Cosplay Expo Rules

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Rules for Ohayocon 20’s Cosplay Competition will be released in the future. For reference, the rules for Ohayocon 19’s Cosplay Competition are below.


This is the formal cosplay competition held over the first two days of the convention. There are TWO contests with FOUR categories to compete in: Craftsmanship (Cosplay Craftsmanship & Lindsay Mascot) and Performance (Skit & Musical-Act).

Registration is REQUIRED for all categories, and participants must have purchased, at minimum, a Saturday pass for Ohayocon 2019.

Before registering for any category, please review the Costume & Prop Policies and the following competition rules and procedures. YOU are responsible for reading and understanding this information. If you have questions regarding any of this, please contact the Expo Coordinator.

Only ONE entry per contest. However, an individual/group may compete in both contests as long as either entry does not conflict with the other during the Expo. (i.e. costumes worn during for the Performance must be the costume being judged for Craftsmanship)

Groups are limited to a maximum of SIX people. If a group has more than SIX members, they may petition the Expo Coordinator to allow the group to compete.

Participants may NOT compete with a costume or skit/musical-act that has previously won any Major Award at any convention.


All categories, except the Lindsay Mascot, are judged based on the participant’s skill level. This is broken up into FOUR divisions.

The following are GUIDELINES to follow when deciding which division to compete in. In order to be fair, we ask cosplayers to account for BOTH awards and skill level (use the number of completed costumes as a guide) when making decisions regarding divisions.

  • Junior—Solely for participants 15 years of age or younger, regardless of awards or skill level. You may have won any number of awards, made any number of costumes (Craftsmanship) or created any number of skits/musical-acts (Performance). NOTE: An entire group must fit this criteria to compete in the Junior Division.
  • Novice—Ages 16+; you may have won up to 2 Major Awards or 5 Minor Awards, have possibly made up to 5 costumes (Craftsmanship) or created up to 5 skits/musical-acts (Performance).
  • Journeyman—Ages 16+; you may have won 2—4 Major Awards or 5—10 Minor Awards, have possibly made 5—9 costumes (Craftsmanship) or created 5—9 skits/musical-acts (Performance).
  • Master—Ages 16+; you may have won 4—6 Major Awards or 10—15 Minor Awards, have possibly made 9—11 costumes (Craftsmanship) or created 9—11 skits/musical-acts (Performance). NOTE: If you placed as ANYTHING except Honorable Mention at WorldCon or Costume-Con, you MUST compete in the Master Division

A group must compete in the division of the HIGHEST skilled member. (Example: A group of 2 Novices & 1 Journeyman must compete as a group in the Journeyman Division)

You cannot compete in a division lower than you have already won an award in. If you have won Best in Division—Master, you cannot compete as a Journeyman, even if it is your only Major Award.

Major Awards are considered Best in Show, Best in Division, or the like.

Minor Awards are considered Honorable Mention, Merit Award, Judge’s Award, or the like.

You should only count awards won in formal convention cosplay competitions. Craftsmanship Awards for the Craftsmanship contest only. Performance Awards for the Performance contest only. Do NOT count Hallway Awards and/or awards won at minor events. (i.e. clubs/organizations, stores, 1-day mini-conventions, etc)

If there are any questions regarding divisions or you cannot decide which division to compete in, please contact the Expo Coordinator.


At least 60% of an entry’s costume (50% if competing in the Junior Division) must be handcrafted by the participant. Modification to purchased or commissioned costumes is not viewed as original work and does not qualify for the Craftsmanship contest.

No commissioned, purchased, or rented costumes. Costumes from costume shops, designer direct, auctions, CosPay, or any other store-bought costumes are prohibited and will negate individual/group eligibility (even if only one participant in a group has a disqualified costume) to compete in the Craftsmanship contest.

The costume’s creator(s) may have a model wearing the costume for the contest. In these cases, the creator(s) must be present for the pre-judging appointment, must be the owner of the costume and would be credited for any awards, not the model.

Craftsmanship is judged BEFORE the Expo. Awards and Certificates are presented at the end of the Expo.

Cosplay Craftsmanship

This is the main category of the Craftsmanship contest that participants will enter. Entries are judged on the craftsmanship (design, construction, execution, and general presentation) of a costume. Entries in this category must be established characters or designs from literature, shows, movies, music, or games. No Original Designs are eligible to compete in this category.

Participants registering to compete in the Cosplay Craftsmanship will be required to submit a cosplay portfolio.

Lindsay Mascot

You’ve had your chance to see Lindsay Howard, Ohayocon’s cute nurse mascot. Now we want you to be Lindsay. Ohayocon will host its annual Lindsay Mascot competition! You can enter no matter your age or skill level!

The winner will receive complementary convention admission for the next year’s Ohayocon, prizes, and the bragging rights of being Ohayocon’s official Lindsay Howard of 2019!


Performances are to be strictly no more than 3 minutes long. Participants will have up to 30 seconds to set up/enter and 30 seconds to break down/exit (This is in addition to the 3 minutes for the performance).

Material rating should not exceed PG-13. Actions, dress, or mannerisms that would not be allowed on a public street must be avoided. Specifically, the following must be avoided: explicit sexual gestures, nudity, and explicit swearing (i.e. Seven Forbidden Words of TV). Think about your material as such: if you cannot perform it for a first grade class or your grandmother’s friends, it is probably not acceptable.

In the interests of safety, stage combat is severely restricted. All prop weapons must be used with extreme caution and never used in a manner that may cause injury to another. No projectile weapons will be permitted. No throwing objects (even soft ones) into the audience.

Feel free to surprise the audience, but not the Cosplay Staff. If you are planning something “unique,” you must petition the Expo Coordinator IN ADVANCE to get it approved.

Be aware of floor microphones, cables, speakers, curtains, screens, etc. If you break a piece of equipment, deface the facilities, or cause any other damages, then you will pay to replace what you damaged. No exceptions.

Cosplay Coordinators or the Stage Manager has the right to cancel your performance at any time for any reason.

Performance is judged DURING the Expo. Awards and Certificates are presented at the end of the Expo.


These Performances focus primarily on telling a story (pre-recorded or live) and are not predominantly music based. Entries are judged on theatrical performance (blocking, movement, delivery of lines, and narrative). Skits can be a retelling of a popular scene or an abridged/reduced reproduction of its original source material.


These Performances are more than 75% based on some form of musical element (pre-recorded or live) and have minimum amount of lines delivered before, during, or after the musical track. Entries are judged on routine performance (choreography, synchronization, composition, and lip-syncing/singing). Musical-Acts can be singing, dancing, or instrumental performances related to its source material.


Online Pre-Registration is open September 1st–November 30th. All Pre-Registration Forms MUST be received by before 11:59 PM EST on November 30th. Links to the forms are available on the Ohayocon website, forums and the Ohayocon page on Facebook. If links are not working, please email the Expo Coordinator.

Participants will electronically submit a Cosplay Registration Form. Once a form is received, an email will be sent with a link to available appointment times. After an appointment time has been selected and confirmed, a final email confirming the date, time, and Registration ID will be sent.

In order for appointments to run on time, participants must check in at Cosplay Registration AT LEAST 10 minutes before their appointment block starts. Failure to check in within this time frame will be taken as a forfeit!

  • Craftsmanship and Performance appointments will be scheduled on Friday and Saturday.
  • Craftsmanship Individual entries will have a 5 minute judging period.
  • Craftsmanship Group entries will have a 10 minute judging period.
  • Performance entries will have a 10 minute audition period.
  • Some Reschedules/Changes are allowed during pre-reg, but please don’t abuse this.

After your pre-judging/audition appointment, you will receive your Back Stage Admission for the Expo.

Handlers/Gophers must also come to Cosplay Registration with the participant(s) they are assisting at the time of their appointment to receive their Non-Competing Back Stage Admission.

Please email if you have any questions or issues regarding Cosplay Pre-Registration!


Participants will have a set amount of time to interview with a panel of judges experienced in sewing, wig styling, and prop making. Individual entries will have 5 minutes (4 minute interview & 1 minute deliberation) and Group entries will have 10 minutes (8 minute interview & 2 minute deliberation).

During the interview process, the judges will get close and go over the costume while asking about the crafting process, techniques, and materials used. Participant responses should be as quick and concise as possible so they may cover as much about their costume as they can.

Participants/Models for Craftsmanship MUST be in full costume and are REQUIRED to bring adequate printed reference materials for the judges to hold, review and compare for their pre-judging appointment.

Good references show (at the very least) the front and back, but side views are highly recommended as well. They may also have close ups of details and props. Examples of references include: screen captures, DVD covers, art books, PVC figurines, magazine articles, manga, colored printouts, etc. No outlets will be available for laptops and no computers be provided. Please come prepared. Lack of reference material WILL result in a score of 0 in the “Presentation” judging area.

Once time is called for the interview process, participants must promptly leave the judging area for the judges to deliberate your final score in private.


Participants do not need to be in full costume at the time of their appointment, but all props must be present during the audition, they must have an MP3 of their pre-recorded audio in CD format (pre-recorded audio must also be emailed to the Expo-Coordinator before Ohayocon as back up). Participants will be expected to perform exactly as they intend to at the Expo.

Auditions will be 10 minute appointments. Participants will go through their entire performance at that time, private feedback regarding their audition will be available to cover some key points judges will be looking at during the Expo, and participants will discuss details of cue time to start their pre-recorded audio and what intro will be provided by the emcees.

A list of selected performances (up to 20 on the main list, 10 skits and 10 musical-acts, and 2 on the standby list) will be posted by the Cosplay Registration desk approximately 2 hours before rehearsal for the Expo. If your name is on the main/standby list, you are expected to be at rehearsal ON TIME. Failure to show for call will result in participant’s spot being given to the next name on the standby list.

If you are not willing to participate in the audition process and accept that your performance may not be selected for the final main/standby list to perform at the Expo, please do not register.


Performance Rehearsal and Craftsmanship Call is at 4:30 PM on Saturday and is mandatory. Doors will be locked and no further participants allowed in after 4:35 PM.

The selected performances will be notified at their audition or by a list posted at Cosplay Registration approximately 2 hours before rehearsal time (approx. 2:30 PM). Please check there to see if you are required to report for rehearsal. If you are not selected, please DO NOT attend rehearsal. You may discuss any issues with the Cosplay Staff at the Feedback Panel on Sunday (see below). Please understand the staff will be unable to address your issues until that time and if you are not supposed to be in the area, Security can and will remove you.

We offer unselected Performance participants priority seating for the Expo. You may pick up a voucher at Cosplay Registration when the list is posted until 4:30 PM. Vouchers will not be available elsewhere or after that time.

Entrants failing to arrive will NOT participate in the Expo and will be DISQUALIFIED.


The Feedback Panel will happen Sunday, time & location TBA.

At this panel, we invite participants and attendees to join us to provide the Cosplay Staff and Judges their feedback about aspects of the event that you liked and aspects you feel need some improvement, and hear feedback directly from the Performance Judges.

Craftsmanship participants will be given the opportunity to schedule a one-on-one feedback session with our Craftsmanship Judges.

Last updated May 31, 2019

Ohayocon, the Ohayocon logo, and the Lindsay Howard mascot are trademarks of Ohayocon. All Rights Reserved.

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