General Rules

So you want to enter the Cosplay Contest and Masquerade?! Awesome, we would love to have you. However, we ask you to carefully read and review the following rules and policies that Genericon has regarding the Contest and Masquerade. Please also be aware that these policies may change from year to year and you should read through this rulebook fully and completely. Questions and concerns may be directed to the Cosplay Coordinator(s) at [email protected].

The cosplay contest is split into two parts: The Craftsmanship Contest, and the Performance Contest. The Craftsmanship Contest focuses on the creation and overall presentation of a finished cosplay. The Performance Contest focuses on individuals/groups who perform a skit, dance, song, comedy act, etc, on stage and exclusively occurs at the Masquerade.


The Masquerade is on Saturday afternoon. First, the Performance Groups will participate in Cosplay Performance where they may perform a skit, song, or other routine for the audience. Depending on time, after a short break, Craftsmanship Contestants will be called to the stage for the Cosplay Runway to show off their cosplays. Then, following a brief intermission, awards for both contests will be announced at the Cosplay Masquerade Awards Ceremony.


The following policies are instituted to ensure a safe, efficient, and enjoyable experience for everyone. Therefore, those in violation of these rules and policies may find themselves disqualified and have further action taken against them if necessary.


I) Divisions of Skill: In order to fairly and most appropriately judge cosplays and performances, Genericon recognizes five (5) divisions of skill. They are Youth, Novice, Journeyman, Master, and Exhibition Divisions.

  1. Youth Division: This division is intended for children and youth. Contestants in this division must be fifteen (15) years of age or younger. On a case by case basis, a Youth Division Contestant who has won major awards for cosplay at conventions may be considered in one of the higher divisions. Please contact the Cosplay Coordinators for more information.
  2. Novice Division: This division is intended for those who have little or no experience with cosplay. Contestants in this division must not have previously won any major awards for cosplay at conventions.
  3. Journeyman Division: This division is intended for those who have some experience with cosplay. Contestants in this division may have won major awards at conventions for cosplay, but must not have won more than two (2) such major awards.
  4. Master Division: This division is intended for those who are highly experienced with cosplay. Contestants in this division consistently win major awards at conventions for cosplay and have won three (3) or more such major awards.
  5. Exhibition Division: This division is intended for those who do not want their cosplay/performance to be judged or have a cosplay/performance that does not satisfy the judging criteria. Contestants may still have their cosplay/performance critiqued by the judges and participate in the Masquerade, but will not be scored.


  • A “major award for cosplay” is defined as winning in a Cosplay contest at a convention for any of the prizes for Craftsmanship or Performance, respectively.
  • You MUST register for the proper division for your respective contest.
    1) You MAY register in a more advanced division.
    2) You MAY NOT register in a lower division than is appropriate.
    3) Depending on the number of entrants in each division, Genericon judges may promote your cosplay/performance to a higher division. All reasonable efforts will be made to inform you, but the judges’ decision is final.
    4) If you do compete in a more advanced division than your current skill level and win, you MUST compete at least at that level from now on, regardless of if it was voluntary or not.
  • Knowingly falsifying information on your entry form for any reason for any contest, such as in an attempt to be placed in a lower division, is grounds for disqualification and prohibition to entry in future contests.

II) Masquerade: To be eligible to claim a prize, a contestant must participate in the Masquerade and be present at the Award Ceremony.

  • The time limit for each Craftsmanship contestant on the Cosplay Runway is not to exceed one (1) minute (60 seconds).
  • The time limit for each Performance group during Cosplay Performance is not to exceed seven (7) minutes (420 seconds). The recommended time for a performance is between three (3) and five (5) minutes.
  • No time extensions will be allowed. NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • If you exceed the time limit, you WILL be cut off.
  • Performances will have a one (1) minute (60 second) grace period for setup and cleanup, if necessary. Please plan accordingly.

III) Weapons/Props: All weapons and props must be approved at Weapons Check and MUST adhere to the Weapons Policy. Exceptions may be granted on a case by case basis at the discretion of the Cosplay Coordinator(s). Please contact the Cosplay Coordinator(s) with any questions or concerns.

IV) Stage Cleanliness: You must remove all objects that go on stage with you.

  • For safety and legal reasons, Genericon strictly prohibits the use of special effects like confetti, fireworks, flash powder, pyrotechnics, water, rose petals, CO2 cannons, etc. during the contest.
  • Objects that require special removal (e.g. glitter) are similarly banned.
  • Objects may not be thrown at the judges, MC/Host, audience, or other persons not directly involved with your cosplay/performance.
  • Violation of Stage Cleanliness WILL result in your disqualification.

V) Nudity: No costume is no costume. Nudity and the gratuitous display of body parts considered genitalia, including the buttocks, is strictly prohibited. Violation of this rule WILL result in disqualification, removal from the convention, and further action as necessary.

VI) “Offensive” Cosplays: Cosplays and/or insignias representing or associated with hate groups (e.g. Nazis, KKK, etc), Cosplays “in bad taste” (e.g. a suicide bomber), and/or Cosplays meant specifically to harass individuals or groups (e.g. cosplaying as your ex in order to humiliate them) are strictly forbidden. For the safety and wellbeing of all attendees, violation of this rule WILL result in disqualification, removal from the convention, and further action as necessary.

VII) “Impractical” Cosplays: Cosplays that are a hazard to the cosplayer and/or the people around them and/or are too large (e.g. stilts, large armor, multi-person costumes, obstructed vision with a mask, etc) are highly discouraged. However, a case by case determination will be made if necessary to ensure safety at the convention. Please contact the Cosplay Coordinator(s) or see a Staff member at Cosplay Info with any questions or concerns.

VIII) Media Waiver and Release: Genericon will be recording and taking photos of cosplays during the Contest and Masquerade. These images and recordings allow us to better promote Genericon and maintain an archive of past years. Therefore, Contestants in the Cosplay Contest and Masquerade MUST acknowledge and sign the Photographs and Video Consent, Waiver, Indemnity and Release form to be eligible for participation. Copies will be made available at the Cosplay Info table and at the rehearsal for the Masquerade. Contestants who do not sign this form WILL be disqualified from the Contest and barred from participating in the Masquerade.

IX) Grievances: If you believe the judging outcomes or scores were biased or otherwise have a complaint, you should direct that specific grievance in writing (email is acceptable) to the Cosplay Coordinator(s) with all relevant details and why you believe it is a legitimate grievance within forty-eight (48) hours of the specific offense. The Cosplay Coordinator(s) and Genericon Staff will investigate it if it is legitimate and submitted within forty-eight (48) hours. Any verdict reached upon the end of the investigation is FINAL.