The Geek.Kon Masquerade Costume Contest
Since the convention's very beginning, Geek.Kon has taken great pride in its costume contest. Today, it is hailed as one of the best in the state. Whether you are a master costumer and just starting out in the hobby, the Geek.Kon Masquerade is a great contest in which to participate, whether it is to gauge your skill level or just to have fun showing off your hard work.

This year, the Geek.Kon Masquerade is organized by the Madison Area Costumers Society, the local chapter of the International Costumers Guild.

If you have any questions regarding your eligibility for the contest or any of the rules listed below, please contact the Masquerade Director.
Quick Steps for Participating in the Masquerade
  1. Come to Geek-Kon.
  2. Sign up for the masquerade at the information table and fill out the form by 10:00 AM on Saturday.
  3. Attend the Masquerade Orientation panel and sign up for a judging meeting time
  4. Attend your costume judging meeting between 1 PM and 5:00 PM on Saturday
  5. Report to the Masquerade Green Room between 5 PM and 5:45 PM and check in.
  6. Present your costume to the audience at the Masquerade
  7. Have fun!
Masquerade Rules
Rules for Costuming at Geek-Kon
  • No costume will be allowed that exposes the wearer in an inappropriate fashion. Madison rules and laws governing indecent exposure will be followed and any violators will be ejected from the convention and subject to arrest, penalties, and fines as per city, state, and federal law. No clothing is NOT a costume.
  • No mock fighting or sparring on the convention premises.
  • No real bladed weapons may be carried on the convention premises.
  • No working projectile weapons. This includes Airsoft and Nerf guns. All bows must be unstrung.
  • All other weapon props must be checked by convention security and tagged as checked before they may be carried for the rest of the convention.
  • No props larger than 5 feet long may be carried in the halls. Your prop can temporarily expand to larger than five feet for photography purposes, but must collapse down to five feet or less.
  • Convention staff and security reserve the right to peace-bind or make safe any spikes or sharp edges they deem dangerous.
Rules for the Masquerade at Geek-Kon
  • Contestants must have made at least 50% of their costume. If you have questions as to what constitutes 50% of the costume, please e-mail the masquerade director or ask at the convention.
  • Purchased costumes will not be allowed to compete.
  • Another attendee may model your costume, but the craftsman must be present at the contest and judging times.
  • Entrants shall not expose themselves in violation of city, state, and federal law or be ejected from the convention and subject to arrest, fines, and penalties.
  • Any mock combat must remain on the stage and is subject to approval by the Masquerade staff at time of registration. Any entrant wishing to perform mock combat must demonstrate their performance at Masquerade orientation.
  • Language shall be approximately PG-13 rated.
  • All parts of the presentation must remain on the stage at all times. Entrants shall not throw things into the audience.
  • No messy or dangerous substances on the stage. You must be able to quickly clean up your presentation.
  • Props larger than 5 feet in length are subject to approval by contest staff.
  • All presentations shall be under 1 minute and 30 seconds in length.
  • There is no required minimum presentation time, but the contestant must be willing to appear on stage.
  • Entrants must complete the contest registration form in full by 10 AM on Saturday.
  • Entrants must attend their assigned costume judging meeting or be disqualified.
  • Any audio needed for a presentation must be submitted at time of sign-up in the form of a single-track audio CD and are subject to approval by contest staff. No audio will be allowed after orientation. This will be strictly enforced.
  • Entrants will report to the contest green room no later than 5:45 PM on Saturday and will check in with the Masquerade contest staff. Entrants who fail to check in by 5:45 will be disqualified. THIS DEADLINE IS FINAL! THERE IS NO GRACE PERIOD!
  • Entrants may not leave the Green Room after 5:45 PM. If you are not there to hear your name called, you will not be allowed on stage.

Other Pertinent Information
  • Though a contest entrant may express interest in the contest on their convention registration form, they will not be considered entered until signing up in person at the convention.
  • Contest staff will reserve the right to cap the number of entrants if they deem it necessary.  If this happens, entrance into the masquerade will be on a first come, first served basis.  There will be no waiting list.
  • Costume judging time slots will be handed out on a first come, first served basis when you register for the Masquerade.
  • Following the Masquerade on Saturday night, there will be a Masquerade Reception. All are invited and encouraged to attend in order to ask questions of and give suggestions to the Masquerade staff and other participants in an informal setting.
  • All times will be based on the time piece of the Masquerade Director.
Skill Divisions
Contestants must adhere to these division criteria. You may compete in a level higher than that for which you are qualified if you wish, but you may not compete at a lower level.

  • Novice:
    You are eligible to participate in the Novice division if you meet the following criteria:
    • This is your first competition (and you are not a professional in a sewing or costuming field).
    • You have never won an award.
    • You have only won honorable mentions, judges' awards, or gag awards – no major awards (Best in Class or Best in Show).
  • Journeyman:
    You are eligible to participate in the Journeyman division if you meet the following criteria:
    • You have won a major award (Best in Class or equivalents) at the novice level at Geek.Kon or other regional conventions of similar size.
    • You have won less than three major awards at the Journeyman level at Geek.Kon or other regional conventions of similar size.
  • Master:
    This is an open category. Any who wish to participate at the Master level are welcome to do so. You must compete at Master level if:
    • You do not qualify for Novice or Journeyman.
    • You are a professional in a sewing or costuming field.
    • You have won major awards at Master level at other conventions.
    • You have won major awards at Journeyman level at International-level competitions.
    • You have won Best in Show at Geek.Kon or other conventions of similar size.
  • Exhibition:
    If you do not wish your costume to be judged, you may exhibit your costume on stage without being eligible for an award. Your costume and presentation must conform to all other rules regardless of this. The masquerade is not an advertisement space and commissioned costumes will still be disallowed. If you have won a major award (Best in Class or Best in Show) at the international-level for the costume you wish to enter, we request that you enter as exhibition.
The No Sand-Bagging Rule:
The Geek.Kon Masquerade allows re-entering of award-winning costumes entered at other conventions. However, if your costume has won a major award at a convention of similar size to Geek.Kon or larger, you must enter the costume at the next-highest level or higher than the level at which you won the award (ie. If you have won Best in Class-Journeyman, you must enter that costume at Master).
  • Awards may be given out for any number of reasons to deserving costumes. Awards may include but will not be limited to:
    • Best in Show
    • Best Master
    • Best Journeyman
    • Best Novice
    • Best Youth
    • Merit Awards
  • The Masquerade staff reserves the right to alter the award structure at the time of the contest as needed in order to reflect the merit of the costumes presented.
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