Costumes tell stories of times and places; by making and wearing them we can explore those worlds by thinking about the people who would have made them and about those who would have worn them, and our audience gets a chance to experience that with us. 

As such, the Masquerade is here to encourage creativity in the design, the making and the wearing of costumes and props. There is no minimum level of skill or experience and likewise there is no maximum! 

Masquerades are a traditional part of World Con, and this year is no different, but we will be hosting a virtual event instead.


Anyone with a CoNZealand attending membership can participate. If you need help setting up your physical space and digital recording that is fine, but they can’t be part of the performance.

To compete or not to compete?

The Masquerade is here for all kinds of costuming and performing and so has many divisions to fairly compare entries based on experience and amount of work made by the participants but also has a division called “exhibition” for anyone who does not want to be judged and also for costumes and performances that have previously won major awards.



Costume entries should have some sort of relationship to a general Science Fiction / Fantasy. 

Inspiration does not need to be limited to English language media, nor visual media, nor is it limited to modern media. If in doubt, please email with any questions.

Crossing the streams is encouraged but not required.

Performance rules:

Please note local/regional/state/national/global laws take precedence – there are a number of laws that affect what people are allowed to do in public spaces to keep the public safe..

Keep your performers safe:

Be dramatic, be comedic, but please don’t even pretend to risk you or anyone else in your group. This is still a costume contest! 

Keep your props safe:

Is your prop long enough to enforce physical/social distancing? Could your prop be confused for a real weapon? Could your prop be used as a weapon? If so, do not use it. There are many creative materials to choose from and we are here to encourage creativity!

Keep your costumes safe:

If your costume itself could be used as a weapon please do not use it!   Consider an alternate form which will have a similar effect, but will also be safe.

Keep your space safe:

Leave no evidence of your performance in the venue, only in our memories and recordings.

Keep your crew safe:

Be responsible for all your people and items, in front of the camera and off.

No nudity, this is still a costume contest!

Could your costumes be mistaken for any law enforcement or military uniform? Do not use them. 

No profanity.

Workmanship rules:

Workmanship is about creativity of use of materials, or about attaining exquisite accuracy in recreating or interpreting costume.  As such, workmanship awards are to the person who made the works of art.

Each element you make yourself is a chance to use innovative or established techniques, and our workmanship judges are keen to either see a technique they know or will appreciate learning about a new technique with you. 

We want to know why you made your production choices, so please use our registration form to provide as much detail as you can about your processes. Photos, diagrams, screenshots, written word, all of these can be used – these will be submitted via our digital form.

Design rules:

Design is an art form itself. It is about taking ideas and presenting them in a new configuration.

Design awards will be presented based on interpretation or reimagining, all the way through to complete complex designs.

We want to know why you made design choices so please use our Design And Workmanship Details document to provide as much detail as you can about your processes. Photos, diagrams, screenshots, written word, all of these can be used to tell the story about how your costume was conceived and constructed.

Division Rules:

As the Masquerade is open to all attending members of CoNZealand there will be a wide range of people with very different skills and so we will follow the International Costumers Guild guide to ensure fair judging.

The divisions will be Novice, Journeyman, and Master. In group entries the division to enter is the highest level of any member.

Not everyone will have had a chance to compete in an ICG recognised contest before CoNZealand and so may not know where they fit in this system. There will be space in your registration form.

Novice: is designed for those truly new to competing. 

Journeyman: If you regularly win technical or performance awards and a couple of Best in Show or division (or a 1st placing) this is for you.

Master: If you have won several Best in Show, Best in [category] or 1st, 2nd, 3rd placings, or are a professional, if you are a student of fashion/costuming, or a graduate, or if you have a laurel in costuming in the SCA or you have to enter at this level.

Exhibition: This is for anyone who wishes to not compete for any reason but is the category you must enter for costumes and performances that have previously won major awards.

If you have a lot of experience but no formal training, or recognition in the forms of awards please let us know in your registration form. We can figure out your division together. 

We do recommend a division higher than you might technically meet as these examples are guides.

Solo and Group

These overlap with skill/experience levels. This means if you are in a group you must enter the division that matches your most experienced participant.

Judging and Awards:

This is where all the rules are leading us to!

Awards are given for technical excellence (thus our rules on workmanship!) they are also given for performance (thus our rules for performances!) for design or the accuracy of interpretation of an existing design (thus our rules on design!) and also are based on experience (thus our rules on divisions!) 

The standing awards for Masquerades are Best in Show, Best in Division (Novice, Journeyman, Master) and then technical and performance awards based on what is presented in that particular Masquerade. This could be for wig work, this could be for paint work, this could be for a clever script, a moving performance of any mode.

Going Virtual

Due to the current pandemic and global and local responses to it we are going digital! Both for our event and for all registrations, content, and that means entries.

All of the above rules apply. These are standard health and safety rules.

All entries will be pre-recorded.

You will have 2 minutes for your performance, solo entries included! Technical advice on recording your performance will be coming shortly, but most smartphones will be up to the task for video, more care will be needed for audio so please plan and have a back up accordingly!

You will also have 5 mins for a Q&A that will introduce you to our CoNZealand crew and audience.

We will be streaming the Masquerade as well as have the entries viewable before and after the event, this necessitates changes to what we are able to use for audio in entries. This information will be available soon.

All entries will be screened for any rule breaking or bending.

We will still be judging creativity in scripting, performance, and are trying to find ways to help you record that for our virtual presentation.

This technical guide will include how to get your group together virtually for your presentation/performance. 

Remember Science Fiction predates the Talkies! If all else fails think Silent Era and make use of captioning, editing, and even physical intertitles! 


Our form is still being tested, if you have any questions before, during, and after registering, including any difficulties with the form, please email

Disclaimers and distribution permission information will be included in the form.