Costume Contest

Welcome to the Costume Contest!

Costuming and cosplay have been an inherent part of SF/F fandom since almost the very beginning. The first WorldCon, in 1939, had fans in costume. For some of us, it’s the primary reason why we attend SF/F conventions.  And the great thing is, costumers can be of all ages and skill levels. It is with that in mind that we invite you to participate in OryCon’s costume contest!

Continuing what we started in 2017, the costume contest team (aka masquerade zoo crew) invites the costumers and cosplayers of OryCon to strut their stuff on our stage, Saturday night.

We’ve lined up some great goodies for the winners, including gift certificates from fan-friendly places such as Costume AvenueExcalibur Comics, Fabric Depot, Ground Kontrol and The Portland Game Store, and comps for other conventions, including two pairs of VIP passes to Portland’s Heroes & Villains and a free membership to WorldCon76.

When And Where

Saturday, November 18th. East ballroom.

Show starts at 7:30PM – doors open at 7.

Mandatory Friday Night “Meet The Crew/Q&A”

Friday, Nov 17th, 5PM – 6PM in the Lion King’s Den. The event director and crew will be hosting a mandatory meeting on Friday night, which will be your opportunity to verify that we’ve received your entry details and that they’re correct, learn about the show’s timeline and ask us whatever questions you might have on your mind regarding tech setup, judging guidelines, etc. If you can’t attend this meeting, you may send a representative to speak on your behalf (because sometimes, you’ve got to work late. We get that.) This will also be your last chance to fill in the entry form via a loaner laptop. No-shows to the Friday meeting will be dropped from the contest’s line-up. 

Rehearsal / Event Check-In

Tech rehearsal will run from 4PM – 6:30PM on Saturday, November 18th, in the East Ballroom.  This is also when you will check-in for the event, and submit to (optional) workmanship judging.

The rehearsal is your only opportunity to test your music / pre-recorded soundtrack, practice your presentation on the stage, and ask last-minute questions of the tech crew. All entrants must be present and checked in at the event ballroom by 5:30PM at the very latest. We strongly suggest that you show up as early as possible, rehearse your number, check in with the director, and then you can take a break, as necessary. It’s better to have too much prep time than too little!

About Pre-Recorded Sound

There will be NO live-mikes on the stage. Any dialogue/music must be pre-recorded and brought to the rehearsal so that the DJ may test the file and copy it over. You can bring your files on CD-ROM or a USB drive, although USB drive is strongly preferred. If possible, please bring the file in both MP3 and WAV format. Gremlins happen and sometimes, computers get finicky.

Photo Studio

We hope to have a photo area for entrants, occuring simultaneous to the rehearsal / check-in, but the final details are still being sorted out.

How To Enter – Online Entry Form Now Available!

To enter the costume contest, please fill out this form and submit it no later than 7PM, Thursday November 16th. Addendum: we should have a loaner laptop available at the Friday night meeting, for late entries. This is our first year utilizing online entry forms and the director won’t be surprised if we have a few hiccups during the transition. But please note, there will not be any paper entry forms at the convention.

“At the door” entries will only be considered a) if there’s room in the lineup (see below) and b) if you attended the Friday-night meeting (or sent a proxy) and spoke to the director about being added. Do not show up to the tech rehearsal and ask to be “squeezed in”. You probably won’t like the answer.

Repeating for emphasis: please submit your entry via this online form no later than Thursday, Nov 16th.

Update 10/29 – IF you attempted to  submit this form before Sunday, 10/29 and did NOT receive an email from OryCon acknowledging the receipt of your entry, please submit the form out again. We had an oopsie. Thanks!

Limit on Number of Entries

Space is limited! We cannot accommodate more than 25 entries. A group counts as a single entry.

Space will be allotted on a first-come, first serve basis, so turn in your entry form as early as possible. If we receive more than 25 entries, the extras will go on a waiting list in the order received. We can’t guarantee that any wait-listed entries will make it on to the stage but last-minute drop-outs do happen and you might get lucky.

What Are The Competitive Classes? What Does That Even Mean?

Competing is optional. There are two categories for competitive awards: workmanship and presentation. Workmanship is the evaluation done back stage, scrutinizing an entry’s materials, techniques and fidelity to media source (if any). The presentation category is what it sounds like – an evaluation of how the costume appears when it’s on stage. You may compete in either, both or neither of these categories. It’s up to you.

Even if you choose to present your costume as “exhibition only”, you will still be eligible for the Audience’s Choice award – but nothing else.

There are four competitive classes: Young Fan, Novice, Journeyman and Master. Please refer to this handy flow-chart to determine which class you should enter. Workmanship and presentation awards will be made in each class except Young Fan, which is limited to a single award. 

If there are less than five entrants in a particular class (except Young Fan) the director reserves the right to merge it with another class.

What About Documentation?

Documentation of your costume is optional, but recommended – especially if you wish to be considered for a workmanship award. The judges’ time will be limited, and providing documentation gives you the opportunity to explain the source and construction of your costume in further detail – as well as showing hidden aspects to the construction. Be sure to include a picture of the source media – if any – just in case the judge is unfamiliar with your inspiration (there’s a lot of content out there and it’s impossible to have watched all of it!).

Once you have submitted your entry form, you may email accompanying documentation to the masquerade director, or bring a hard-copy with you to the tech rehearsal.  Please try to keep it to two double-sided pages or less. Documentation will not be returned, unless requested.

Nervous About Entering?

That’s okay, we’re nervous, too! While it’s only our second time running the costume contest at OryCon, members of the crew have run costuming events at many other conventions, including DragonCon, Gallifrey One, BayCon, Chicago TARDIS, BeyondCon and Rose City Comic Con.

Still nervous? We’ve written something for you: What makes for a great masquerade entry.


  • All entrants must be a badged attendee (or panelist) at OryCon 39.
  • You must submit an entry form by the deadline specified in order to participate.
  •  You must abide by the policies of OryCon as detailed in the program book and online.
  • If your entry features a weapon of any kind, it must be concealed as it is transported to/from the event room. See the convention rules in the program for more information.
  • This is an all-ages show. Please keep the content and language family-friendly.
  • Costumes featuring materials that can stain or cause a slip hazard are not permitted. (aka “The Peanut Butter Rule”)
  • No open flame on stage. (There’s a story behind that one, too).
  • “No costume is no costume”. No nudity on stage.
  •  The masquerade director reserves the right to deny an entry for any reason. She hopes she won’t have to.


If you have any questions or concerns you want answered before the convention, please email the director at johanna.mead(at)