Here at Philcon, attendees and participants are encouraged to show their fellow fans their costumes on stage and compete for awards from our judges. No experience is needed; we’ll show you the ropes and help you on and off stage. There will be experienced judges to review entries on stage and, optionally, workmanship judging on the costumes’ technical work. Registration is required to appear on stage.

We welcome original designs as well as cosplay and other recreation costumes from science fiction, fantasy, historical, and other media.

Entrants’ Registration

Registration forms are available at the masquerade registration desk, open Friday 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. and Saturday 9.00 a.m. - 3.00 p.m. All members of each entry must check in at the masquerade registration desk during those periods and each individual must sign a release form. All entries must sign up for a rehearsal slot and must take part in a technical rehearsal on stage on Saturday before the masquerade.

Hall Costumes

We want to see your costumes. There is no prohibition against presenting on stage costumes worn in the halls before the show or at other conventions. If you have won an award at an international-level competition (a Worldcon, Animé North, or Costume-Con competition), please use your best judgment about whether to enter in or out of competition or ask us. However, entries that have won Best in Show or Best [in Skill Division] in an international-level competition, or that present purchased or rented costumes must appear as Not in Competition.

Categories and Skill Divisions

The masquerade will use two entry categories, Re-creation and Original Design, and the four skill divisions recommended by the International Costumers’ Guild: Young Fan, Novice, Journeyman, and Craftsman/Master.

Entry Categories

Re-creation costumes are duplicates or design adaptations of the published work of someone other than the contestant. Their design is copied from a film, television show, theatrical presentation, illustration, comic, work of art, or other medium showing at least one good view of the work copied. Examples of re-creation sources include but are not limited to games, graphic novels, Japanese media, paintings, photos, movies, and TV shows.

Original Design costumes are costumes whose design is the creation of the contestant, even if inspired by an SF, fantasy, mythological, or other source. A costume designed from a written source and the entrant’s imagination is not a recreation costume. It’s an original costume.

Skill Divisions

Skill divisions protect new costumers from having to compete with experienced costumers. Philcon’s skill divisions are as follows:

Craftsman/Master: Any entrant may compete in the Craftsman/Master division.

Journeyman: Professional costumers or any entrant who has competed and won in the Master division at an international competition (Worldcon, Animé North, or Costume-Con masquerade) or in the Craftsman division at Philcon or another regional convention may not compete in the Journeyman division. An entrant who has won “Best in Show” or “Best Journeyman” at an international competition may not compete in the Journeyman division. An entrant who has won more than three major awards in the Journeyman division in international competition may not compete in this division. Anyone else may compete in the Journeyman division.

Novice: Professional costumers or any entrant who has competed and won in any division other than Novice at an international competition may not compete in the Novice division. An entrant who has won “Best in Show” or “Best Novice” at an international competition may not compete in this division. An entrant who has won major awards in the Novice division at international competitions is encouraged to enter in the Journeyman division.

Young Fan: An entrant under 13 years of age on the day of the masquerade (i.e., born before November 17, 2018) and not part of an adult entry may enter the Young Fan division. This division is for costumes designed and/or made by the young fan, either in their entirety or with assistance from adults (such as parents). A child wearing a costume designed and built entirely by an adult should be entered either in the adult’s appropriate skill division or Not in Competition. A young fan may choose to enter one of the adult categories.

The young fan entries will appear first during the masquerade and the judges will immediately make their decisions before the adult entries appear on stage.

Group entries should compete at the level of the group’s most experienced member(s).

Any entrant may choose to compete in a division that expects higher skill levels.


The judges will consider both entry categories and skill divisions in making their awards. The Philcon masquerade’s philosophy is “excellence deserves award”; there are no predetermined minimum or maximum number of awards the judges may make.

Stage Judging: Some judges will be at the front of the audience watching the entries as they present their costumes. They will look at the costumes as well as how they work with the presentation, choreography, music, and/or script. Judging by them is mandatory for all entries except for costumes entered “not in competition”.

Workmanship Judging: Other judges will be in or near the green room before and during the show to evaluate the workmanship on costumes, or parts of costumes, voluntarily brought to them by entrants. This is where exquisite attention to detail may be recognized. The workmanship judges’ decisions are entirely separate from those of the stage judges.

Awards: The judges' deliberations usually take some time. Awards will be announced by skill division and will include both awards for stage appearance and for workmanship. In addition, fannish groups may have awards of their own to bestow.


Official Photography: The official masquerade photographer will photograph your costume(s) before the show starts. This is not optional.

Fan Photography: During the show, members of the audience may take photos from their seats, using available light (not flash). After the last entry’s presentation (while the judges are deliberating) there will be a separate “fan photo” area in another space. Entrant participation is strictly optional.

For the safety of those on stage, use of flash photography from the audience during the show is strictly prohibited. The Masquerade Director will stop the show and have the house lights turned on until those using flash have been ejected from the hall.

Welcome to a Successful Masquerade

Remember, this is a costume show, not a talent competition. We look forward to seeing you at the Philcon masquerade.

Masquerade Registration Form