The SacAnime Masquerade and Cosplay Parade, open to competitors of all ages and skill levels, is one of the most popular events of the weekend!

All contestants will be allowed to participate in either the skit competition, or Cosplay Parade “Walk-Ons” on the main stage. After which, the contest winners will be announced, and prizes will be awarded.

If you would like to participate, please take a moment to read the rules before submitting your registration.


A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR ABOUT THEME REQUIREMENTS: “A Celebration of Asian Media and Popular Culture”

SacAnime is a themed convention. This is reflected in the events we offer, panels, guests, and even the types of items our vendors have for sale. The theme of SacAnime is: “A Celebration of Asian Media and Popular Culture.” And as such, all official programming (including the Masquerade) adheres to this theme. However, the definition of this theme is quite broad, and as Asian pop culture has become more and more popular in the U.S., more domestic sources are attempting to grab a piece of the action. For fans, this means it’s harder to tell what is and isn’t theme appropriate, and I find myself having to play referee in disputes between cosplay groups about whether or not they (or other groups) should be allowed to enter the competition.

As such, I have made some modifications to the rules to (hopefully) make things a little easier to figure out ahead fo time. While there are some costumes that clearly are NOT theme appropriate (The Smurfs, Family Guy, The Simpsons, Star Trek…) there are also those that are on the fence due to the expanding range of crossover titles, (Batman “Gotham Knight”, Hulk “Marvel vs. Capcom”, Mickey Mouse “Kingdom Hearts”…) or those which can be considered homage (Sugar Rush Racers “Wreck-it Ralph”, GoGo Yubari “Kill Bill”).

Your costume OR skit will be considered theme appropriate if it:

1. Appears in any book, anime, manga, movie, music video, television show, or video game published in Japan, Korea, or China.

2. Can be considered a direct homage to one of the above things. However, if you are entering a costume or skit of this type, it is YOUR responsibility to contact me ahead of time to have it cleared.

“What if my neither my costume nor skit fit into these guidelines?”

This Summer, we are adding an “Exhibition” category to the show. This is for groups or individuals who do not wish to be judged for Craftsmanship or Presentation, but still want to show off their costumes or skits on stage. Exhibition entries still follow all of the same General Rules as Competitive entries. Exhibition entries ARE eligible for Judges Awards.


Masquerade Contest General Rules

  1. All entries must be registered for the convention, and have their badges clearly displayed during contest sign-in and judging.
  2. All “Competitive” entries MUST fit the theme requirements as described above. Entries that don’t fit the theme requirements are welcome to enter as “Exhibition”.
  3. This is a family friendly convention, and all costumes and skits must comply with our PG-13 rating. No costumes that are derived from “Adult Content” sources will be allowed in the contest. If your costume is determined to be too skimpy, or inappropriate for children, you will be asked to cover the offending portion before participating in the contest. Failure to do so will result in disqualification and possible ejection from the convention.
  4. Costumes purchased as-is (store bought) or created by someone who is not you or a member of your group are ineligible for Craftsmanship Judging. However, they may still participate in the Skit Competition portion of the contest for a chance at a Presentation award.
  5. Youth costumes (13 years and under) made by a parent are eligible for Craftsmanship Judging, as long as the parent is present at the time of judging.
  6. No cell phone use is allowed by contestants for the duration of the Masquerade. This also includes texting.
  7. One Costume = One Contestant. The only way a contestant is allowed to wear more than one costume in the contest is if they have a “transforming” costume that switches from one to the other on stage.
  8. No contestant may be a member in more than one group, or participate in more than one performance.
  9. Found item (piece meal) costumes are no longer eligible for Craftsmanship Judging, but may still be entered as part of a skit.

In the event of a dispute, the Costume Contest Director’s decision is final.


Scoring and Awards

Entries will be scored on both the Craftsmanship of their costume, and their Presentation during the skit competition portion of the event. Each half of the competition counts for up to 50% of the total score. As such, only entries that participate in both Craftsmanship and Presentation Judging will qualify for “Best of Show” consideration.

Entries may be individuals or groups. Group entries will be judged as an entire group, with their score averaged over the entire group.

Awards Include:

  • Best of Show
  • Best Craftsmanship – Beginner
  • Best Craftsmanship – Intermediate
  • Best Craftsmanship – Advanced
  • Best Presentation
  • Outstanding Original Design*
  • Most Convincing Portrayal
  • Audience Award
  • Best Youth Costume (Age 13 and Under)
  • Judge’s Awards

*If your costume is an original design, you may only submit your costume for judging if you are in a group with non-original characters. If you are an individual submitting an original design, you will not be able to participate in the Masquerade, but you may enter the J-Fashion Runway Event.

NOTE: Costumes that have already won an award at in a previous contest are not eligible for Craftsmanship Judging. (Give the other guys a chance, ok?)


Craftsmanship Judging

If you made your costume (with or without assistance), you may choose to submit it for Craftsmanship Judging. Judging will be done using four factors:

  1. Use of Materials – How well you picked materials to match your character’s design and/or time period. (For instance, a character set in Feudal Japan probably wouldn’t be wearing polyester…)
  2. Accuracy to Reference – How well your costume matches the design you chose to replicate, including color and scale.
  3. Attention to Detail – Little things like using functional buttons, hidden pockets, or lining.
  4. Completeness – Do you have the whole design including hair, shoes, make-up, and props?

Please note that Wigs and Shoes may be store bought or commissioned, but you will need to declare that to the judges at the time of your review.

Group Entry vs. Individual Entry
In response to input from our judges, groups who want to enter for Craftsmanship judging must now be judged as an entire group. That means everyone in the group must have made their own costume, with or without assistance. Piece meal (found item) costumes are not eligible for Craftsmanship judging. So if members of your group have piece meal costumes, you will not be able to enter as a group.

If you made your costume, but your group is not eligible for Craftsmanship judging, you may have your own costume judged individually. Only one costume per contestant may be judged for Craftsmanship. (So even if you made three costumes, you may only choose one to be judged, so pick your strongest entry.) You will still enter with the rest of your group for the Presentation judging portion of the contest.

Craftsmanship Judging will be done immediately after sign-in, so please arrive in costume.



Costume Reference and In-Progess Photos

If you are entering your costume for Craftsmanship Judging, we encourage you to provide at least three(3) In-Progress photos of your costume at the time of sign-in. If you didn’t remember to take pictures of your costume while you were making it, be prepared to have the judges ask you about every step of the process!

We have added this policy in response to contestants trying to enter store-bought or commissioned costumes to gain an unfair advantage over those who made their own costumes. Remember, Craftsmanship Judging is to see your skill, not the size of your bank account.

Our judges have been chosen based on their sewing and crafting expertise, and experience in the costuming field. However, they can’t be expected to be familiar with every character, show, book, and game out there. So please, help them out by bringing reference materials for your costume. Color printouts are best, but black and white images will also be acceptable.

IMPORTANT: Don’t bring something you can’t afford to lose. The convention and our judges are not responsible for keeping track of your possessions, and cannot be held responsible for lost items such as artbooks and action figures.


Skill Divisions

As not all costumers are at the same skill or experience level, we will be sorting Craftsmanship entries into divisions. If you are entering as a group, and your members have different experience levels, you may enter as the lower skill division as long as the inexperienced members outnumber the more experienced members by at least 2 to 1.

How to determine your division:

BEGINNER: Have made 3 or less costumes, and won no previous awards.

INTERMEDIATE: Have made 4-8 costumes, and/or won 1 to 3 awards.

ADVANCED: Have made 8+ costumes, and/or won 3+ major awards.

Please note that your division may be changed at the Director’s discretion if your Craftsmanship skill seems more comparable to a different division.


Presentation Judging

Skit Competition or Cosplay Parade?

Contestants have the choice to perform in the Skit Competition, or participate in the Cosplay Parade. This was put in place for what used to be called “walk-ons” where a contestant didn’t have a performance prepared, but still wanted the chance to show off their hard work to the audience. By putting all of the walk-ons at the same time, it makes it easier for the judges to keep track of scoring, and also keeps the pace of the show going by not breaking up the flow of skits and non-skits.

If you don’t want to perform, and would just like to do a walk-on in costume, then the Cosplay Parade is the choice for you. You will not be required to submit an audio track for your walk-on, as we will provide the music.

Please keep in mind that entries that participate in the Cosplay Parade will not be scored for Presentation, and as such, will not be eligible for Best of Show.

Need a little help getting your skit soundtrack ready for the Masquerade? Check out these resources:

Free Sound Recording Software
Free Sound Effects
Anime Music

Recording Tips:
1. Your soundtrack will be played in a large room that definitely won’t be as quiet as where you record it. Our sound techs can always make a recording quieter if it is too loud, but they can only do so much if it’s too quiet.

2. If your skit is a comedy, remember to leave pauses for laughter!

3. There will be no microphones available during your skit. If you don’t record a soundtrack, you will not be able to perform a skit. However, if you entered for Craftsmanship Judging, you will still be able to participate as a walk-on during the Cosplay Parade portion of the show.


If you would like to perform any skit, dance, or performance, then you should enter the Skit Competition and be judged for Presentation. Presentation Judging is subjective, but the question each judge is being instructed to ask themselves is, “Did I find this entertaining?” Be funny or dramatic. Be a graceful swan or a giant spaz. Just remember that the audience is there for a show, so whatever you do, don’t be boring.

Skit Competition Guidelines

  1. All entries must provide a pre-recorded soundtrack at the time of sign-in. This must be on a CD or thumb drive (NO PHONES OR IPODS WILL BE ACCEPTED) as the only track, in MP3 format. CDs will not be returned, and thumb drives need to be clearly labelled so we can return them to their owners. MAKE MORE THAN ONE COPY JUST IN CASE SOMETHING HAPPENS ON THE WAY TO THE CONVENTION!
  2. Performances are limited to TWO MINUTES in total length. This will be strictly enforced. If your soundtrack is longer than 2 minutes, it will be cut off at the 2 minute mark. Performances that try to stay on stage for extra time will be penalized or disqualified.
  3. If you have large stage props that need to be set up for you skit, you will be given 30 seconds before and 30 seconds after your skit to place and remove your props.
  4. The stage is approximately 36′ wide and 16′ deep. There is no ramp onto the stage, so if you are unable to negotiate stairs in your costume, please make a note of that during registration. There is a small backstage area to store large props that you will have access to before the show.
  5. When recording your soundtracks, remember that this is a family friendly* convention. (If you can’t say it on the radio, don’t say it in your skit!) Soundtracks will be previewed be the audio team prior to the competition. If it is determined that your soundtrack contains explicit language, you will not be able to perform your skit on stage. You may, however, still participate in the Cosplay Parade.
  6. Any acrobatics or mock combat you wish to perform on stage must be demonstrated and cleared with the Costume Contest Director beforehand.
  7. Any prop weapons involved in your performance must adhere to the Weapons Policy and Prop Weapons Guidelines shown below.

*Hentai, Yaoi, and Yuri are 18+ subject matter. They are not appropriate for this competition.


Prop Weapons Guidelines

Please see the Weapons and Peacebonding Policy for more information.

a) Any weapon that is permitted at the convention may appear on stage, subject to the same conditions it was given when it was peace-bonded. For example, a sword that was peace-bonded by zip-tying it into its sheath may appear on stage as long as it remains in the sheath. Any weapon not allowed at the convention will also not be allowed on stage.

b) No functional bladed or projectile weapon will be allowed on stage. This includes temporarily disabled Airsoft guns.

d) Weapons may not be brandished or otherwise pointed at anyone not on stage. (ie: the audience)

d) All weapons that will be carried on stage must be approved by the Costume Contest Director during sign-in.

e) No throwing of any weapon (or anything else for that matter…) will be allowed on stage. This also includes things like glitter, fake blood, confetti, feathers, or sand. Basically, leave the stage the way you found it. Tossing an object in a controlled manner (eg: flipping a coin, juggling) is allowed, but must be cleared with the Costume Contest Director beforehand.


With your help, we can make this a safe and fun event for all. We look forward to seeing your creative ideas come to life at SacAnime!

~Katie Bair, Director of Costume and Fashion Events


Katie Bair has been involved with costuming for over a decade, and has won awards all over the country. She is also an experienced masquerade judge, mentors costuming and art students, and is published author.


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