Masquerade | Zenkaikon, Anime & Sci-Fi Convention, Lancaster PA

Zenkaikon, Anime & Sci-Fi Convention, Lancaster PA

April 1-3, 2016, Lancaster County Convention Center


Welcome to the Masquerade!

The Masquerade is Saturday's big Costuming event!  Come cheer on your peers or become part of the show!  Participants will showcase their craftsmanship skills in a performance for all to view.  Don't miss this premiere event. 

We do highly suggest anyone interested in entering the Hall Costume Contest to apply for a Masquerade entry instead.  The Hall Cosplay Contest is extremely popular and we will cap the competition.

In addition to the performance, participants are also judged on craftsmanship. Craftsmanship judging is optional, but it will affect the overall score. Please indicate if the entry will partake in craftsmanship judging on the Masquerade registration form.

The Submission form is now closed. 

Skill 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.
  • Beginner: Open to competitors who have not won a major award in a contest.
  • Intermediate: Open to competitors who have won at least one Major Award, but not more than 3 Major Awards. If you have won more than 3 Major Awards at this level, you must compete at Advanced Division.
  • Advanced: Open to all competitors who wish to compete at this level. Professional Costumers* must compete in this division.
  • Each entry’s appropriate category is determined by the highest ranked division member of their group. For example, a group containing 1 Beginner, 3 Intermediate, and 1 Advanced, will be required to participate at the Advanced level.

If you have competed and won at a higher division, you may not backtrack and compete at a lower division. For example, if you have won at an Intermediate level, you may no longer enter at a Beginner 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 & costumes may be kept to a PG-13 level. No explicit gestures, nudity, swearing, seductive dancing, etc. Participants are expected to behave onstage and backstage in an appropriately mature manner in a family environment.
  3. All costumes and props are subject to the Zenkaikon Convention Policies.
  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 & 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, as no more than 8 people are allowed on stage at any given time… even if they are dressed in camouflage.
  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 cosplay 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 stupid!
  15. Microphones will not be provided. Pre-recording of any and all dialogue & 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 till 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-On or 1 participant: 1 minute
    Group of 2-4 participants: 2 minutes
    Group of 5-8 participants: 3 minutes
  19. Stage Ninjas will not count to your time limit. For example, if you have 5 people in your group, but 2 are stage ninjas, you qualify for 2 minutes, not 3.
  20. Violating any Masquerade or Convention rules will disqualify you. A severe violation could result in removal from the convention.
  21. Zenkaikon Staff are not permitted to enter the competition.
  22. PRINTED reference material is required. Even if a character is popular or well-known, reference material is needed in order to judge for accuracy. Lack of PRINTED reference will greatly affect scoring, as not every judge has knowledge of every detail of every character. Quality printouts of screen-captures and official images of characters, and art book images are acceptable. Please include images that show front, back, and sides to demonstrate details of your costume. Not every character will have such images available, but the more shown to the judges, the better they can analyze the costume. Progress pictures of construction work may also help, but remember that judging time is very limited and the judges do not have the time to look through pages upon pages of reference.'


  1. Registration opens for the Masquerade on Saturday, March 3rd at 10AM and will close Saturday, April 21st at 11:59:59PM. A link for submission will appear at the top of this page, but will NOT be activated until the given time.
  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. The GROUP LEADER of a pre-registered entry must check in at Masquerade HQ (Montgomery House, 1st level) during pre-registration check-in times to confirm your entry and any special requirements, and to receive your backstage passes for your group. Only the Group Leader needs to show up, not the entire group. 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 Director 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. The Spirit Award will be given to the contestant that best represents this year’s Zenkaikon theme of Japanese Ghosts and Monsters. 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.
  4. If there are insufficient entries in a Division or Category, the judges have the right to choose 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 the presentation as a commercial for what you are sourcing. Keeping the audience’s attention focused is central to a presentation.
  2. Always run your presentation 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 idea.
  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 snuck into the front row, so over-exaggerate movements and don’t clump up together if you can help it! If you can’t see what’s going on from at least 20 feet away (including reading signs), 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 STAR WARS 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!


If, after reading the above, you are still uncertain about what level you belong to, or if you have any questions, please use the contact form and select “Cosplay” as the category.