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Costume Contest

Sakura-Con 2018 Costume Contest Rules

This is a contest of craftsmanship, skill and creativity in the construction of costumes from anime and video games!

Contestants will be judged based on the quality of the costumes created, as well as how closely the costumes reflect the source material.

Costumes must be made by the contestant, and worn at the time of judging by either the contestant, or a friend or family. The model’s physical appearance or similarity to the character will not be taken into consideration during judging – only the craftsmanship quality.

This is not a popularity contest, nor a look alike contest.

Costume Contest Judges

Contest Format

The costume contest will consist of two parts, judging portion and a walk-on portion.

The judging portion is the actual contest and will take place on TBD. During judging, contestants will display their costumes to a panel of judges, where the judges will ask questions about the materials, construction techniques, etc, and will have a chance to inspect the costumes and props from a close distance. Contestants will be called up to the judging table one at a time at a time decided during the pre-meeting. During this time, only the contestant and one handler will be allowed at the judging table. The judging process should take roughly 8 minutes.

Costumes will be scored on the following categories:

  • Execution – How well is the costume constructed? (judges will look at seam straightness, material smoothness, paint quality, etc)
  • Accuracy – How close is the costume to the source material? (Judges will look at color matching, detail reproduction and inclusion of costume elements)
  • Complexity – Is the piece challenging or simple to make? (judges will look at number of elements in the costume as well as complexity of said elements)
  • Creativity – Did design challenges get solved in novel or interesting ways? (judges will look at use of materials, patterns or freehand techniques used)

Each category will be weighed differently, with the highest emphasis being placed on execution and accuracy.

At the end of the day, the scores will be tallied, and the winners will be decided that night.

The walk-on section will take place on Saturday, at TBD. During the walk-on, contestants will go on stage and show off their costumes to the rest of the convention, while a song of their choice plays in the background. Contestants will have 1 minuted and 30 seconds to walk on stage, show their costumes and walk off.

No judging will take place at this time, as the winners will have been selected during the judging portion.

After all contestants walk through the stage, awards will be announced by the MC.

Awards will be given to the winner in each category, as well as additional awards for exceptional quality or achievement.

Contest Rules

  • Contestants may enter individually or as a group of up to 5 people.
    • Individual entries will be judged on the quality and craftsmanship of a single costume (including props and accessories).
    • Group entries will be judged based on the quality and craftsmanship of the entire group. In other words, the entire group will receive a single score.
  • All entries, Individual or Group will register under ONE of the following categories:
    • Novice: You or anyone in your group has never won a contest, or have entered fewer than three (3) contests before.
    • Intermediate: You or anyone in your group has won an award in the past, in the novice category or have participated in more than three (3) contests before.
    • Masters: You or anyone in your group has won an award in intermediate or higher.
  • Judges reserve the right to adjust your category if they deem that your cosplay was entered at a level too far below or above the appropriate category.
  • Costumes and props must be made by the contestants. No bought costumes or commissions will be allowed.
    • Found parts or props are allowed, though they must not comprise more than 25% of the costume (eg. shoes that were painted or covered, or pants that were modified in some way are allowed)
  • Entrants may not enter a costume that has won an award at a previous Sakura-Con.
  • Contestants must provide at least 3 reference pictures of each character  with their entry. We recommend that images show as much detail about the character and the costume.
    • In the event that fewer than 3 pictures are available, please state the reason during the application process (such as “this is an original costume by someone in DeviantArt)
  • Contestants must provide an audio track with their entry, which will be used during their walk-on portion. Audio for walk-ons is limited to 1 minute and 30 seconds, and must be submitted in mp3 format.
  • Contestants must provide at least 5 progress pictures before the March 15st, 2018
  • All media (Reference pictures, music for walk ons and progress pictures) must be submitted digitally via Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive (Google Drive preferred). A link to a folder with one of these services must be submitted during the application process.
  • Applications received without reference pictures and accompanying music will be disqualified.
  • Contestants are required to attend the pre-meeting, or on-site registration at the convention, the morning of TBD. Day and times will be posted in the Sakura-Con schedule guide. Failure to attend this required meeting will result in a disqualification.
  • Participants may enter both the Costume Contest and Skit Contest, but must enter each contest separately.
  • All submissions are due by March 15 2018.

Any questions regarding the rules or application process can be directed to cosplay@sakuracon.org


All costumes must adhere to the Sakura-Con policies. No live steel, no functioning or previously functioning projectile weapons, no indecent exposure, etc… Sakura-Con policies

It is up to the contestant to state any possible conflicts of interest. Such conflicts will be evaluated by the cosplay coordinator, and appropriate action will be taken at the discretion of the cosplay coordinator and sakura con staff.  Failure to do so may result in disqualification.

All awards are final. Poor sportsmanship may result in disqualification and barring from future contests.

Harassment of judges or staff, or any conduct that violates the Sakura-Con policies may result in disqualification and barring from future contests. Further action may be taken at the discretion of programming staff.

Have fun and happy crafting!

Cosplay Contest Application Sheet