Celebrating Costuming in the Popular Arts, and the Creativity of Our Attendees: WonderCon@Home presents its 2021 Virtual Masquerade Costume Competition!

Calling all costumers, this year a page shall be our stage – a webpage that is, a WonderCon@Home Tumblr webpage of costume entries that our virtual attendees can see your Masquerade entry as a series of photos or a video presentation, showcasing your cosplay crafting and presentation talents. We know many of you likely crafted costumes over the past year for fan cons and other events and were extremely disappointed at those cancellations. Our virtual convention is your opportunity to share your costume creations with WonderCon viewers all over the world who love to see great fan-made costumes presented with style, character, and imagination. Awards for entries deemed the most outstanding will be given in several categories.

Your entry can be a solo costume, or a group entry. Each entry is allotted up to 10 photos and/or 1 minute of video time, and groups get 15 seconds additional time for each member in the group (maximum of 2 minutes).  A series of several photos are fine, but for those of you who have a hobby of video production, this is your chance to feed two passions at once. You may even include some of your construction process if you like. Whatever you include should be suitable for all ages of viewers.

The Masquerade website will then go “live” for viewing on the Tumblr publishing platform and social network Saturday, March 27, during WonderCon, and will remain available on-line for a time afterward for everyone to enjoy. Winners will be announced the next day on Tumblr and on the WonderCon@Home website.

As per our decades of previous live events, we anticipate that many entries will be solo costumes; others will be groups with a shared theme. Many will be re-creations from movies, TV, anime films, Broadway shows, computer games, history, and of course comic books, but there will also be completely original designs, some never seen before anywhere. All costume genres are welcome, but no purchased or professionally sourced ones are allowed. Our event is a celebration of imagination, creativity and crafting skills, and fun is the main objective.

Our virtual WonderCon Masquerade is planning for a maximum of 25 entries. You will need to reserve your contestant spot in this year’s virtual show. To apply for a spot please download, fill out and email the Masquerade Entry Form, or make a facsimile of it with your information, along with one or more evaluation photos, to no later than March 17 (the sooner the better). March 17 is the DEADLINE for entries. Your photo(s) need not be the final ones you provide for the Tumblr show and need not show your costume in fully completed form. If we deem after reviewing photos that your costume meets the rules and quality criteria for the event, then you will be notified you are accepted and provided more instructions for creating your Tumblr post.

Selected, confirmed participants must create a Tumblr blog/account (or use an existing account) by the March 17 entry deadline and share the URL with WonderCon. A complete, illustrated, and very friendly Tumblr guide specifically for our Masquerade will be sent to those confirmed for the contest. Uploaded costume videos can be up to but no more than 100MB in size, in MOV or MP4 formats. You can select up to 10 pictures to create a photoset. Each solo entry is allotted up to 10 photos and 1 minute of video time, and groups may have an extra 15 seconds additional video time for each additional member in the group (maximum of 2 minutes).

Accepted contestants will have until March 20 to upload your show-ready photos and/or video to Tumblr. At first this will be only a private “draft post” with Masquerade info shared only with WonderCon. If your draft post is approved, you will be asked to make it a public post no later than March 23.

If you wish you can include music in your video, however while we pay performance fees for copyrighted music heard at our conventions, our licenses do NOT cover Internet use. This means you’ll need to use “free to use” or “public domain” music only – and there are several Internet sites where you can select and download music to accompany your video entry with no royalties or fees involved. Note that some sites grant free use of their music as long as you credit the composer or source in your video, so be sure to credit them or we will not be able to accept your video. Also, some websites claim “royalty free” or “copyright free” music, but charge fees to download them, so avoid those sites, and search for “free to use” or “public domain” as your best chances for selecting music we can use. For those of you musically inclined, feel free to compose your own. Audio elements of your submission may contain narration, music, interviewing and sound effects, but NO copyrighted music (unless it is your own).

Why is it called a Masquerade and not simply a costume contest or fashion show? Because it is more than just posing on stage, it is about capturing the persona of the character, creating moods, and sometimes a sense of story. While most of the convention is about featuring our many attending pros in the popular arts, the Masquerade reminds us that the creative arts reside in ALL of us, and that among our attendees there’s plenty of amazing talents and creativity worth showcasing. More than a few times over the years we have seen our cosplaying contestants go on to professional costuming careers.

Entry Rules:
  1. Costumes must be of original construction or show significant modification of pre-existing materials. No costumes allowed that are purchased or otherwise obtained from a commercial source. The show is about creativity and craftsmanship, not shopping ability. It is expected that some costumes may include as minor elements some purchased items. As a general rule, at least 75% of your costume must not have been purchased. If it could pass for street clothes, it is not a costume. You need not have made the costume yourself, perhaps a friend or family member did, or was a group effort, but it cannot be purchased from a professional maker.

  2. In at least one of your photos, or somewhere in your video if you supply one, there must be seen a physical image of a WonderCon@Home Masquerade logo (on a wall behind you, in your hand, propped on the floor, etc. NOT Photoshopped onto the photo). A downloadable WonderCon@Home Masquerade logo is on this page for your printing use, or you have an artistic flair you may create your own version of it.
  3. Category definitions: Re-Creation: A costume copied from a pre-existing design, such as from a movie, comic book, famous artwork, history, etc. Original: A design original to the maker/wearer.  It may be inspired by some work of fantasy, science fiction, mythology, etc., but is not a copy. You must be at least age 18 to participate in this Internet-based event.
  4.  Due to the limited number of entries that can participate, costumes accepted for the event must have appropriate quality as determined by our evaluation team, and must show a significant amount of one or more of the following: Quality crafting, innovation, originality, beauty, storytelling aspect, and characterization. They may reject an entry for what it deems inappropriate content, or due to too many purchased items, or because the construction materials or techniques used do not meet the criteria of quality for the show, or from reaching the limit for entries.
  5.  Each entry is allotted up to 10 photos and 1 minute of video time, and groups may have an extra 15 seconds additional time for each member in the group (maximum of 2 minutes). 
  6.  Costumes that have appeared in previous WonderCon Masquerades or as “Hall Costumes” at our past cons are not allowed, however, costumes that have participated in the past at other fan conventions are welcome in this event. Note that participating in this virtual Masquerade will not disqualify you from participating on stage at our in-person San Diego Comic-Cons or WonderCons with the very same costume.
  7. Your Masquerade entry cannot also be also entered in the WonderCon@Home Cosplay Challenge photo contest (intended for what is usually seen at the con as walk-around “Hall Costumes”). However, contestants may enter a separate costume(s) into the Cosplay Challenge from their Masquerade costume entry, thereby participating in both events.
  8. You are not required to wear your costume yourself; someone else can present it in the virtual contest.  But if it is worn by someone other than you, that person should not be a paid individual, nor may your soundtrack, narration or costume include content that advertises an actual product, service, or website. Music utilized may NOT be copyrighted material!
  9. Entrants agree to allow San Diego Comic Convention, Inc. (which owns WonderCon) to keep and reuse images that you provide for subsequent promotion of our conventions and other future events and will be asked to sign a release form if accepted for the event.
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Beautiful WonderCon trophies will be mailed to winners after the con, in categories of: Best In Show, Judges’ Choice, Best Re-Creation, Best Original Design, Best Workmanship, Best Presentation, and Most Humorous. We may expand these categories depending on the costumes that are submitted.

Plus! any costumed entry winning one of the above WonderCon award categories will also receive a FREE 3-day membership badge to our 2022 WonderCon, our extra thank-you for all your hard work and talent. Complimentary badges are non-transferable, and if a group wins, up to four free memberships will be given.

The Frank and Son Collectible Show, of the City of Industry, California, your one-stop big mini-con three times a week for all things collectible, will generously present a cash prize of $500 to the WonderCon@Home virtual Masquerade costume entry their representative deems the most impressive!  Frank and Son is happy to support the art of costuming and the creativity and talents of the fans during this challenging year

In addition to the awards listed above, some professional organizations and companies may be participating with their own prizes, watch the WonderCon@Home Masquerade webpage for announcements.