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GalactiCon Denver 2023 Cosplay Contest Guidelines

The GalactiCon Denver 2023 Cosplay Contest is all about our cosplayers enjoying the chance to put on a great show. We welcome cosplayers of every skill level and style to take the stage. Costumes may be (but are not limited to!) original designs, reimagining, interpretations, and reproductions. Their source material may be literature, history, theater, film, animation, comics, music, toys, fandom, or even the galaxy of your own imagination.

We rely on the ICG Cosplay Contest Guidelines 2021 Edition to inform our rules, requirements, and management of the GalactiCon Cosplay Contest, and may refer to them for interpretation and guidance. You can explore the
Guidelines here.

Important Dates & Times (tentative)

Before GalactiCon

  • October 24, 2023: Cosplay Contest Pre-Registration Open
    • A total of 30 entries/52 people will be available for pre-registration.
    • 10 entries/18 people will be available first-come first-serve at GalactiCon during Cosplay Contest Registration hours.
    • At-con pre-registration is open until 2 PM on Saturday, November 25 or until all entries are full.
  • November 16, 2023: Pre-registered contestants will receive instructions to select judging time, submit documentation, and confirm entry details.

During GalactiCon

  • Friday, November 24, 2023
    • 3:00 PM-9:00 PM Cosplay Registration Open
    • 3:00 PM-9:00 PM Cosplay HQ Open
    • 6:00 PM-8:00 PM (Tentative) Judging Appointments 
  • Saturday, November 25, 2023
    • 10:00 AM-2:00 PM Cosplay Registration Open
    • 10:00 PM-2:00 PM Cosplay HQ Open
    • 10:00 AM-6:00 PM Judging Appointments
    • 3:00 PM-5:00 PM Cosplay Check In Briefings
    • 5:00 PM-9:00 PM Cosplay Green Room Open
    • 5:45 PM Contestant Call Time
    • 6:00 PM Cosplay Contest
    • ~7:00 PM Hall of Fame Induction
    • ~7:30 PM Costume Catwalk
    • ~8:00 PM Cosplay Contest Awards

Contest & Stage Rules

  • All entrants must possess a Saturday or Weekend pass to participate.
  • Costumes, props, presentations, and/or documentation may not contain or display elements that disparage, harass, or attack any person, gender, gender presentation, pronoun choice, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, ethnicity, national origin, language, culture, religion, age, or affiliation.
  • Costumes must adhere to local decency laws. In practical terms, this means “bikini areas” must be covered at all times for all genders. Footwear is required on convention premises.
  • No real weapons (including but not limited to firearms), even if you have a permit or a license, are permitted on convention premises. No live steel, projectiles, or realistic-appearing firearms. No liquids, aerosols, silly string, or projectile foam. 
  • Props resembling futuristic or fantasy weapons, boffer swords, or oversize objects are allowed provided they are not handled in a careless, threatening, or destructive manner against persons or property.
  • No throwing objects off stage. No jumping off the stage. Use designated stage entrances & exits only.
  • Presentation time is limited to 90 seconds per entry (larger groups may request additional time).

Violating any of the Contest & Stage Rules may result in disqualification from the Cosplay Contest and possibly expulsion from the convention itself.

Sound and Music

  • We strongly encourage entrants to supply prerecorded audio, including dialogue, sound effects, and/or music. All prerecorded files will be screened.
  • All dialogue must be prerecorded; live mics will not be available.
  • Preferred format is a single-track MP3, edited for your presentation of 90 seconds or less. Larger groups may request additional time for presentation.
  • If you do not have your own audio, we’ll provide!

Judging & Awards: “Excellence deserves recognition.”

Tentative Award Schedule

  • Competitive Awards
    • Best In Show
    • Best of Skill Division x3
    • Honorable Mention for Skill Division x3
  • Recognition Awards – Presentation/Performance, Assembly, Modification, Prop Making, Makeup, Hair or Wig Styling, Documentation, or anything else that “deserves recognition.”

Skill Divisions

Competition with one’s peers is the cornerstone of fairness. Cosplay Contest entrants are divided into competition Skill Divisions to ensure that both beginning and experienced cosplayers have a reasonably equal chance to win awards.

  • Competitive Divisions
    • The Novice Division exists to encourage people who are new to costuming and Cosplay Contests to compete. This might be your first Cosplay Contest or cosplay; this might be your 5-6th and you’ve won 1 or 2 awards in Novice. You might have between 0-5 years of experience costuming, depending on how you craft.
    • The Journeyman Division is for cosplayers who may have won awards in the Novice Division, but who feel they are not yet ready to compete in the Master Division. You may have mastered (a few of) the basics (or dabbled in many!), developing your style and strengths, and may have more costumes or competition under your belt.
    • The Master Division is open to any cosplayer who wishes to enter. Experienced cosplayers may seek new challenges in this Division or deeply dive into their favored skillset! Stage, film, and dance costuming professionals who hold membership in a union or guild are welcome in this Division only.
    • The Youth Division is a non-competitive division for attendees 12 years old and younger who participate in the design and construction of their own costumes. The Youth Division typically opens the show!

If you need more guidance regarding your Skill Division, please contact the Cosplay Contest Director, Beverly Warner, at

The Costume Catwalk

Show off your costume on stage with no pressure, no pre-registration, and no problems! The Costume Catwalk is a non-competitive exhibition during the Cosplay Contest intermission. Purchased, commissioned, and (in the future) previous GalactiCon Cosplay Award Winners are welcome to join in the fun!

Costume Catwalk participants will queue near Cosplay HQ after the competitive portion of the Costume Contest & while the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony proceeds. For more info on-site, please visit Cosplay HQ during Cosplay Registration Hours.

Documentation & References

Documentation and references are not required but are welcome.

References are usually photos, illustrations, or a visual aid that shows the source of your costume recreation or inspiration. This can apply to both re-creations from proprietary sources and original designs. It may be screencaps, design sheets, sketches, or even text descriptions (in the case of book characters, for instance). References give the director and judges an idea of what we’re going to see and helps us develop an entertaining run order. References will be accepted with your Cosplay Contest pre-registration.

Documentation is a record of the construction of your costume. Many include references, research, supplies or samples, progress photos, and completed costume photos. Documentation will be accepted on-site; files should be no more than 6 printed pages and less than 2000 words.

Check-In, Green Room, Backstage, and Main Events

  • Participation in the Cosplay Contest can require an hour or more of waiting in the Green Room, in addition to the planned hour-long show in Main Events.
  • You’ll have access to water, repair tools, a mirror, and various seating accommodations.
  • Volunteers will be available to guide you on and off the stage, but if you think you’ll need more attention than that, please engage a handler or assistant. Be sure to include them on your pre-registration form to ensure staging area access.
  • The green room is NOT a secure location; leave belongings AT YOUR OWN RISK. GalactiCon Denver is not responsible for lost or stolen property.


I’ve never been in a Cosplay Contest before, what should I expect?

Most Cosplay Contests consist of a pre-registration process before or at the convention, entry confirmation via email, in-person check-in at the convention, optional judging, and waiting in the Green Room until showtime. Volunteers will help you queue and navigate backstage. The emcees will announce your entry and audio will be played as you move across the stage for your presentation. Volunteers will guide you to a backstage exit where you can join the audience or return to the Green Room. When all entries have been presented, the judges will be excused to finalize awards, placing the Cosplay Contest in intermission until the judges return their decision. 

What should I do on stage?

Presentations are the on-stage part of a Cosplay Contest, in which the judges & audience are able to see and appreciate your costume at its best! There are two common types of presentation:

  • Walk On: Between 30-60 seconds, a short form walk-on can be as simple as a few character poses over a musical background, with little to no dialogue. Pantomime, non-contact martial arts, or dance can elevate a short form presentation.
  • Skit: Starting at about 60 seconds, a skit is a brief dramatic performance with audio (including dialogue, music, and sound effects) and action. Skits are often comedic but can also be tragic or intense. Dialogue must be prerecorded; microphones will not be available.

Hint: Take your time! 90 seconds feels like an eternity on stage. Give the judges and audience a chance to see your costume – that’s why they’re here! Use as much of the stage as you can. Practice your poses and choreography. And have fun!

Can I wear a costume someone else made? Can someone else wear a costume I made?

  • Depends! Purchased-complete or commissioned costumes (like those from Amazon, ProCosplay, Miccostumes) are welcome in the Costume Catwalk but are not eligible for awards.
  • Any awards presented for workmanship will be awarded to the fabricator. Awards for presentation may be awarded to both model and maker. 
  • If you aren’t sure, please contact the Cosplay Contest Director for guidance.

Our group has more than one skill level; what are we?

The level of the people playing a major part in the design and making of the costumes determines the level at which a group competes.

Contact Information

Still have questions or need clarification? Email the Cosplay Contest Director, Beverly Warner, at