Cincinnati Comic Expo Costume Contest

What is a Comicon without costumes? During the 2017 Cincinnati Comic Expo, join hundreds of enthusiastic characters with their best threads on to see who has the best guise. Get your patterns ready, order that special accessory, and warm up your sewing machines; for soon you will be hammering away at the seams of your best costume yet.

Main Event

The costume contest will occur on the Main Event stage in the convention center. Participants must be lined up in their designated position in Rooms 207/208 no later than 5:15pm.

Date: Saturday September 23, 2017

Time: 5:30pm

Location: Rooms 200-205


Our judges have presided over countless costume contests. Their experience comes from many conventions all over the country. You can be assured that the details will be seen and your adherence to character is paramount.


We want the best quality and craftsmanship. For this reason, Cincinnati Comic Expo will perform a pre-judging. The panel will perform a review and interview with the contestants to ensure only the highest quality of entries are allowed to the main contest. Pay close attention to materials and craftsmanship, as well as your character’s persona to pass this initial review.

Date: Saturday September 23, 2017

Time: 11:00am-2:30pm (Pre-judging will continue for as long as it needs to. But, you must be in line at 2:30pm to be considered.)

Location: Rooms 234/235

Categories / Prizes / Awards

1. Youth Class
For ages 13 and under. No prejudging required. No prizes are awarded for this category.

2. Novice Class
This category is for 1st time competitors. No one who has placed, or won in previous conventions may enter as a Novice.
1st prize $100
2nd prize $50
3rd prize $25

3. Journeyman Class
This category is for our intermediate level competitors. Those whose skills are beyond that of a Novice, but are still refining their costuming skills. You may not enter as a Journeyman if you have previously won, or placed, as a Journeyman at the Cincinnati Comic Expo.
1st prize $200
2nd prize $100
3rd prize $50

4. Master Class
This level is for the Best of the Best. There are no prerequisites to enter this\ judging class (as long as you adhere to the costume contest rules), but know you are playing with the Big boys and girls of Cosplay.
1st prize $600
2nd prize $200
3rd prize $100

4. Best Prop
Enter and showcase your homemade prop (no costume needed)


The costume contest will be judged on three factors. Scored on a point system, the maximum amount of points possible is 50.

Construction/Quality (max value: 25)

Make sure your seams are straight, the fit is right, your design is accurate, and the materials correct. These are the elements of quality construction.

Accuracy (max value: 15)

Don’t take artistic license with your characters. We’ll be looking for representations true to their namesakes.

Presentation (max value: 10)

Your walk, your talk, your attitude! You’ve got to sell us; make us believe you are the real deal.


All entries must be Cincinnati Comic Expo attendees; this means you must have your badge or wristband in order to participate. No badge or band = No entry.
This contest is open to all costume types, comic, anime, manga, or otherwise.

All participants must legibly complete a costume contest entry form at pre-judging. Forms will be available at the pre-judging location.
One costume entry per person.

All costumes must be entered by the person who created it. Models may be utilized to showcase your costume. However, the creator must be present with the model at both the prejudging and the contest to be eligible for award consideration. If you choose to use a model, be sure to include this information on your application.
With exception for the Youth category, all costumes and props must be of original construction or show major modifications/alterations to pre-existing materials. No costumes that are purchased or otherwise obtained from a professional or retail source will not be accepted for judging but will be eligible to walk on stage. Exceptions are made for wigs, shoes, jewelry, belts & accessories. But, the more of your costume you make, the more impressed the judges will be!

All entrants are required to show up in full costume for pre-judging which will take place earlier in the day (exceptions for the Youth category and walk-ons wishing only to showcase their costume on stage). If entering for Best Prop, no costume is required.

Reference images and work-in-progress pictures are not required, but STRONGLY recommended assets for pre-judging. Failure to show for prejudging will result in prize ineligibility.

No costume that has won, or placed, in previous Cincinnati Comic Expo costume contests will be Eligible for entry or awards.

Contestants are allowed 15 seconds of stage time to showcase their costume or prop in a “catwalk” format. Make sure to do one or two quick poses before leaving the stage so all spectators can see the prop or costume.

All costumes, props, and weapons must adhere to Cincinnati Comic Expo policies. No live steel, no functioning or previously functioning projectile weapons, no fire, smoke and/or pyrotechnics, or live animals allowed.View Cincinnati Comic Expo policies here.

All costumes must be family friendly (no indecent exposure or nudity). View Cincinnati Comic Expo policies.

No profanity or lewd behavior allowed. Any contestant who violates this rule will immediately be removed from the stage and be disqualified from the contest.

A parent or guardian must accompany all contestants in the Youth category, age 13 or under.

The judges’ decisions are final.

Cincinnati Comic Expo management reserves the right to modify, update, or amend these rules at any time.

Cincinnati Comic Expo may record or photograph contest entries at its discretion.

Entry into this contest constitutes an agreement by the entrants to allow the Cincinnati Comic Expo to use their likeness or image in any current or future advertisement, promotion, or product.
Now, for the most important rule………Have fun!

Any questions about the contest not addressed above can be sent via email to:

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