Masquerade Rules

Masquerade - What to Expect

The theme of this Arisia is Pirates vs Ninjas.

It is not required that you follow that theme, it is just a suggestion  :)


Before the Convention

We'd like to be able to plan the best possible Event for the benefit of our audience. We've put together a great staff. Our judges are very experienced artists in their own right. Our Master of Ceremonies, Tech Crew, and backstage crew are all here to make sure you get everything you need to give your best to the audience.

Before the Masquerade

Online Registration is NOW CLOSED.

At-Con registration will be available until 10:00 PM FRIDAY ONLY. There is NO Saturday registration this year.


Paper registrations forms will be available at the Masquerade Registration Desk all day on Friday.

Fill in as much information as you can ahead of time and submit it along the way. We will make provision for you to change that information until Masquerade Registration closes at 10 pm on Friday. THERE WILL BE NO REGISTRATION ON SATURDAY.

There will be a MANDATORY meeting for all costumers Saturday morning at 10 am. And the Tech Rehearsal begins at 11 am (also mandatory)

Your presentation will be limited to 60 seconds. Entries with three or more people should discuss presentation plans with the Masquerade Director.

Contestants competing in the Re-Creation category must provide at least one photograph of the original work at Masquerade Registration. Some Judges may not be familiar with the work you are copying. There will at least one judge with a background in Anime this year.

Please provide documentation sufficient for the Workmanship Judge to fairly and impartially evaluate your work. The Judge will have a limited amount of time to review your work and your documentation, so please don't write a novel. Photos, design sketches, screen shots, and short written descriptions of your work are encouraged.

The only person allowed to speak from the stage is the MC. He will be happy to work with you in reading a short script or to interact with you as planned ahead of time.

All your speech and music must be pre-recorded and handed in to Tech through the Masquerade Registration Desk as early as possible. Provide your recordings on CD or CDR (no CD-RWs). It is strongly suggested that you put only the music and/or speech that you want us to play on the CD you hand to us. Make and bring multiple copies so that you won't be out of luck should your CD become unusable prior to the competition.

Special effects must be cleared with the Masquerade Director and Tech Director before the competition. The best time to do this is before the Tech Rehearsal so that we can schedule enough time for that rehearsal for all of us (and you!) to feel comfortable that your effects will work.

NEVER surprise the crew. ALWAYS surprise the audience. Together we can insure that both these goals are achieved.

Ballroom Layout for Masquerade

Updated 1/13/08: A sketch of the Ballroom layout for this year's Masquerade is available here.

Note that, unlike last year, contestants will enter and leave via stage left instead of stage right, and will be brought from the 14th floor Green Room via a service corridor behind the left side of the ballroom.

Restrictions on Costumes and Props

There will be absolutely no flame, fires, sparks, or other flaming on stage. If you are a dragon, plenty of fake and safe flame is welcome.

If you are carrying a weapon on stage, we need to know ahead of time. Clear all weapons before the convention with the Masquerade Director. There will be no sharp edges allowed on weapons. No weapon will be allowed if it ejects or shoots projectiles. If you are pointing a weapon at each other or at anyone in the audience, it must be demonstrated to NOT WORK and not shoot before the Masquerade.

Any weapon allowed in the Masquerade but otherwise restricted by the Convention must be carried to and from the Masquerade Green Room under cover and peace bonded.

Wireless (radio) Remote Controlled Devices Discouraged: Due to the presence of significant RF interference sources in the Hyatt in general, and the Main Ballroom in particular, we strongly advise against using any radio-based Remote Control devices as part of your costume and/or your presentation. If you were planning on doing this, you should re-think those plans.

There will be TWO Green Rooms this year.  The Kamikaze kids and the Young Fan division will be on the first floor in Crispus Attucks.  They wil have their own Green Room Manager and set of Den Moms, as well as a repair table.  The adult Green Room will be on the 14th floor in Empress this year.  This will involve a habitrail down the freight elevator and through the service corridors to the stage.  Any large props will need to be left downstairs at the stage.  please discuss any large props or costumes with the masquerade director.  All costumes must fit through a standard door to make it through the habitrail.

Do not construct or decorate yourself or your costume or props with anything messy, smelly, or slimy. All parts of your costume must come in and leave with you.

Each person may appear only once on stage.

Purchased or rented costumes may not be entered in competition. It is possible to show those costumes OUT OF COMPETITION.

There IS NO restriction on costumes being worn at this convention or prior conventions before the competition. We ask that you use your best judgment about whether to enter in or out of competition (if you're not sure, ask us). If you have won an award at an International Competition with this costume, please consider competing up one level or presenting out of competition. We do want to see your costumes here.


There will be both Official Photography and Fan Photography. We also expect audience members to be taking non-flash photos during the presentations.

In the hallways many fans may wish to take your picture. It is entirely your choice whether to allow people to take your picture.

There will be NO FLASH photography from the audience. Your friends will be ejected from the room should they be found to be taking flash pictures from the audience.

In the Masquerade Green Room

You will find out the presentation order for the show when you arrive at the Masquerade Green Room. Sign in at the desk with the person in charge.

You will be assigned a den and given over to the care of your assigned Den Mom (may be male or female). If you need anything, please let them know.

There will be a Repair Table available for your use. Please do not abuse this privilege. It is here to provide safety pins, a little glue, a dab of makeup. Do not expect to use the table for large projects, it is here to cover last-minute emergencies.

The Official Photographer will be located in the adult Green Room, Empress, on the 14th floor. A separate photographer will be taking pictures of your costumes as reference for the judges and will help them identify you when they are in deliberations. Official Photos will be made available for sale both to you and to any convention member on Sunday.

Your Presentation

You may surprise the audience and we would be happy to help you. It is imperative that the Tech Crew, the MC, and I are completely aware of what you plan to do on stage. No exceptions.

Young Fans will appear first in the Competition. All Presentation Rules still apply. Entrants will be returned to the Masquerade Green Room following their presentations. Their awards will be awarded before the adults' entries start. After Young Fan Awards, entrants will be free to visit Fan Photography, go to bed, watch from the audience, or return to the convention at large in the charge of their parents and/or guardians.

Not only is this Masquerade rated PG-13 - it is also highly rated for safety.

Your Den Mom will make sure that you get into the Hall in the right order and on time to make your best entrance.

There will be Stage Ninjas (people in black) both at the entrance and exit from the Stage. They are there to help you with a hand up, to move your props onto or off the stage, and to catch you if you stumble. It's up to you to tell them how much assistance you need. The more assistance you need, the earlier you should let them know. So, if you have big props, please tell them all about it at rehearsal. Tell me in your Masquerade Registration as well. That way we'll have the right people there to help you.

There will also be Stage Ninjas at key points around the stage to try to stop you from stepping off the stage by mistake. Do not run, skip, jump, or dance so fast that the best they can do is let you go. You are ultimately responsible for your own safety.

Your presentation will be limited to 60 seconds. After 60 seconds your lights and sound will fade, or we'll find a hook to remove you. Entries with three or more people should discuss presentation plans with the Masquerade Director. Remember, SF fans are easily bored. You will make your best presentation by making sure they have enough time to see your whole costume, see what you can do once, and then leave the stage. A good costume and presentation can be ruined by taking too long on stage.

Fan photography will be taking place from the audience during the masquerade. There is NO separate area this year for fan photography. Some fan photographers may be offering free or paid copies of their pictures to you and others. Make direct arrangements with any Fan Photographer you wish to do business with. We will make a list of as many Fan Photographers as possible available to you after the convention.

After you've given your presentation, we advise you to return to the Masquerade Green Room. Feel free to get comfortable. Watch the competition on TV. Watch half time entertainment in the Masquerade Green Room or from the audience. Be available.

Awards will be given when the Judges are ready. Be prepared to be called back onto the stage for awards.

Workmanship Awards will be given, then Presentation Awards. You may be called onto the stage more than once for different awards.

Presentation Judging

The Presentation Judges will be looking at your costume from the audience viewpoint.  They will look at the costume itself as well as how it works with the music/script/choreography on stage.  Even a mediocre costume can win an award if the presentation is well done.  Remember, funny is good, shorter is better, short and funny is best.

This year there will be special awards for thematic costumes and Anime/Manga as well.

Workmanship Judging

This judging will be to evaluate the best parts of your costume, up close and personal. Please indicate to the Workmanship Judge specifically what you are most proud of in your costume. Tell her a little about how you made your costume.

If in doubt, visit with the Workmanship Judge even if you're not that impressed with your work on your costume. Leave it to her judgment whether your work is special in the context of this competition.

Skill Divisions

These divisions are based on Guidelines published by the International Costumers' Guild and have been modified for this competition. As always, when in doubt check with the Masquerade Director before the competition.

Anyone who is considered a Master in International Competition, or
Anyone who is considered a Craftsman in Regional Competition, or
Anyone who is a professional costume maker, or
Anyone who has won three or more awards as a Journeyman at the Regional or International level, or
Anyone who chooses to compete in this division
Anyone who does not need to enter as a Craftsman or Master or
Anyone who has won at least one award as a Journeyman at the Regional or International level, or
Anyone who has won at least three awards as a novice at the Regional or International level, or
Anyone who chooses to compete in this division
Anyone who does not need to enter as a Journeyman or
Anyone who has won fewer than three awards as a novice at the Regional or International level, or
Anyone who has just become old enough to NOT qualify for the Young Fan Division
Young Fan
Anyone who is under 13 on the day of the competition (born on or after January 18, 1995), and
Anyone who is also not part of an adult group.

A group should compete in the skill division of the group's most experienced member.


Original, a costume inspired by a Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mythological, or other original source, but whose design is the creation of the contestant.

Re-Creation, a costume whose design is copied from a film, television series, art, comics, theatrical presentation, book illustration or other medium showing at least one good view of the costume. Recreation costumes are duplicates or design adaptations of the published design work of someone other than the contestant. Recreation costumes require documentation of source. A picture or written description must accompany your registration forms.

After the Masquerade

On Sunday you will have the opportunity to retrieve your CDs, CDRs, any documentation we can return, order Official Photos for purchase, and participate in the Masquerade Show and Tell session on the program. Please make sure to drop by the Masquerade Registration Desk and/or be at the Show and Tell session. We reserve the right to NOT mail your stuff to you after the convention.

Back to top