March 18-19, 2017, Santa Clara Marriott

Masquerade Rules

The Masquerade is a staple of your AOD convention experience.

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Masquerade 2017 Registration


Masquerade is a costume contest in which costumers display their finest costumes and present skits hoping to win the coveted "Best of Show" award. This event is scheduled for Saturday evening, March 18, 2017.


Convention Sign Up Information

  1. To sign up for masquerade come to the cosplay office at AOD during open hours.
  2. All participants are required to submit a properly completed waiver to masquerade staff at the convention. If participants are under the age of 18 the waiver must also be signed by their parent or guardian. Masquerade staff may choose to verify either in person or by telephone that the parent or guardian has signed the waiver prior to allowing a minor to participate. 2017 WAIVER AVAILABLE HERE.
  3. At con signups will be open on March 18, 2017 from 10:00 am until 12:00 pm and from 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm or until there are no available spaces, whichever comes first. At this time please wear the costume you intend to enter in masquerade as we will be doing the construction judging at check-in rather than at the pre-meeting.
  4. Each individual who signs up for masquerade prior to the convention must check in with the masquerade sign up desk by 4:00 pm March 18, 2017. At the time of check in the individual must present a con badge valid for the day of masquerade and a properly completed waiver. Also at this time any audio cds should be turned in. If there is any practical reason (for example, work, childcare, flight times) that you will be unable to check in by 4:00 pm on Saturday, please contact cosplay by March 18, 2017 to make other arrangements for check in.
  5. Prior to masquerade on Saturday night there will be a required meeting for all participants at 5:00 pm at the Cosplay Office. Missing this meeting will result in disqualification. Only registered participants or those accompanying young child participants and approved press will be allowed in the room. Participants should appear at this meeting prepared for masquerade. During this meeting stage and seating instructions will be given. Masquerade staff highly recommends that participants eat in the afternoon before attending this meeting as there will probably not be an opportunity to leave before masquerade starts.
  6. There will be a maximum of 40 entries in the masquerade due to time constraints


General Rules

These are the general rules for all masquerade participants. Breaking any of these rules will result in disqualification. In addition the convention may choose to inflict harsher penalties if conduct or safety rules are broken.

  1. All costumes entered in masquerade must meet the same decency guidelines as hall costumes.
  2. All props used in masquerade must meet convention weapons policy guidelines.
  3. All masquerade content must meet PG-13 guidelines. In addition to these basic guidelines, swearing and depiction/implying of sexual acts is forbidden.
  4. Costumes that have previously won major awards in best of show or for construction at other conventions may not be eligible compete for construction scores or awards. You must contact cosplay to see if your costume is eligible to compete.
  5. Professionally made or bought costumes may not compete for construction scores or awards, but are eligible to compete for performance scores or awards. If you are unsure how this affects you, please email us. Found item costumes in which the wearer has gone shopping for individual articles of clothing to assemble a costume from do not qualify as bought costumes.
  6. Participants costumes must be self-contained and not interfere with other participants or cause damage to other participants' costumes.
  7. Costumes not worn by children age 12 and under that are competing for scores are to have been made primarily by either the wearer or another member of the wearer's group.
  8. An entry may only contain a maximum of 8 people, regardless of number of unscored costumes. Depending on space and the performance, more members may be allowed with special permission.
  9. Participants may only be part of one entry.
  10. No jumping off the stage.
  11. No incendiary devices, projectiles, silly string, or confetti, etc.
  12. Anything left on stage after your performance must be able to be cleaned up in under 15 seconds.
  13. If at any time a participant causes a problem that cannot be easily resolved, we reserve the right to disqualify the participant from Masquerade. If further problems persist, it will result in the revocation of that participant's badge. The cost of registration will not be refunded, and the participant will be escorted from the convention grounds.



A walk-on is an entry that elects to present their costume(s) to the audience on stage without doing a skit or performance.

  1. Group entries are strongly encouraged to do a performance instead of a walk-on.
  2. Walk-ons will not receive a presentation score and are not eligible for presentation awards. However, their total scores will be weighted to allow for a fair opportunity to win best of show awards.
  3. A walk-on may take no longer than 45 seconds.


Presentation Rules

Participants may choose to present their costumes to the audience by doing a skit, dance routine, scene recreation, or other type of performance.

  1. Group entries are strongly encouraged to do a performance .
  2. Presentations will be limited to 2 minutes and 30 seconds on stage. Entries are not required to make use of the full allotted time. Once the time limit is reached, any pre-recorded audio will be cut and participants will be escorted off the stage.
  3. A live microphone on stage as well as the ability to play pre-recorded audio should be available to participants for the masquerade.
  4. Any pre-recorded audio must be brought to the con in CD audio format. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to play any form of audio other than a regular audio CD.
  5. You are NOT allowed to play audio through your portable device with speakers on the stage. The microphones will not pick up the sound well or it may result in feedback. If you require sound in addition to speaking into the microphone, you MUST pre-record your audio.


Children Age 12 and Under

Younger attendees are welcome to participate in masquerade. To best accomodate them some additional rules apply.

  1. Children age 12 and under are not required to have constructed their own costume. It may instead have been constructed by a parent or other guardian adult. In the event that the costume wins a construction award, credit for construction will go to the person who made that costume.
  2. Children age 12 and under must be accompanied backstage by their parent or guardian at all times. They may also be accompanied on stage by their parent or guardian if assistance is necessary, however the adult may not be part of a performance unless he or she has signed up as a masquerade participant.
  3. All other rules still apply.


Scoring Policies and Proceedures

Scoring is divided into two basic categories: Construction and Presentation. Each judge will award scores in these categories based on various criteria.


Construction Scoring

All masquerade participants will receive construction scores unless they have signed up for masquerade as a an unscored costume (please see the rules section regarding unscored costumes). Unscored costumes are not eligible for construction scoring or construction awards. They do not however disqualify the rest of their group from such scoring or awards.

Construction Accuracy (100 points possible)

This is an evaluation of how closely you resemble the character you have chosen to dress as. To receive full points in this category you must bring character reference pictures to the construction judging. If your costume is an original creation you must bring your concept sketches with you. A failure to present references will result in an automatic 10 point deduction.

Construction Technical (100 points possible)

This is an evaluation of how well your costume is constructed. Criteria for this category are that costumes are hemmed, appropriate materials and methods have been used, the costume fits the wearer, and that the costume stays together.

Construction Coolness (10 points possible)

This is entirely the judge's opinion of how cool your costume is. It is arbitrary and has been weighted so as to not affect measureable construction attributes.

Individual construction score is the average of the total construction scores awarded to the individual by each judge. Group construction score is the average of the individual contruction scores within the group.


Presentation Scoring

All masquerade entries that have not signed up to do a walk-on will receive a presentation score. Walk-ons are not eligible for presentation scoring or presentation awards. (Please see the rules section regarding walk-ons.)

Presentation Concept (100 points possible)

This is an evaluation of how good the idea behind your presentation is. Criteria for this category are originality and how well it suits the characters involved.

Presentation Execution (100 points possible)

This is an evaluation of how well your presentation is performed on stage. Criteria for this category are that the presentation appears rehearsed and well staged.

Presentation Audience Response (10 points possible)

This is the judge's opinion of how well the audience responds to your presentation. It is arbitrary and has been weighted so as to not affect measureable performance attributes.

Presentation score is the average of the total presentation scores awarded by each judge.


Scoring Exemptions

Some people or entries may choose to not be scored for construction or presentation. The following section outlines those cases.

Unscored Costumes

A group may contain participants whose costumes will not receive construction scores. These "unscored costumes" are not eligible for construction or best of show awards.

  1. A participant who feels their costume will negatively affect the score of the group may choose to opt out of construction scoring, and become an "unscored costume".
  2. Professional made costumes, purchased costumes, and costumes that have previously won awards are automatically considered "unscored costumes".
  3. If everyone in a group wishes to not be scored on construction, that entry will only be eligible for presentation awards.
  4. Unscored costumes count toward the total number of people in the group.

Walk ons

Walk-on entries will not receive presentation scores, and are not eligible for presentation awards. Walk-on entries are still eligible for Best of Show, and their scores will be weighted to give them a fair chance to win.



AOD Awards

Entries will receive the one highest AOD award they qualify for. AOD Awards are as follows:

  1. Best of Show - The overall best entry in masquerade, the winners will get $500!
  2. Runner-up Best of Show - Like it says, almost as good as best, the winners of this will get $250!
  3. Best Presentation - This is for the best performance or costume presentation and wins $125!
  4. Best Construction - This is for the group with the best made costumes and the winners get $125!
  5. Runner-up Best Presentation - This is for the next best performance! There's no cash, but the winners will get a variety of merchandise from our sponsors!
  6. Runner-up Best Construction - This is for the second best made costumes! There's no cash, but the winners will get a variety of merchandise from our sponsors!

In addition to these each judge may choose to give out a Judge's Choice award to other entries that merit recognition.

Industry Awards

Industry awards are special awards sponsored by a guest or company. They will be awarded either according to guidelines from the sponsor or by a representative. Entrants may win industry awards in addition to official AOD Masquerade awards.


Register Online

 Thank you for participating at the 2017 AOD Masquerade and hoping to see you again in 2018!


Questions and Concerns

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.