Zenkaikon, Anime & Sci-Fi Convention, Lancaster PA

April 1-3, 2016, Lancaster County Convention Center



Registration for the Zenkaikon X Masquerade is currently open, and will close Saturday, March 5th at 11:59:59PM

Link to Registration for the Event.  *This form will only be live during the registration window listed above.*

The Masquerade, the highlight of many con experiences, is a stage show where costumed fans perform in front of an audience. These performances take the form of skits which may include, but are not limited to: musical numbers, choreographed dances, comedy sketches, acting, instrumental acts, and parodies. The performances should be well-planned and rehearsed before the event and many fans will take several months to put these skits together.

In addition to the performance itself, participants are also judged on their costume craftsmanship. Craftsmanship judging is optional, but it does affect the overall score and you cannot win Best in Show without it! Please indicate if the entry will partake in craftsmanship judging on the Masquerade registration form. Entries that simply wish to perform a skit at the Masquerade, yet do not wish to be judged on either performance or craftsmanship may enter as “exhibition”. Exhibition entries must still adhere to the same performance rules as any other skit. Entrants will be able to indicate this on the application form. Exhibition entries must apply online; there will not be sign-ups for this type of skit at the con. Time limit restrictions may be waived for exhibition skits at the discretion of the Head of Cosplay, and must be approved prior to the convention.

Keep in mind that the Masquerade is a costume competition foremost, not a talent show. All entries must showcase your costumes to their fullest ability while you are performing. This includes showing the judges and the audience important aspects about your costume including your range of motion, any gimmicks like lights or moving parts, detail work, etc.

The Masquerade will take place on Saturday evening of the convention. Come support your fellow attendees as they delight you with their creativity!

Skill Divisions

All participants will be placed & judged in one of four possible divisions:

Junior - Open to all participants aged 12 or younger. However, any “Junior” skit or walk-on containing non-Junior competitors will be moved out of Junior and into the appropriate non-Junior category.

Novice - Open to competitors who have won 3 Major Awards or less as a Novice. If you have ever won in any division higher than Novice in any competition, you may not enter at Novice or lower.

Journeyman - Open to competitors who have won 3 Major Awards or less as a Journeyman. If you have won more than 3 Major Awards as a Journeyman, you will need to enter at the Master Division. If you have ever won in any division higher than Journeyman in any competition, you may not enter at Journeyman or lower.

Master - Open to all competitors who wish to compete at this level. Professional Costumers* must compete in this category.

If performing in a group, each entry’s appropriate category is determined by the highest ranked division member of their group. For example, a group containing 1 Novice, 3 Journeyman, and 1 Master, will be required to participate at the Master level.

For Division Placement Purposes: Awards of ranking, including but not limited to “Best in Show,” “Best in Division,” “Best Performance or Craftsmanship,” or “First Place,” “Second Place,” etc. in any type of cosplay competition are considered Major cosplay awards. “Honorable Mentions,” “Judges’ Awards,” and similar forms of recognition are not considered Major awards. Participants may be bumped to a higher division at the Judges’ discretion. A competitor may choose to compete in a division higher than the one s/he is eligible to enter. However, if the competitor receives an award in this higher division, they must continue to compete in that division (or higher) in future competitions.

*A Professional Costumer is defined as someone who makes over 50% of their income through costume making or commissions.

Overall Rules

1. Entrants must be registered to attend Zenkaikon. This means entrants who are registering online for this event must be pre-registered for Zenkaikon. This includes all members of group entries. Group leaders should verify all members have pre-registered for Zenkaikon before registering their skit for the Masquerade.

2. This is a family friendly event. As such, all performances and costumes must be kept to a PG-13 level. No explicit gestures, nudity, swearing, lewd dancing, etc. Participants are expected to behave onstage and backstage in an appropriately mature manner in a family environment.

3. No live steel or firearms. If you are unsure about a weapon or prop, bring them to Masquerade HQ or a Con Safety staff member for clearance. Pennsylvania has laws about these things, let’s not break them.

4. Anything you bring onstage with you, must come off with you. No toilet paper, tissues, rice, water, etc. Fireworks, pyrotechnics, or any fire in general is not allowed. Respect the stage and leave it clean.

5. Size and Mobility: For safety reasons, over-sized costumes or props that cannot navigate the stairs & backstage area due to height, width, etc, may be asked to enter the Hall Costume Contest instead. You may have a handler if visibility or mobility is limited, but all persons and props must be able to get on and off the stage via the stage stairs without interrupting the event or causing undue delay for your fellow participants.

6. Each participant may only be involved in one skit each. You cannot participate in multiple skits.

7. Each group is limited to 8 people. This includes stage ninjas.

8. Failure to report for your sign-in, rehearsal, and/or line-up times is grounds for CANCELLATION of your performance. Being late or not showing up throws everyone else off schedule, so do not take this lightly!

9. Exhibition Entries (non-competing) are allowed, but priority for slots will be given to competing participants.

10. The Masquerade Coordinator has final say in all circumstances and disputes.

11. Stay in the designated area to which you are assigned.  Anyone found loitering in areas that are off limits will be subject to dismissal from the event and/or the convention itself.

12. Source Material for entries can be from all genres.  This includes Anime/Manga, Video Game, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Original Designs, Fan Art, Live Action, and Comics.

13. All entries must attend mandatory rehearsal on Saturday morning. Rehearsals will be done by appointment; not showing up to your rehearsal slot is forfeiting your right to perform.

14. Stage acrobatics: Because the stage is portable, it cannot take heavy abuse. Acrobatics or martial arts are not allowed. We will allow slower, choreographed, dance-like movements. Be sure to indicate such presentations when you register. Safety first! You don’t want to be that person that’s remembered for being sent to the hospital in front of the entire audience for doing something silly!

15.  Microphones will not be provided. Prerecording of any and all dialogue and music is heavily advised, as the acoustics in the building are very rough. Live musical presentations are permitted – however they must be approved by the Masquerade Coordinator prior to the show.

16. Tell us in advance of anything “unique” you have planned in your presentation. We will do our best to accommodate your requests, but are limited in what we can do and allow. The more we know ahead of time, the more we can work with you. Waiting until you check-in to ask for special clearance to do something is way too late!

17. All participants must sign a waiver. Failure to provide a signed liability waiver from every participant in your group is grounds for cancellation of your performance. If a participant is underage, they must have a parental guardian sign the liability waiver. The parental guardian must be present at all times.

18. Time Limits:

Walk-Ons or 1 participant: 1 minute

Group of 2-4 participants: 2 minute

Group of 5-8 participants: 3 minutes

19. Violating any Masquerade or Convention rules will disqualify you. A severe violation could result in removal from the convention.


1. Registration opens for the Masquerade on Saturday, February 6th at 10AM and closes Saturday, March 5th at 11:59:59PM. A link for submission will appear on the Masquerade page , but will NOT be activated until the given time. If you have any questions, please contact us at cosplay@zenkaikon.com.

2. When the submission form is live, only one person in a group needs to fill out the form, but will be required to provide information on all members including stage ninjas.

Masquerade Check-in

1. All members of a pre-registered entry must check in at Masquerade HQ during pre-registration check-in times to confirm your entry and any special requirements, and to receive your backstage pass. Failure to show up during this time period means your slot will be dropped and made available to another group.

2. Should you need to cancel your entry, please inform the Masquerade Coordinator as soon as possible. We completely understand last minute issues, nerves, etc.


1. Awards are broken down by Division, when applicable. Awards will be determined based on scores for each division and category, focusing on Craftsmanship and Presentation, and will be awarded at the Judges’ discretion.

2. In order to be eligible for “Best In Show”, a group must have completed both Craftsmanship & Presentation judging.

3. Best Overall Presentation & Best Overall Craftsmanship winners, if chosen, will be pulled from across all divisions and categories to reflect the very best of that criteria from all entries.

4. There will be “Best of” Awards for each Skill Division – Best Novice, Best Journeyman, Best Novice, Best Youth.

5. Additionally, Judges awards may be awarded for themes such as Best Prop, Best Wig, and other honorable mentions.

6. The Spirit Award will be made to the contestant that best represents this year’s Zenkaikon theme of Cyber Punk. This can be a pre-existing character that is pulled from an official source that fits the theme or an original design created by the costumer.

7. If there are insufficient entries in a Division or Category, the judges have the right to chose to not assign an award.

Words of Wisdom

1. Short and to the point is always more memorable. Just because you have a full time limit, does not mean you have to fill that entire time limit. Think of a skit as a commercial for what you are sourcing. Keeping the audience’s attention focused is central to a presentation.

2. Always run your skit by someone who is not familiar with your source material and see if they ‘get’ it. If they are left scratching their head in confusion, then you may want revise your skit.

3. Remember that you want the poor guy stuck in the far back row to be able to understand and see what’s going on just as much as the person who got into the front row, so over-exaggerate movements and don’t clump up together if you can help it! Be mindful of turning your back to the audience and/or blocking someone else from being seen by the audience. If you can’t see what’s going on or who is talking from at least 20 feet away (including reading any signs you use in your skit), then you may want to rework your choreography (and invest in better sharpies/paint).

4. Above all, make sure you have a beginning, middle, and end. Don’t just randomly break into song and then run off stage because you are not sure on how to end your skit!

5. All participants are asked to have a HEART sticker on the back of their badge. If the participant’s badge is inspected by any Masquerade Staff and the participant is found to have brought their sticker as asked, you will be awarded with our appreciation for having read the rules entirely. Appreciation might be in the form of another sticker, a charm, a pin, a snack, a pat on the head, or even special consideration during our sacrificial ceremony (meaning it won’t be you we sacrifice to the cosplay overlords).

Let’s have some fun! WOO! GO ZENKAIKON MASQUERADE!