Costume Contest

Costume Contest information

With the exciting return of a full convention this year our costume contest will be returning to our regular format. The costume contest will take place on Sunday, October 30th, 2022.

Registration for the contest will take place on the following days:
FRIDAY: 1:00PM – 5:00PM
SATURDAY: 10:30AM – 4:00PM
SUNDAY: 10:30AM – 12:30PM (This is for presentation only, as workmanship is judged Sunday morning)

Please note that our entries are limited, and spots fill quickly. To ensure you have a spot in the contest it is recommended that you sign up as early as possible!

All medical and non medical masks worn will not have any impact on your judging during workmanship or presentation.


The Costume Contest Team reserves the right to eliminate anyone from competition on the basis of taste, danger to the audience/other contestants or for any other reason deemed sufficient. This includes but is not limited to; Refusing to follow directions, ignoring decisions by the director, staff or volunteers, being flippant or dismissive, poor sportsmanship, and/or attempting to work around the established methods of registration and set rules.

All children 12 years of age or under who wish to enter the Workmanship Competition must enter the Junior Category.

Purchased costumes may only be shown in the Stage Competition category. (See Stage Competition category for details)

No nudity. This is a family friendly event and uncovered genitalia is just as unacceptable during the costume contest as it is at any other time and will result in removal from the convention.

Non-humans will NOT be allowed backstage or onstage. If your costume requires a less human companion (dog, cat, snake, mouse, bird, etc), they must be stuffed or simulated. Exceptions will only be made for non-humans required for assistance by the contestant such as guide/service dogs.

Hal-Con forbids the use of peanut butter as an element of a costume or it’s design.

If your costume has placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in a workmanship category (Novice, Journeyman, Artisan, Master) at Hal-Con or Hal-Con event no part of that winning costume can be reused or repurposed in future competition at Hal-Con or a Hal-Con event in any capacity.

We will not be allowing the use of a microphone.

We will not be able to hold onto any bags or merchandise of any kind during the Costume Contest. Please leave all things that aren’t related to your costume with a friend, or at Coat Check.

Weapons Policy

Weapons that are deemed unfit for Hal-Con, if required for the costume contest, must be kept with security at all times before and after you are on stage. Weapon confiscation at any time during Hal-Con revokes your ability to use it in the costume contest (refer to weapons policy for details). This does not apply to live firearms or any weapon with projectiles which will NEVER be permitted. Further details about our policies can be found on our Policies page.

Stage Competition Overview

Any Hal-Con attendee who wishes to can enter the Stage competition! There are no restrictions other than what is permitted at Hal-Con. For an outline of what those rules are please visit our Policies page.

If your costume is a commission (someone else has made it) it can be entered into the stage competition BUT you must give credit to the person who made the costume at time of registration.

Given our time constraints you must inform the Costume Contest Staff if you intend to do anything other than walk on and off the stage by either contacting them at before the convention or telling us when you register for the competition. Anything done on stage that is not previously approved by Costume Contest Staff will result in disqualification from competition. No alterations to your requests will be permitted after you have registered.

Music: Unfortunately we are no longer accepting music, or sound submissions. We Apologize for any confusion or upset it may cause.

Workmanship Competition Overview

When you register for any category in the Workmanship Competition you will be given an appointment time during your categories given time slot. Report to the -location pending- meet the judge and do a one-on-one with them about your costume. All Workmanship Competition judging takes place between 11am and 3pm on the day of the Costume Contest BUT you are only required to be there during your appointment time which will be less than five minutes. Once your judging is complete you are free to go until it is time to line up for the Stage Competition.

* All Workmanship Competition Contestants must also enter the Stage Competition or they will be disqualified from prizing. If you do not care about prizing do not enter the competition, people who do care deserve the chance to place.

Reference photos (pictures of the character your cosplaying) are required at time of registration. They can be digital or physical.

All Workmanship Competition contestants are required to fill out and bring with them to their judging time a –Highlights Sheet-. Fraudulent information on this sheet will result in immediate removal from competition. You may still be permitted stage time but will not be eligible for a prize or honourable mention.

Purchased costumes may not be entered into the Workmanship Competition. They can only be entered in the Stage Competition.

Below is an outline of what counts as purchased: (we reserve the right to update this as the needed)

  • Mass produced costumes you find in stores.
  • Less than 80% of your costume was made or drastically altered by you. -Diagram- (Coming soon.)
  • Costumes made for business purposes (theatrical and professional) or commissioned costumes (made for you by someone else).
  • Your costume is composed of a compilation of various store finds which have not been sufficiently altered.

Workmanship Competition Categories

The Director and/or the judges reserve the right to promote or demote your category selection to one more fitting of your obvious skill level without consultation.

If you hold Workmanship (or similar) awards for costuming from any other recognized event you cannot enter a category below that level. If you place (1st, 2nd or 3rd) in the same category in the Hal-Con Costume Contest three times you are promoted to the next category level and unable to enter lower.

All children 12 years of age or under must enter the Junior Category.

All professionals must enter the Masters category. Professionals are an individual or individuals who earn 50% or more of their living by costuming.
Purchased costumes can only be entered in the Stage Competition.

All Workmanship Competition Contestants must also enter the Stage Competition or they will be disqualified from prizing.


Any contestant 12 years of age or under at the time of this competition will compete as a junior. The Junior Division of our Workmanship Competition is divided into two subdivisions.

Junior Self-made: A junior contestant who has largely or wholly constructed their own costume.

Junior Adult-Made: A junior contestant whose costume has been largely or wholly constructed by an adult.


* qualifications have changed

Must be 13 years of age or older.

Have no awards for costuming from Hal-Con or other convention/event above Novice.

Displays a basic knowledge of craftsmanship.

Is the only category under which clothes that were purchased can be used as long as they have been altered in a major way. At least 80% of the purchased item(s) must be altered -Diagram- (coming soon)

If your costume is a commission (someone else has made it) it cannot be entered here.


Must be 13 years of age or older.

Can but is not required to have awards in costuming of an equal or lower level.

Displays an average knowledge of craftsmanship.

If your costume is a commission (someone else has made it) it cannot be entered here.


Must be 13 years of age or older.

Can but is not required to have awards in costuming of an equal or lower level

Displays an above average knowledge of craftsmanship

If your costume is a commission (someone else has made it) it cannot be entered here.


Must be 13 years of age or older.

Can but is not required to hold awards in one or all categories.

Displays a professional level of craftsmanship, attention to detail, and performance.

All industry professionals must enter this category. (See definition of “Professionals” above.)

If your costume is a commission (someone else has made it) it cannot be entered here.

Grand Master

Must be 13 years of age or older.

Must hold 3 Masters, Masters equivalent, or higher placement awards to enter this division. This can be at any costume competition, not just Hal-Con. You may be asked to prove this.

Displays a professional level of craftsmanship in multiple mediums, attention to detail, and performance.

If your costume is a commission (someone else has made it) it cannot be entered here.

Note: If you win a workmanship competition award in a category you will no longer be permitted to enter a lower category at Hal-Con. (example: You placed in Journeyman so cannot enter Novice ever again)


This section is an explanation of how the awards are broken up. It has nothing to do with the application process and is informational only. Also, it is subject to change without notice BUT be assured changes will not take place once registration has begun.

Some awards are being sponsored by interested fan groups and Hal-Con Sponsors as well as local groups and businesses. Any questions about the costume contest or to apply to sponsor an award can be addressed to

Stage Awards
Most Stage Awards are created by the judges during the contest to highlight achievement in excellence. The categories they come up with are varied and may not be awarded year after year but there are a few which we strongly suggest to them as long as the minimum number of entries is met.

They are as follows; Group, Skit and/or Presentation, Video Game, Duo, Original Concept, Major Props and Sacred Tradition of the Onesie. The judges also each get to pick a personal favourite based on whatever qualifications they deem fit.

Some examples of awards which have been created in the past are; Look a like, Rockin Retro, Most Accurate, Crowd Pleaser, From a Novel, From a Cartoon, Genderbend, From TV, Horror, Mashup and Tamer of the Tendrils. There is no guarantee any of these will be awarded again, they are listed here only as examples to highlight how varied the stage awards can be.

Workmanship Competition
Because workmanship competition contestants are judged and decided before the stage competition begins we are able to award their prizes at the end of the stage competition in front of everyone. If you are a Workmanship Competition winner you will be notified of your award after you exit the Main Stage Area by a Costume Contest Staff member and we will escort you to the waiting room until it is your time to go back out on stage and receive your award.

A breakdown of what the judges will be looking for in each category can be found here: Judging Breakdown. This breakdown will also be useful in deciding what place you feel you should enter based on the level of your costuming.

Best Of Show
This is awarded to the best performance and display of craftsmanship to an individual or group. Best of show is the highest award given and if won is the only award won that year by those to whom it is awarded. The costume(s) (but not the participants) awarded this level of prestige are eliminated from competition at future Hal-Con events. Best of show draws from all participants in the competition and is not exclusive to workmanship contest contestants or any particular category.

Any questions about the costume contest or to apply to sponsor an award can be addressed to

The 2016 Winners!

The 2017 Winners!

The 2018 Winners!

The 2019 Winners!

The 2021 Winners!