• March 24-26, 2023
  • Lancaster County Convention Center, Lancaster, PA


Hear ye, Hear ye! Please join us in Main Events on Saturday night for an evening of performances, by fans, for fans! Come support your friends, favorite characters, and genres. You’ll never know what you’ll see at Zenkaikon’s Annual Masquerade. We welcome you to explore Drama, Comedy, Adventure, Excitement, and Music through the Art of Cosplay. Let yourself tell the story of your character!

Below is the needed information if you want to participate in this exciting event.

Pre-Registration opens for the Masquerade on Saturday, February 4th at 10 AM EST and will close on Saturday, March 11th at 11:59 PM EST. CLICK THIS LINK HERE to enter the 2023 Zenkaikon Masquerade, as entry slots will quickly fill up! There will be no at-con registration for the Masquerade, and entries will be taken online on a first-come, first-serve basis.


  • The group leader must check in at Cosplay HQ, located on the 1st floor of the Montgomery House, on Friday from 2:00-4:30 PM or 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM. Failure to report during these time periods means your slot will be dropped and made available to another group.
  • Should you need to cancel your entry, please inform the Cosplay Department (cosplay@zenkaikon.org) as soon as possible. We completely understand last-minute issues, nerves, etc.
  • Please bring your audio with you as a .MP3 on a flash drive when you check-in.


  • When the submission link is live, only one group member must fill out the form but will be required to provide information on all members, including any stage ninjas.
  • **NEW THIS YEAR – NO DANCING IDOL GROUPS IN MASQUERADE** We absolutely love all our Idol friends, so we’ve created a brand new separate event — the Zenkaikon Idol Fest — to help showcase all big and small Idol Groups. For Zenkaikon 2023, we are not accepting Idol Groups in dancing form into the Masquerade. This includes any form, such as an anime person dancing to an idol song. We encourage your group to enter the Idol Fest. If you create your costumes, we also suggest entering the Hall Costume Contest as well.
  • All participants must wear a COVID mask before their performance and after. Performances are allowed to be unmasked. Please have an area on your body to hide the mask during your performance. You are not required to take your mask off if you feel more comfortable not removing it for your performance.
  • All participants must be pre-registered to attend Zenkaikon. Group leaders should verify all members have pre-registered before registering their skit for the Masquerade.
  • As Zenkaikon is a family-friendly event, all performances and costumes must be kept to a PG-13 level. No explicit gestures, nudity, swearing, dancing, etc. Participants are expected to behave onstage and backstage appropriately and maturely in a family environment.
  • The time limit for all groups and participants is two (2) minutes. This does not mean you must fill the entire two (2) minutes.
  • All costumes and props are subject to the Zenkaikon Convention Policies.
  • Anything you bring onstage with you must come off with you. No toilet paper, tissues, rice, water, etc. Fireworks, pyrotechnics, or any general fire-based effects are not permitted. Please respect the stage and leave it clean.
  • You may have a handler if visibility or mobility is limited. However, all persons and props must be able to get on and off the stage via the stairs without interrupting the event or causing an undue delay for your fellow participants.
  • Each participant may only be involved with one skit entry. You cannot participate in multiple skits.
  • Each group is limited to eight (8) people. This includes stage ninjas, as no more than eight (8) people are allowed on stage at any given time, camouflage or no camouflage.
  • Failure to report for your sign-in, rehearsal, and/or green room times is grounds for cancellation of your performance, as being late or not showing up throws the organizers and all other participants off schedule. Please do not take this lightly!
  • Exhibition entries (non-competing) are permitted, but competing participants will be given priority for slots.
  • Please stay in the designated area to which you are assigned during rehearsal and the event while you are not performing. Anyone found loitering in off-limits areas will be subject to dismissal from the event and/or the convention itself.
  • Our portable stage cannot take heavy abuse; therefore, 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! Please do not be that person remembered for being sent to the hospital in front of the entire audience!
  • Microphones will not be provided. Pre-recording of any and all dialogue and music is heavily advised, as the acoustics in the room are very rough. Live musical presentations are permitted; however, such presentations must be approved first by the Cosplay Coordinator before the show.
  • Audio must be submitted in .MP3 format on a flash drive. There are no exceptions. You will immediately receive your flash drive back during the check-in process.
  • Please 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 the check-in to ask for special clearance is far too late!
  • The parental guardian must always be present if a participant is under eighteen (18).
  • Violating any costume contest or Zenkaikon rules will disqualify you. A severe violation could result in removal from the convention.
  • Printed reference material for your costume is required. Even if you feel a character is popular or well-known, printed reference material is needed to judge for accuracy. Lack of printed reference material will greatly affect scoring, as not every judge has knowledge of every detail of every character. Phones, laptops, tablets, or other electronic reference materials will not be accepted. We highly suggest that a thin folder with pockets or brads be used to present your images. 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 references during the deliberation process. Quality printouts of screen captures, official images of characters, and art book images are acceptable.
  • For original designs, an inspiration sheet must be submitted. This includes a sketch and images used for inspiration. Do not submit a vision or mood board.


  • 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.
  • Always run your presentation by someone unfamiliar with your source material and see if they “get” it. If they are left scratching their head in confusion, then you may want to revise your idea.
  • Remember that you want those poor souls 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 your movements and don’t clump up together if you can help it! If you can’t see what’s happening from at least twenty feet away, including reading signs, you may want to rework your choreography and consider investing in better Sharpies or paint.
  • Above all, ensure you have a firm beginning, middle, and end. Don’t randomly break into a song and run off stage because you are unsure how to end your skit!
  • All participants are asked to have some Medieval-themed sticker on the back of their badge. If any Cosplay Staff inspects the participant’s badge and finds a sticker, as asked here, you will be awarded 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.

We missed you all terribly. Let’s have some Fun!