Masquerade Rules - Comiccon d'Ottawa

Masquerade Rules

A masquerade is a non-professional costume competition featuring costumes from comic books, movies, Japanese animation or video games.


There are two different entry categories:


1) A Skit is a short sketch done alone or with a group. For a group of 1 to 3 participants, the time limit is forty-five seconds (45 seconds). For a group of four or more, the limit is a minute (60 seconds). If the skit is longer than the allocated time, the lights and the sound will be cut and the contestants will be escorted off the stage.


2) During a Walk-On, the contestant or the group walks on the stage, strikes different poses to show their costumes’ every angle and walks out of the other side of the stage. Background music is permitted and strongly encouraged.


How to enter the masquerade:


On-site at the masquerade booth: The booth will be open Saturday, May 11 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.


Since all participants need to be inside the Green room, an unusually high number of entries with large groups or costumes that take a lot of space might limit our maximum number of entries. The masquerade direction will decide the final number of entries available during registration. At least 50 entries slots should be available.




1) Microphones are not allowed. Using a pre-recorded soundtrack is highly recommended. The required format is MP3 or MP4. To prevent any confusion, please put only one file on the USB drive and check that it is working properly before giving it to the masquerade registration.


2) Only USB keys and CDs will be accepted to submit a soundtrack.  Cell phones, tablets and laptops will not be accepted.  Also, downloads from the Internet will not be possible (ex: Youtube).


3) The maximum number of contestants in a group is twelve (12). No group over twelve people will be accepted.


4) No open flame, liquids, powders or “flash” paper are allowed on stage. If you want to use an electronic flash or any other visual effect you need to mention it on your application form so the host can warn the audience. No laser pointers are allowed. No glitter is allowed either on stage or in the Green room.


5) No slippery or messy substances are allowed on stage. In doubt, ask the masquerade direction when you submit your form. The stage must be in the same condition before and after your number. If you have to leave anything on the stage, the objects need to be easy to pick up by the tech staff. Otherwise, you need to have your own ninja to pick it up.


6) No gratuitous nudity. The masquerade is rated PG-13 and can be seen only by people ages 13 and up. However, children 12 and under with an adult can watch the masquerade.


7) No real firearms, real firearm replicas or throwing weapons are allowed. No cold weapon, no metal blade, be it sharpened or not are allowed. If your costume needs a bow, the bowstring must be removed when not on stage. Any weapon used during the masquerade must follow the Ottawa Comiccon Weapons and Large Props Rules and Regulations. Exceptions are at the direction’s discretion only.


8) Every contestant can only go up on stage once during the masquerade. However, anyone can present as many costumes he/she wants but he/she can only wear one of them. The other costumes must be presented by other contestants (they can be in the same group or not).


9) Contestants must be in the waiting room (Green room) at the required time. Ask the masquerade table for any details. If you are not present on time or you are not ready to go on stage when it is your turn, you will be disqualified. Any exceptions are at the direction’s discretion only.


10) The masquerade is a non-professional competition. Costumes bought online or rented are not eligible for any award, same as professional or theatrical costumes. However, these costumes can be presented on stage in the “Out of competition” category. Please note that priority is given to costumes created by non- professional contestants. The “Out of Competition” applications will be allowed only if available slots remain after registration.


11) Commissioned costumes will be allowed IF and ONLY IF the costumer (the one who made the costume) filled out the application form himself. He/she doesn’t have to appear on stage, but his or her presence in the Green room is mandatory. Wigs, little props and jewels are exempted.


12) The judges’ decisions are final. Categories, award type and mentions are at the judges’ and masquerade direction’s discretion only.


13) Workmanship judging is mandatory only for novices doing Walk On, Artisans and Masters.


The direction and the judges have the right to disqualify anyone who doesn’t follow the rules.



Standard Judging Division System


The Standard Division System, in accordance with the International Costumers’ Guild Guidelines, will be used as follows:


Junior division


Any contestant under the age of 13 the day of Ottawa Comiccon.


Novice division


Any contestant who didn’t win any award other than the Junior division.


Journeyman division


Any contestant who won less than three (3) award at any masquerade when in the Journeyman division.


Artisan division


Any contestant who won three (3) or more awards or any contestant who wishes to be in this division and is not in any higher division.


Master division


Any contestant who won more than three (3) awards in any masquerade in the Artisan division or any contestant who won an award in the Master division in a national masquerade. Also, any contestant known as a professional in the costuming industry must enter in this division. For this competition, a professional is someone who derives 50% of his/her income from the costuming industry.


Out of competition division


The masquerade is a non-professional competition. Costumes bought or rented cannot be entered in the award divisions, but they can be showcased in the Out of competition division. Costumes created for professional purposes are not eligible for the award division but can also be showcased in the Out of competition division. Also, anybody who wants to enter in this division is welcome.


Note: Any contestant can enter in a higher division than his/her current division. However, if he/she wins in this division, he/she will have to compete in this division in future masquerades.




Workmanship judging happens in the Green room, before the masquerade. These awards, for excellence in construction, will be given in addition to the masquerade awards. You can be judged for your costume as a whole or for a specific part of your costume. The evaluation of a costume’s workmanship is only mandatory for the Novices doing a Walk On, Artisans and Masters, but it is strongly advised for any division (Except Out of Competition). Great construction deserves to be acknowledged, no matter the division. Judges must know which parts have been made by the contestant and which parts have been bought, if any.




It is strongly advised to bring documentation to the judges showing source material for your costume if it comes from an existing medium, especially if it is something the judges may not know. This can be any image where your costume is shown. Please bring only copies or digital copies of these images, not originals.




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