NEW! Cosplay/Costume Contest

Photo of Jess as Ruvick from The Evil WithinCosplay/costuming has come to Confluence!


  • Four judges: Karen Schnaubelt, Brigitte Byrne, DarkGeekLord and Lisa Ashton.
  • Pre-judging Saturday afternoon
  • Masquerade Saturday evening at 8pm
  • Two gift basket prizes, one for Best in Show Presentation, one for Best in Show Workmanship
  • Certificates
  • Two categories: Individual and Group

Application form

General Costume Rules

  1. Costumes must be family friendly. Nudity (or suggested nudity, such as form fitting latex or body paint), obscene language, and offensive religious or political statements are all prohibited.
  2. Costumes must be self-contained. No unsealed body paint, wet paint, or other items that could leave a trace behind are permitted.
  3. Props must abide by the Confluence Weapon policy.
  4. Costumers are not required to participate in the contest, but we recommend you give it a try!
  5. Staff reserves the right to modify these rules as needed. All staff decisions are final.

Contest Rules

  1. All contestants must have a valid 2017 Confluence pass.
  2. Contestants can only enter in one category, Individual or Group.  Only one costume is permitted per entrant.
  3. What comes on stage with you must leave the stage with you–no glitter, smoke bombs, projectiles, etc. You may not enter or leave the stage at any place other than designated spots.
  4. All applications must be submitted before the contest. Judging will be done pre-showing, off stage.
  5. If you are recreating a costume from a media source such as a movie, anime, game or book, etc., you are strongly encouraged to bring reference materials to be turned in with your application. Not only does it prove your accuracy, but if the judge is not familiar with the source, it may be the only way to judge its veracity. While this is not required, you may not be judged for accuracy without it. Good reference materials include character design sheets, promotional material, screenshots, or quoted written descriptions from canon sources.
  6. Contestants will be judged according to their costume’s resemblance to the character or source it is based on, representation of their costume, and craftsmanship skill.
  7. Costumes can be handmade or store bought but put together in a unique way (i.e., items purchased separately but embellished and/or altered for the purpose of the particular costume).  The greater the handmade workmanship or alteration, the better! If the costume was created by someone else, they must be credited. We’d prefer if they attended as well!
  8. Confluence will not be able to provide ‘handlers’ for unwieldy costumes.
  9. All contestants 13 and under must have a parent or guardian present.
  10. Each entry is only allowed one walk-on or skit (3 minutes or under.) This may include 1-3 minute walk-ons, character scene re-enactments, and skit.
  11. Skits must maintain a family-friendly level. Skits containing obscene language, overtly sexual behavior, and offensive religious or political statements are all prohibited.
  12. Ribbons and certificates will be awarded to winners. Further prizes are TBA!

Our Judges

Karen Schnaubelt, master level costumer and founder of Costume-Con

Karen Schnaubelt has been costuming since 1973, doing both media re-creations and her own original designs, and has won major awards at every level of competition in 5 different decades. Her work appears in the Star Fleet Technical Manual, The Costume-Maker’s Art, and Cosplay World. She is cited in Watching Anime, Reading Manga as one of the earliest anime-based cosplayers in the U.S. She is the founding chairperson and service mark owner of Costume-Con®, now in its 35th year. She is a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient from the International Costumer’s Guild for service to the costuming community. She is best known for attention to detail, impeccable workmanship, and building a full character, not just a costume.

See more of Karen’s costumes

Brigitte Byrne of Blue Nova Cosplay

Brigitte Byrne of Blue Nova Cosplay has been attending conventions for over 10 years, attending cons on both the east and west coasts. She has passions for gaming, sewing, and dress-up, which was the perfect storm to be an introduction to the craft. Each new costume continues to be an exciting learning experience, despite the blood, sweat, tears, a lot of swearing, and plenty of laughs.

See more of Brigitte’s costumes

DarkGeekLord (Tom Higgs) of Cosplay Kitchen

The Darkgeeklord (Tom Higgs) is a 16 year veteran of the cosplay community and an accomplished and award winning costumer in his own right. He has judged and run numerous Masquerades, coordinated competitions of all kinds and hosted a variety of panels. Tom has been featured on NPR, Whirl Magazine, Pittsburgh Magazine, and the Character Reveal podcast. He also volunteers his time as a part time superhero for sick children.

See more of the DarkGeekLord’s photos

Lisa Ashton, master-level costumer

Lisa Ashton is a master-level costumer currently living in Harpers Ferry, WV. She began with SF and Fantasy costumes in 1989 and tries to keep moving with new experiments. Recent costumes include “Before the Bustle” at CC35, and being part of a group entry “Disney in a Nutshell”, also at CC35 (April 2017 in Toronto), “The Three-Fold Goddess” at Arisia 2017, and being a Tequila Sunrise in a group entry called “Intermission” which won BIS at Balticon 2016. She loves beadwork and layers of embellishment, and costumes that tell a story. About twelve years ago, she did her first serious historical costume of her great-grandmother’s wedding dress from 1896, and became hooked on Victorian dress, going on to found Miss Lizzy’s Traveling Historical Fashion Show, which is now a Special Interest Group of the International Costumer’s Guild. She writes articles regularly for the Virtual Costumer. In 2016 she was awarded the ICG Lifetime Achievement Award at CC34 in Madison, WI. She is passionate about beadwork, quilting and old-fashioned workmanship as well as all things Victorian. She would LOVE to share a cup of coffee with you and sit and talk about beading, quilting and Victorian dress.

See more of Lisa’s costumes

Comments are closed