Costume Contest

Costume Contest

Costume Contest PhotoVCON’s Costume Contest, which is held on the Saturday of the event, is great fun to watch and even more fun to participate in. The competition is open to anyone who is not a professional costume designer† and has made their own costume, whether they have cut, sewn, sculpted and glued everything by hand or if they have carefully pieced together an amazing outfit by purchasing and buying just the right individual pieces from here and there.

There are three judged categories – Junior (Age 14 and Under), Novice, and Master – plus a Non-Competition category. If you plan to enter the competition, please review the information below to determine what category you should enter. Group/duo costume entries are allowed, but all costumes in the group/duo will be subject to the rules of whichever one category they register in.

If you already know that you have a great costume and want to participate in the VCON Costume Contest, you may pre-register online:

A professional is any person who is engaged in the activity of costume design for gain or compensation as means of livelihood; that is, as a primary, permanent career, not as an amateur or pastime.

Jeff Hartt photo


MC: Jeff Hartt, con goer for over 20 years, many time VCON staff member, table top gamer from way back, cosplayer, member of the 501st and head of the  I AM CANADIAN team



Liliene Claire Photo


Entertainment: Liliene Claire, a dramatic coloratura opera singer, polymath, model and geek.



Contest Judges:

Kevin Free
Kevin Free Photo
Inuki Cosplay
Janice Murphy
Janice Murphy
My Tell-Tale Heart & The Wylde Wood Collective
Scott Murphy
Scott Murphy Photo
Model Addix


Contest Awards:

  • Best In Show: Awarded by the judges to the best costume among all judged categories
  • Best Theme: Awarded by the judges to the best use of theme for VCON42
  • Master: Awarded by the judges to the best costume in the Master Category
  • Novice: Awarded by the judges to the best costume in the Novice Category
  • Junior: Awarded by the judges to the best costume in the Junior Category
  • Fan Choice: Awarded by audience applause

For the audience, the Costume Contest starts on Saturday, October 6, at 5:00 PM but for the contestants, there are several steps leading up to the event all of which are at least as important as showing your creativity on stage.

Please note that the sign in/pre-judging and the orientation/dress rehearsal are MANDATORY. Contestants who do not sign in or attend the preparatory events will be disqualified.

3:00 PM – Costume Contest Sign In and Pre-Judging (Steveston B)

Please register or sign in (if you have pre-registered) at this time in the Steveston B meeting room where you will be given some preliminary information about the contest. This will lead into pre-judging where each contestant will be asked a few questions about their costumes by the judges. This will continue until 4:20 PM.

Craftsmanship judging is your moment to shine! Show off your hard work; we encourage you to explain your working process to our judges who are eager to listen and admire your costume. If a judge asks you a question about a specific detail or technique, don’t be nervous! This means that there is an aspect of your costume that they like and want to know more about in order to better appreciate your costume.

4:30 PM – Contest set-up, Orientation and Dress Rehearsal (Minoru C&D)

Contestants and volunteers are then required to attend the contest set-up, the orientation and dress rehearsal in Minoru C&D. This is when and where entrants will have an opportunity to ask last-minute questions and to become familiar with the stage and walk-on choreography. This will go on until 5:00 PM when the doors will open to let the audience come in before the contest officially starts.

The last step in your pre-competition preparation is to speak with our audio specialists about any music and your introduction. Please ensure that your audio was emailed to us in an MP3 format after your entry is confirmed if you wish to have custom audio.

5:00 PM – Costume Contest

While the audience gets settled, take a moment and get ready to smile (or glower if it’s more appropriate)! Once the contest has started and the hosts and judges are ready, you’ll be called into line. Prepare yourself for the spotlight! Both the judges and the crowd love to see contestants acting in character.



The Junior category is for those who are getting into costuming at a young age. Must be 14 or under.

Unlike the other judged categories there is no restriction on the origin of the costume. Stage presence and character are the main areas that the judges will be looking at. This category is focused on participation to help cultivate a strong costuming culture and teach kids the value of creativity.



The Novice category is for newcomers who are beginning to hone their costuming skills or for those who have yet to try their hand in a costume competition. Judges will show more leniency towards the purchase and modification of bought or found items in this category and will reward ingenuity and effort where contestants might be lacking in experience.

If you have never entered a costume contest before but feel your skills and experience may be more advanced than the Novice level, please feel free to enter a higher category, but please mention this in your entry. Remember that once you have been registered for a category, you can’t request that it be changed.

If the judges feel that your skill or experience is more advanced than the Novice level and your costume is largely handmade, you may be moved into the Master category.

  • Experienced costume designers may not enter in the Novice category:
    • A contestant who has competed and won in any category other than Novice in competition may not enter in the Novice category.
    • A contestant who has won “Best in Show” in competition may not enter in the Novice category.
    • A contestant who has won numerous major awards in the Novice category in competition is strongly encouraged and may be bumped up to enter in the Master category.
  • Costumes cannot be “packaged” store bought, but all parts of the costume can be store bought. We are looking for your creativity solutions mixed in with your costuming skills.


The Master category is for costume designers with experience who have entered competitive costuming contests before. Only a small part of the costume may be purchased and, if you have bought anything, it is best to customize it. If you did not construct the majority of your costume, this is not your category.

Anyone may enter the Master category, but we suggest that first-time costumer designers avoid this category. If the judges feel that your costume does not meet the Master level requirements you may be advised to compete in the Novice category.



The Non-Competition category is for anyone who would like to show off their costume to the VCON crowd but who either isn’t eligible for or doesn’t want to participate in a judged category (e.g., a professional wearing a costume they made, someone wearing a costume made by a professional, someone wearing a costume made by someone else who is not at the event, someone with a costume the judges deam to be too well made for Novice but who doesn’t want to compete at the Master level).

Non-Competition participants must come to sign-in (so that the contest coordinator knows you are on site) and must participate in the rehearsal, but will not need to stay for pre-judging after  having signed in.


  1. No open flame, fire, flash powder, lasers, or flash paper is allowed.
  2. No messy substances on stage. The stage must be in as good a condition when you leave as when you enter.
  3. No flagrant nudity will be permitted. The costume contest is rated PG-13. There will be children in the audience
  4. Competitors must attend all mandatory costume contest preparations. Failure to appear or to be ready to go on stage may result in disqualification. While competitors may be subject to circumstances beyond their control, the costume contest director has final say.
  5. The costume contest director and staff reserve the right to eliminate anyone from competition on the basis of taste, danger to the audience or other contestants, or for any other reason deemed sufficient. Repeated violations of the rules may result in the contestant being barred from future costume contests.
  6. No costume entered can be “package bought” (with the exception of the “Non-Competition” category). Any contestant caught cheating with a bought or pre-made costume will face severe consequences.
  7. You must have a VCON membership valid on the date of the competition in order to participate.
  8. The decisions of the Judges are final.
  9. This is an amateur contest; professionals are not allowed to enter.
  10. Attitude is everything. Be kind to your fellow contestants and costume contest staff or you will be disqualified.