ConGregate 9

July 14-16, 2023 | Downtown Marriott & Embassy Suites | Winston-Salem, NC

ConGregate Costume Contest Rules & Information

The ConGregate Costume Contest is open to any costumed individual or group, but all participants must have valid ConGregate membership badges.

Prejudging is Saturday in the Piedmont room at 6pm, the contest will be held in Hearn C-D (time to be determined.  Information Booth with advise you when the entry form is turned in). 

Please note:  New for this year, you will be assigned a time to come to the Pre-judging/ Green Room.  Please speak with an Information Booth Representative to receive your time.  When you arrive at your assigned time at the Green Room, you will be required to be in full costume and have everyone involved in your skit/ presentation with you.  This will allow the costume contest staff to best assist you and your group.  This will be the time when the Craftsmanship portion of the contest will be done as well as any Photography.  Please be on time. 

Costume Contest Registrations:

  • Sign-Ups are available online until Thursday before the Convention.
  • Sign-Ups will be available at the information booth until 5pm on Saturday.

If you have any audio or sound to be played while you are on stage, please let us know so that you can speak to the sound crew.  It must be turned in when you turn in your entry form.  Please have it recorded on an otherwise blank CD which is labeled with your name, your badge number, and the name of your costume (or group), Thumb Drive, or MP3 player (or other similar device).  Any device other than a CD cannot be dropped off and you must speak with the sound crew to check if it can be played.  There will be a sound technician in the room during prejudging to assist with anything last minute (within reason).

There should be no more than ten (10) seconds of blank time before your audio begins to play. ConGregate cannot guarantee your audio will be played during your presentation. We reserve the right to review music before allowing it to be used. CDs can be reclaimed after the Costume Contest awards are presented.

There will be no live microphone for contestants to use on stage.

There will be no spotlights or other light effects available on stage.

If you plan to draw or otherwise “use” a weapon during your presentation, note that on your Costume Contest sign-up sheet. Judges will make any necessary determination of suitability and safety.

If you are taking part in a group entry, only one Costume Contest sign-up sheet is necessary for the entire group, but the name and badge number of all group members must be listed on that sheet.

The contest is open to all ages. An adult must accompany children under 12. Parents can accompany their children onstage. Entrants under 12 will not be judged, but will receive certificates for participating.

Category Definitions (Any entrant may choose to compete in a higher category):  

  • Youth - those under the age of 14 years (see above).
  • Novice - those who have won three (3) or fewer major (Best-, Top-, 1st Place-in category) awards in costume competitions.
  • Journeyman - those who have won more than three major awards in costume competitions, but have won fewer than three (3) Best in Show or Best Overall awards.
  • Master - those who have won more than three (3) Best in Show or Best Overall awards.

Awards categories may include: Best in Show, Best Craftsmanship, Best Presentation, Top Novice, Top Journeyman, Top Master, and Judge's Choice. Depending on the number of entrants, other awards may be added.

No individual may present more than one entry in the contest. You cannot wear a costume onstage, then change into another costume and present it for competition as well or be apart of more than one group.

Individuals are limited to one (1) minute on stage. Group’s entries are limited to one (1) minute plus thirty (30) seconds for each additional member up to a maximum of three (3) minutes on stage. There will be no extended songs, skits, monologues, or conversations (any exceptions to this rule must be approved by the ConGregate Costume Contest Coordinator).

Any of the following on stage will result in disqualification and ejection from the Costume Contest: smoke effects, open flames, squirting liquids, firing projectiles, throwing objects into the audience or at the MC, use of obscene language, pornographic representations, full or partial nudity. Please help us keep ConGregate a safe and family-friendly convention (keep in mind PG13 or better).

We ask that anyone with a costume which has won three (3) or more major (Best, Top, or 1st Place) costume competition awards elsewhere not enter that particular costume into ConGregates' competition unless it has been significantly changed or improved.

Participants will be judged on costume construction, originality, and presentation.

No entry will be allowed to win in more than two categories.

Participants need to be in the Green Room (please see the program for its location) at least one (1) hour before Costume Contest time to be pre-judged and assigned a place in line. If you have a re-creation costume, bring any supporting photos, illustrations text passages, models, or other reference materials with you for judges to examine. Please remember to EAT before pre-judging!!

It is possible that latecomers may not be allowed to participate, even if they have registered by turning in a sign-up sheet.

The Green Room will be as secured as possible while the Costume Contest is taking place. Only identified contestants or their parents will have access to the Green Room in that time period. Participants must stay within the contest area (the Costume Contest room, Green Room, or designated meeting area) until judging is completed and awards are presented.

Decisions of the judges are final.

ConGregate reserves the right to remove anyone from the contest, at any time, for any reason, including but not limited to: indecent costume, unprofessional conduct, tardiness, and disruption of the contest. 

ConGregate Costume Contest Entry Form