Masquerade Rules & Information

  • The RavenCon Masquerade is open to any costumed individual or group, but all participants must have valid RavenCon membership badges.
  • The event will be held on Saturday night. (See our program book for the time.)
  • Masquerade sign-up will be active online until 2:00 pm on Saturday. No entries will be accepted after that time.
  • If you have audio material to be played while you are on stage, please have it recorded on an otherwise blank USB drive, which is labeled with your name, your badge number, and the name of your costume (or group). There should be no more than ten (10) seconds of blank time before your audio begins to play.  The Registration Staff will collect audio at our Registration Desk. RavenCon cannot guarantee your audio will be played during your presentation. We reserve the right to review music before allowing it to be used. Music can be reclaimed after the Masquerade awards are presented.
  • There will be no live microphone for contestants to use on stage.
  • There will be no spotlights or other lighting effects available on stage.
  • If you plan to draw or otherwise “use” a weapon during your presentation, note that on your Masquerade sign-up sheet. Judges will make any necessary determination of suitability and safety.
  • If you are taking part in a group entry, only one Masquerade sign-up sheet is necessary for the entire group, but the name and badge number of all group members must be listed on that sheet.
  • The contest is open to all ages. An adult must accompany children under 12. Non-costumed parents of young entrants will be able to accompany their children at all times except while the children are onstage. Costumed parents can accompany their children onstage.
  • Entrants under 12 will not be judged but will receive certificates for participating.
  • Awards categories may include Best Costume, Best Presentation, Best in Show, Best Re-Creation, Top Novice, Top Journeyman, Top Master, and Judge’s Choice. Depending on the number of entrants, other awards may be added. Participants will be judged on costume construction, originality, and presentation. The decisions of the judges will be final.
  • Novice costumers are those who have won three (3) or fewer major (Best-, Top-, 1st Place-in category) awards in costume competitions. Journeyman costumers have won more than three major awards in costume competitions but fewer than three (3) Best in Show or Best Overall awards. Master costumers are those who have won more than three (3) Best in Show or Best Overall awards. Any entrant may choose to compete in a higher category.
  • No individual may present more than one costume in the contest. You cannot wear a costume onstage, then change into another costume and present it, too, for competition.
  • Individuals are limited to one (1) minute on stage. Group entries are limited to one (1) minute plus thirty (30) seconds for each additional member up to a maximum of three (3) minutes on stage. There will be no extended songs, skits, monologues, or conversations.
  • Any of the following on stage will result in disqualification and ejection from the Masquerade: smoke effects, open flames, squirting liquids, firing projectiles, throwing objects into the audience, use of obscene language, pornographic representations, and full or partial nudity. Help us keep RavenCon a safe and family-friendly convention.
  • Judging will incorporate a weighted system, meaning that the standards will be stricter for a Master-level costume than for a Novice entry. This helps encourage participation by newcomers.
  • Points may be deducted for missing costume parts, poor makeup, inaccurate accessories, or outfits that disintegrate onstage. Commercially purchased costumes are not eligible for the Masquerade competition.
  • We ask that anyone with a costume which has won three (3) or more major (Best, Top, or 1st Place) masquerade or costume competition awards elsewhere not enter that particular costume into RavenCon’s competition unless it has been significantly changed or improved.
  • Masquers need to attend pre-judging which takes place at least one (1) hour before the Masquerade start time. At this time, you will be assigned a place and the judges will have a chance to ask you questions. If you have a re-creation costume, bring any supporting photos, illustrations, text passages, models, or other reference materials with you for judges to examine. Latecomers may not be allowed to participate, even if they have registered by turning in a sign-up sheet.
  • RavenCon reserves the right to remove anyone from the contest at any time for any reason, including but not limited to indecent costume, unprofessional conduct, tardiness, and disruption of the contest.
  • Participants must stay within the contest area (the Masquerade room, Green Room, or designated meeting area) until judging is completed and awards are presented.

Tips to help you win

  • Begin putting your costume together well before the convention. Everything takes longer than you may think it does.
  • Pay attention to detail. If your character is supposed to have red hair, you should, too. If that ray gun is supposed to be brass and steel, paint the green and blue plastic.
  • Construct what you can and buy what you have to. Nobody expects you to make Wellington boots from scratch, but that cape might be something you can do. Try to have a costume whose parts go together. A space captain should not be wearing ratty cross-trainers with his spiffy uniform.
  • When you are on stage, you are not supposed to look like you are wearing a costume. You are supposed to be the character you are portraying, wearing what that character would normally be comfortable wearing. Practice walking the way they would walk and making any distinctive gestures they would make.
  • If you will be speaking on stage, practice what you will say until you have it memorized and can say it convincingly.
  • When deciding how to portray your character on stage, keep in mind this dictum: Short is good. Funny is good. Short and funny is best.
  • Try on your entire costume and practice the moves you will be making on stage to ensure the costume does not come apart or leave a trail of pieces.
  • Make a list of everything that will be used in your presentation and check the items off as you pack them. This includes makeup, wig, belt, footwear, props, gloves, etc. If you have spares or a repair kit, pack those, too. RavenCon will have some basics, such as safety pins, and tape on hand in the Costume Triage Room (located on the 3rd floor in the Jefferson Building), but it’s best to have what you may need with you. (You know what your costume needs!)
  • Don’t forget the little things. Tuck your membership badge out of sight before you get on the stage. Do not have a visible wristwatch if your costume belongs to a long-ago era.

Hall Costume Contest

Hall costumes are those worn by fans for fun rather than created especially for Masquerade wear. A hall costume can be any garb with a science fiction, horror, or fantasy flavor that is not entered for stage competition. Many fans live in these clothes throughout the convention.

Maybe you have an otherworldly outfit you like to wear, but you’re not comfortable with facing formal competitors. That doesn’t mean you can’t get kudos for your work! RavenCon will have secret judges roving the halls and evaluating costumes that may not be in the Masquerade. The Hall Costume Contest will run from the convention’s opening on Friday afternoon to an hour before the Masquerade begins on Saturday.

If a judge thinks your costume is a standout, you’ll receive a special ribbon to be attached to your membership badge. You will also be given a card to enter your information (name and costume name) should you wish to participate in our Cosplay Showcase during the Masquerade. If you choose to participate in the Cosplay Showcase, your card will be collected and turned into the emcees and you will be called onstage to be recognized. Let the crowd enjoy what you’ve done! There are no long forms to fill out and no reference materials to be presented. Just wear and be there.