All categories, except Original Design, are judged based on the participant’s skill level. This is broken up into 4 skill divisions.

The following are GUIDELINES to follow when deciding which division to compete in. In order to be fair, we ask cosplayers to account for BOTH awards and skill level (use the number of completed costumes as a guide) when making decisions regarding divisions.

Junior—Solely for participants 15 years of age or younger, regardless of awards or skill level. You may have won any number of awards, made any number of costumes (Craftsmanship). NOTE: An entire group must fit this criteria to compete in the Junior Division.
Novice—Ages 16+; you may have won up to 2 Major Awards or 5 Minor Awards, have possibly made up to 5 costumes (Craftsmanship).
Journeyman—Ages 16+; you may have won 2—4 Major Awards or 5—10 Minor Awards, have possibly made 5—9 costumes (Craftsmanship).
Master—Ages 16+; you may have won 4—6 Major Awards or 10—15 Minor Awards, have possibly made 9—11 costumes (Craftsmanship). NOTE: If you placed as ANYTHING except Honorable Mention at WorldCon or Costume-Con, you MUST compete in the Master Division


A group must compete in the division of the HIGHEST skilled member. (Example: A group of 2 Novices & 1 Journeyman must compete as a group in the Journeyman Division)

You cannot compete in a division lower than you have already won an award in. If you have won Best in Division—Master, you cannot compete as a Journeyman, even if it is your only Major Award.

In the event the Novice or Journeyman skill division contains less than 3 participants, those participants will be moved to compete in the Skill Division 1 step higher and be judged against participants in their adjusted division.

Major Awards are considered Best in Show, Best in Division, or the like.
Minor Awards are considered Honorable Mention, Merit Award, Judge’s Award, or the like.

You should only count awards won in formal convention cosplay competitions. Craftsmanship Awards for the Craftsmanship contest only. Performance Awards for the Performance contest only. Do NOT count Hallway Awards and/or awards won at minor events. (i.e. clubs/organizations, stores, 1-day mini-conventions, etc)

If there are any questions regarding divisions or you cannot decide which division to compete in, please contact the Expo Coordinator.

Below are the Major and Minor Awards that will be presented by Fantasy Forged for the formal cosplay competition at the Cosplay Expo.

Major Awards – Craftsmanship

Best in Division – Junior
Best in Division – Novice
Best in Division – Journeyman
Best in Division – Master
Best in Show – Craftsmanship
Best Original Design

Minor Awards – Craftsmanship

Judge’s Awards
Runner Up – Junior

Runner Up – Novice
Runner Up – Journeyman
Runner Up – Master

Awards presented may vary based on participation in a Category or Division of the Cosplay Competition as determined by the Cosplay Staff at-con.

Links to the forms are available on the event website, forums and the page on Facebook. If links are not working, please email the Expo-Coordinator.

Participants will electronically submit a Cosplay Registration Form. Once a form is received, an email will be sent with a link to available appointment times. After an appointment time has been selected and confirmed, a final email confirming the date, time, and Registration ID will be sent.

In order for appointments to run on time, participants must check in at Cosplay Registration AT LEAST 10 minutes before their appointment block starts. Failure to check in within this time frame will be taken as a forfeit!

Craftsmanship appointments will be scheduled on Saturday.
Craftsmanship Individual entries will have a 5 minute judging period.
Craftsmanship Group entries will have a 10 minute judging period.
Some Reschedules/Changes are allowed during pre-reg, but please don’t abuse this.
After your pre-judging/audition appointment, you will receive your Back Stage Admission for the Expo.

Handlers/Gophers must also come to Cosplay Registration with the participant(s) they are assisting at the time of their appointment to receive their Non-Competing Backstage Admission.

Please email cosplay@FantasyForged.org if you have any questions or issues regarding Cosplay Pre-Registration!

Participants will have a set amount of time to interview with a panel of judges experienced in sewing, wig styling, and prop making. Individual entries will have 5 minutes (4 minute interview & 1 minute deliberation) and Group entries will have 10 minutes (8 minute interview & 2 minute deliberation).

During the interview process, the judges will get close and go over the costume while asking about the crafting process, techniques, and materials used. Participant responses should be as quick and concise as possible so they may cover as much about their costume as they can.

Participants/Models for Craftsmanship MUST be in full costume and are REQUIRED to bring adequate printed reference materials for the judges to hold, review and compare for their pre-judging appointment.

Good references show (at the very least) the front and back, but side views are highly recommended as well. They may also have close ups of details and props. Examples of references include: screen captures, DVD covers, art books, PVC figurines, magazine articles, manga, colored printouts, etc. No outlets will be available for laptops and no computers be provided. Please come prepared. Lack of reference material WILL result in a score of 0 in the “Presentation” judging area.

Once time is called for the interview process, participants must promptly leave the judging area for the judges to deliberate your final score in private.

Rehearsal will take place 1 hours before the Expo is scheduled to begin. This time allows for participants to go through a dry run on stage for the final show.

Craftsmanship Call is mandatory for participants to be seated and placed in their walking order for the Cosplay Expo.

Entrants failing to arrive will NOT participate in the Expo and will be DISQUALIFIED.

Participants will be announced in an order decided by the category and skill division they had entered in (Character Cosplay: Junior, Novice, Journeyman, Master, Original Design, Non-competing Walk-on Exhibitions). Moving from one side of the stage to the other, participants will have the opportunity to pose for photo ops taken by attendees in the audience. These poses will consist of two 2-second poses at Stage Right and Stage Left, and one 5-second pose standing Center Stage.

Judge introductions and awards will conclude the Cosplay Expo. Winning participants will make their way on stage to accept their awards, certificates, and poses for photo ops.