Expo Costume Contest Rules and Code of Conduct
Contestants must have a valid Expo entry pass for the day of the contest.
The Edmonton Expo Costume Contest participation is restricted to contestants who complete the online registration. Online registration is on a first come – first serve basis and is limited to 50 entries, individual or group. Once the cap has been reached, the remaining entrants will be placed on a Standby list and notified if and when a spot opens up.
Registration only reserves a spot in the contest; contestants are still required to check-in at the Costume Contest registration booth on the day of the event.
Online registration will require the following information for each participant:
- Legal Name
- Cosplay Name (optional)
- Each additional name, age, character of group members
- Introduction: 100 words or less to be read by the emcee as contestants approach the stage
- Reference Material: photos, written descriptor if a literary or original character, other relevant information including variant or mash up
The following criteria must be met to avoid disqualification:
- Costumes must not have won an award at a previous Expo.
- The costume theme is to be consistent with the Expo celebration – e.g. fantasy/sci-fi, pop culture, books, television, comic, animation, games, etc.
- The Expo reserves the right to disallow any contestants on basis of appropriateness of costume – please remember that the Expo is a family friendly convention. The Expo staff has the final say on all entries.
- All special effects and props must be pre-approved by the Expo staff prior to the day of the contest. Please surprise the audience, not the staff. All information supplied to the Expo will be held in the strictest of confidence. Any electrical effects must be self-powered. The Expo retains the right to disallow any prop for any reason.
- Any prop or weapon must have passed inspection and be approved by the Weapons and Prop Compliance Team prior to the contest. Exceptions for items which don’t comply can be granted for the duration of the Costume Contest appearance ONLY. Those items will be escorted to the contest staging area by a Weapons and Prop Compliance Team member.
- Contestants are allowed to bring props within reason. Entrants must leave the stage as clean as it was when they first walked on it. Glitter, confetti, silly string, etc. will not be allowed on stage.
- Absolutely no flame or pyrotechnical props are permitted due to fire regulations. The Expo’s primary concern is public safety.
- The Expo cannot accept lighting requests e.g. turning the lights off or down.
- Ensure that all skit material is appropriate for all audiences. Contestants performing material of an inappropriate sexual, violent, or political nature, or promoting hatred against any groups, will be immediately disqualified and may have their Expo badges revoked.
To ensure fairness to all contestants, entrants will be split into skill divisions* Please ensure that you select the appropriate category to compete in. Group entries must enter the skill division that their most experienced member meets the criteria for. The costume contest director and the judges retain the right to bump a contestant into a higher category if they feel a costume deserves to be recognized at a higher skill level.
Youth – professional costumers** may not enter the Youth division
1. Entrants 10 – 15 years old.
2. Entrants 12 and under are encouraged to appear in our Children’s Costume Showcase
3. A youth wearing a costume designed and built entirely by an adult should be entered either in the adult’s appropriate skill division.
Novice – professional costumers** may not enter the Novice division
1. Entrants 14 years of age or older
2. Costumer who has never entered a contest
3. Costumer who has NOT won an award in any costume competition at the adult level
Journeyman – professional costumers** may not enter the Journeyman division
1. Entrants 14 years of age or older
2. Costumer who has won one (1) but less than three (3) awards in adult competition such as: Best Costume, Best Skit, Best Workmanship, First Place, etc.
3. Costumer who has NOT won a “Best in Show” or “Best in Class” award at the Journeyman level
4. Costumer who has NOT won any kind of award at the Master level, including Runner Up or Honourable Mention prizes
5. Any Novice who wishes to compete as a Journeyman
Master – for advanced costumers and professionals** in the costuming field
1. Entrants 14 years of age or older
2. Costumers who have won three (3) or more awards in adult competition
3. Costumers who have won a “Best in Show” or “Best in Class” award at the Journeyman Level
4. Costumers who have won ANY kind of award at the Master level
5. Any costumer regardless of experience or past awards who wishes to compete as a Master
* The Expo reserves the right to combine or split skill divisions as required for any reason and without notice to meet the needs of the competition.
** A Professional Costumer is defined as any individual who is hired for pay on a part-time or fulltime basis to create costumes for any kind of studio or theatrical organization, OR who obtains more than 25% of their yearly income through commissioned costumes for other individuals.
Check-in at the Expo is mandatory to confirm your participation. Check-in times and location will be emailed to all registered participants prior to the contest.
- Check-in must be concluded within the assigned time frame
- You do not have to be in costume in order to check-in
- Contestant appearance orders will be confirmed at this time
- If a contestant has selected the option to participate in the Craftsmanship Award when they registered, they will be assigned a time to appear in front of the panel of judges. Contestants are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes before their scheduled judging time slot.
Entrants on the standby list are given an opportunity to secure a spot in the contest upon conclusion of checking in the registered competitors. Available spots will be determined by the number of registered contestants who completed their check-in.
The Craftsmanship Judging
Craftsmanship is a separate and optional award for registered contestants who have made 80% or more of their costume. To participate in this category, entrants must have selected the Craftsmanship category at the time of registration.
Contestants who are on the standby list are eligible to participate only if they become confirmed entrants prior to or on the day of the competition.
Each contestant will have a 3 minute time limit with the judges, please prepare accordingly. Groups will receive an additional minute per person in their group.
Competitors must be in full costume at the time of judging.
The Craftsmanship Award is based on the following criteria:
Fabrication: Clean edges, paint job, seam work, construction and durability, attention to detail, innovative construction methods. Props and accessories included.
Materials: Fabrics, leathers, etc. are believable to the costume, innovative use of unconventional materials, functionality of the design, and execution of simulated materials.
Fit and Presentation: Tailored and scaled to the cosplayer, complete character (make up, wigs, and prosthetics), and overall presentation of the character.
Adaptation: Accuracy to the reference material (photos, drawings, or literary descriptors, references to variants, mash ups, etc.), original designs will be judged on the believability of the costume based on the character described in the reference material.
All contestants are required to appear on stage. Contestants will be lined up as per their assigned order determined at check in. Each individual entry (1-2 people) will have a maximum of 60 seconds of stage time, each group will have 90 seconds, and skit entries will have 90 seconds to perform. Should entrants go over the time limit, they will run the risk of being abruptly cut short by the organizers and possible disqualification from the contest.
Only registered entrants are allowed in the Green Room and staging area. Please be aware that this means friends, children not participating in the contest, and animals (with the exception of certified service animals) are not to accompany entrants. Costumes must allow freedom of movement to navigate stairs. Please notify the costume contest director when you register if you require an assistant for larger costumes.
There are no change areas available for entrants. Contestants are to arrive at the Green Room in costume. Please, no sewing, gluing, spray painting, soldering, or welding in the Green Room.
What to expect on stage:
- The emcee will read the submitted introduction as each contestant approaches the stage.
- The Expo will provide an epic soundtrack for the walk on performances.
- Walk-on contestants, be prepared to field a question from the judges about your costume or character.
- There are microphones available to answer the judge’s questions. Additionally, microphones are to be used for any skit with dialogue unless the audio is pre-recorded.
- Contestants who will be performing to specific music/or pre-recorded dialogue must submit the track in MP3 or WAV format prior to the deadline. Your track must be edited to fit within the allotted appearance times. Contestants will be notified upon registration how and when to submit their file.
The Contest Judging
Contestants will appear on stage in front of a panel of judges who will be scoring each entry on the following criteria:
Costume: complete head to toe character, fit and scale, accuracy to the source material or believability as an original creation, overall visual impact, creativity and originality of the costume
Presentation: appearing in character, Q&A, stage presence, overall preparation
Audience Impact: fun factor, audience response (we understand that not everyone is an actor, often a good pose is sometimes enough to “sell” the character)
The Expo has two classes of awards as per the International Costumers Guild guidelines; Minor and Major.
- Minor awards, such as “Honorable Mention” and “Judge’s Choice” do not affect future division placement.
- The Major awards, “Best in Division” and “Best in Show” are deemed as ‘competitive’ and do affect future division placement.
Best in Show – Major
Best in Division: Master – Major
Honourable Mention: Master – Minor
Craftsmanship: Master – Major
Best in Division: Journeyman – Major
Honourable Mention: Journeyman – Minor
Craftsmanship: Journeyman – Major
Best in Division: Novice – Major
Honourable Mention: Novice – Minor
Craftsmanship: Novice – Major
Best in Division: Youth– Major
Honourable Mention: Youth – Minor
Best Overall Performance – Minor
Judges Choice – Minor
Each judge participating in the contest will select a Judges Choice Award.
The Fine Print
The Costume Contest director or representative of the Expo both have full authority to eliminate anyone from the competition on the grounds of unsportsmanlike conduct witnessed backstage, violation of the rules, or any other reason deemed sufficient. There is no appeal. Arguing with the director or representative may result in further action taken, such as a lifetime ban on participating in any future Expo Costume Contests.
Contestants are expected to obey all local, provincial and federal laws and bylaws governing the Expo and the venue location. Those who do not comply will be removed from the premises and their badge will be revoked without prior warning. If the nature of the infraction is severe, the proper authorities will be contacted.