Cosplay Contest Rules

Be advised that signing up for any cosplay contest is an affirmation that you agree to adhere to the rules presented on the ATG Expo website as well as any decisions made by cosplay staff prior to, or during, ATG Expo.

All cosplay events/panels have the potential to be photographed/filmed/recorded in some fashion. These recordings may be used in future galleries or promotions. Signing up for, and/or attending, any cosplay event is done with the understanding that recording could occur at any time, and permission is tacitly given for the participant’s likeness to be used.

Cosplay Rules

  • You must be a registered ATG Expo attendee in order to compete. Each member of your group must have a badge, pass, or other forms of attendee membership.
  • Contestants under the age of 18 need a parent or legal guardian present at the cosplay competition and must register on behalf of the contestant for the cosplay contest.
  • All costumes must cover “swimsuit areas” – no nudity. Body-paint costumes are not eligible for craftsmanship.
  • The contest is open to characters from published works: movies, TV shows, comic books, cartoons, video games, and card games. If your costume has won a major award before at ATG Expo or another cosplay competition, you are not eligible for any awards in this contest. Rule breakers will be disqualified.
  • ATG Expo adheres to the “PG‐13 rule” when it comes to language and hand gestures on stage. Violation of this rule may cause you to be disqualified from the competition.
  • During the contest enter and exit the stage at the designated points only. There will be a wheelchair-accessible ramp for contestants. Costumes must be handled by the contestant or by handler(s) the contestant brings to help. Handlers are required to be registered attendees of the convention, and ATG Expo cannot provide on-stage assistants.
  • Contestants are not allowed to throw anything off the stage, nor use projectiles or use anything on stage that will leave a mess. This includes (but is not limited to) liquids, glitter, and confetti. If you have a question about something you want to do, feel free to send an email with “Costume Contestant Question” as the subject. All participants are encouraged to keep at least one foot on the stage at all times.
  • No pyrotechnics, fire, explosive devices, live animals, or similar special effects can be used during the competition; this includes smoke/smog machines and flash paper/powder. Anyone who violates this rule may be disqualified from the competition and be asked to leave the convention area depending on the severity of the incursion. All prop weapons must conform to the ATG Expo prop policies, including being checked.
  • Children (age 12 and below, see Children’s Cosplay Competition for more details) who need a parent to accompany them on stage will need to compete in the Children’s Costume Competition instead of the main stage Costume Contest. However, parent/child teams are allowed to compete in the main stage competition together.
  • Each contestant may only enter one costume into the competition and can be in only one Division, Walk-On or Skit. You can have up to six people in a Walk-On group.
  • All contestants must be in the room where the pre‐meet will occur no later than 4:30 pm. ATG Expo reserves the right to turn away any contest entry it deems inappropriate or not in compliance with the rules.
  • Pre‐Meet: There will be a pre‐meet before the cosplay competition in the Cosplay Staging Room at TBD on Saturday. This pre‐meet is where we will do a check-in before briefly going over where you will enter and exit the stage as well as explain etiquette for Walk-Ons and Skits. Pre-judging will also occur in this area. During check-in, you will be lined up and we will leave after the pre‐meet is over to start the cosplay contest. It is mandatory to attend the pre‐meet to take part in the contest.
  • Only participants (and handlers if necessary) will be allowed in the pre-meet room. Entries should leave all personal belongings behind in their car/hotel room. The pre‐meet is mandatory for all contestants in both divisions regardless of whether they’re competing for craftsmanship or not. Entries should show up to the pre‐meet in costume, ready for the contest.

Craftsmanship: Our Cosplay contest aims to reward those who are Craftsmanship Oriented.

  • Pre-Judging for the Cosplay Contest will occur at the Pre-Meet Room on Saturday at TBD. You will have an opportunity to speak with the judges regarding the construction process of your costume during Pre-Judging. If you wish to present the judges with any printed progress photos regarding the process behind your costume, please have them ready to give to the judges at Pre-Judging during the Pre-Meet.
  • Craftsmanship judging offers opportunities that will not be available to contestants who do not participate in the Craftsmanship portion of the contest. You will NOT be able to qualify for Best in Show, First Runner Up or Best Sewing Award if you are not competing in Craftsmanship.
  • ATG Expo will not provide a printer onsite.
  • During Pre-Judging, each Craftsmanship entry will get 2 minutes & 30 seconds with the judges. If an entry contains multiple persons in a group, an appropriate amount of time will be given based on the group’s numbers.

Pre‐Judging: The hours for the cosplay contest pre‐judging are TBD on Saturday, just before the contest begins at TBD on Saturday.

  • ALL participants must attend the pre‐judging session even if not being judged on craftsmanship. This is to verify that you are present for the competition.
  • Leave all personal belongings behind in your car/hotel room with the exception of your progress and reference pictures/portfolio.
  • Be prepared for the judges to ask you questions about your creation process and to inspect your costume. The judges may ask to touch parts of your costume.
  • Skits will not be performed for the judges at this time; however, you will need to bring any props/backgrounds you’ve made to pre‐judging.
  • Fight choreography must be reviewed by the Cosplay Staff at this time.
  • You may and should bring progress shots of your props.

You will have several judges looking you over at once. Try not to be too nervous; the judges are people who love costuming and acting in character just as much as you do.