters from a non-asian media that have East Asian designs are allowed.
    • Original character costumes may be worn but must meet the above requirements.
  2. Costumes must have the equivalent of a PG-13 rated film. No partial or full nudity. All costumes must abide by the Code of Conduct.
  3. No real weapons of any kind are allowed. This includes airsoft guns, paintball guns, and steel weapons. Compliance with Otakon Weapons Policy is expected. Contestants violating this rule will be immediately disqualified, as well as any other repercussions for violating the weapon policy. 
  4. Your costume must allow you freedom of movement, including being able to use stairs. Make certain your costume allows you to do this unassisted. For liability reasons, Otakon staff will not assist costumers on or off the stage unless there are accessibility difficulties. Those with accessibility concerns should notate such during registration.

Skit Performance Requirements

  1. Please remember that children will be present in the audience. Skit content should be the equivalent of a PG-13 rated film. No explicit sexual references, gestures, or swearing are allowed. Any presentation that violates this rule will be disqualified and the group will be removed from the Masquerade. 
  2. Skits that were performed at other Masquerades are restricted to the following:
    • Skits that have won a major award should not be submitted. ‘Sandbagging’ will result in being disqualified from the competition. Please be aware that the staff and show runners participate or run other Masquerades throughout the country, and you will be found out.
      • Note: Resubmitting skits that have won major awards with minor edits to it falls under Sandbagging.
    • Skits that have not won a major award can be submitted.
  3. Skits will enter the stage at the beginning of their presentation using the stage-right entrance and exit using the stage-left exit at the conclusion of their presentation. Skits may utilize these entry and exit points as staging points throughout the duration of their presentation. If you require a different configuration for your presentation, please indicate this on your entry form and work with Masquerade staff during rehearsal
  4. All presentations must be within the designated area of the stage to protect the stage equipment.
  5. No jumping off the stage. Anyone not using the appropriate stage exit(s) will be disqualified. 
  6. Prior to the start of your skit, the Masquerade emcee will read the title and information regarding your skit. At the end, they will read the list of skit’s participants. These portions may not be used as parts of your performance.
  7. Purposeful damaging of stage equipment is prohibited. Violation of this rule will result in immediate disqualification and possible membership removal from Otakon.
  8. All props and materials taken on stage must leave the stage with you. 
    • Masquerade staff will not assist in placing or removing props from the stage.
    • Restricted prop materials: Confetti, glitter, rose petals, liquids, silly-string, fireworks, flash paper or other forms of pyrotechnics, smoke and fog generators.
    • If it cannot be removed from stage within 10 seconds, it should not go up on stage.
    • Usage of restricted prop materials during the Masquerade will result in disqualification and group members will be banned from future Otakon Masquerades.
  9. Under no circumstances will tables be provided. Chairs may be used if available. If you wish to utilize chairs for your performance, please note that on your registration form. All chairs that are taken on stage must leave the stage with you. 
  10. The show is limited to the amount of special lighting available, such as spotlights, color washes, blackouts, or fading/dimming of lights. Submit all custom-light requests during registration. The Masquerade AV staff with the Stage Crew will work with you during rehearsal regarding lighting.
  11. NEW FOR 2024: A screen behind the stage may be made available to participants for submitting video as part of their skit. As of April 2024 this has not been confirmed. This will be updated when more information is available.
  12. If you wish to use any microphones, please note that within your registration form.
    • A script must be provided to the Masquerade staff before the convention. Failing to deliver a script by the Wednesday before the con will result in voiding your registration.
    • A maximum of two handheld microphones with accompanying stands will be available.
    • Lapel/hands free microphones will not be provided.
    • A mix of live dialogue and pre-recorded dialogue is permitted, but the skit must remain audible through its duration.
    • If the skit deviates from the original provided script it will be disqualified. Greater deviation may result in group members being banned from future Otakon Masquerades.
  13. No special audio equipment will be provided for your performance. This includes, but not limited to: musical instruments, amplifiers, additional microphones of any type, and audio connections directly to any of the venue's audio equipment. 
  14. Only Otakon staff and associates will operate the audio equipment. Participants will not be allowed to operate the audio equipment, no exceptions. 
  15. We will not provide electrical power connections on-stage.
  16. The video equipment at the masquerade is provided strictly to enhance the viewing experience of the audience. We will not play any pre-recorded video of any nature, provide special or specific camera shots for your presentation, or allow participants to operate the video equipment. No exceptions.


You may choose to submit an audio file to provide background music, dialogue, effects, etc. for your presentation. 

  1. MP3 files are preferred for audio, but we will take OGG, AIFF, etc. Audio will be checked by Masquerade staff to ensure that it can be played during the convention. Bringing backups of your audio is highly recommended.
  2. We cannot switch tracks during your presentation. All effects, music, dialogue, and other audio elements of your skit must be recorded on a single track.
  3. We cannot fade in, fade out, or alter audio levels during your skit. Please include these changes in audio level in your recording.
  4. Please practice good recording techniques, respecting all nominal audio recording levels. Due to the unpredictability of the audio setup and characteristics of the Masquerade’s venue, we highly discourage the use of audio panning techniques, such as limiting certain sounds to the left or right stereo channel. Any usage of such techniques is at your own risk. Masquerade staff will not be responsible for distorted or missing audio as a result of bad recordings. 
  5. Provided audio will be played from beginning to end. If you need pauses in the background effects, please include these pauses in your recording.

After registration, you will be provided with an option to submit your audio to the Masquerade staff digitally. We strongly advise that you do not submit audio until it is completely finalized. Skits will be given three chances to re-submit audio.

Alternatively, USB drives can be collected during check-in. Due to technical limitations, we will no longer use CDs for audio submission.

Submitting a USB Drive

  1. No other files should be on the USB drive other than the submitted audio.
  2. USB drives will only be accepted during check-in. They will be returned to you after the audio file has been copied to our devices.
  3. Please ensure your audio follows the previous rules.


  1. Groups will be able to choose their preferred skit number / placement in the show during check-in. However, the order of skits on stage will be finalized by Masquerade staff. 
  2. All Masquerade participants will receive both paperwork and a special Cosplay ribbon listing pertinent line-up times. Please be on time! Groups who are late to important time slots will be cut from the Masquerade. 
  3. All Masquerade participants are required to attend the Saturday morning rehearsal. No exceptions.
    1. Groups will be given 1-2 run throughs of their performances during this time.
    2. If all group members cannot attend, please inform the Masquerade staff during check-in.
    3. Costumes are not required for rehearsal, but are advised to bring all props required for the skit.
  4. The Masquerade Head has the full authority to request a change to a costume or skit. Refusal to make the requested change will disqualify the person or group from the competition. 
  5. Otakorp, Inc. reserves the right to withdraw or disallow any skit that, in our judgment, poses a risk to the safety of performers or audience members, fails to comply with facility rules, or otherwise fails to meet the requirements of these rules and regulations.