WonderCon Anaheim 2020 Masquerade Call for Contestants

The Annual Costuming/Cosplay Competition!

WonderCon Anaheim 2020 Masquerade Call for Contestants

WCA Masquerade 2019 Best In Show: “Wonder My: A Sailor Moon Musical” Re-creation from the stage musical “Le Mouvement Final: Sera Myu” from Japan, worn and made by the Glitter Guardians, organized by Lunar Lyn. Made with over a year of stage-accurate costume research and materials hunting, with months of patternmaking and costume construction. Photo by K. Green © 2019 SDCC


An especially fun aspect of WonderCon Anaheim that everyone enjoys are the many inventive and impressive costumes that our attendees take the time to create to stroll around in, pose for photos, and at times gather in large groups in the plaza, surrounded by appreciative crowds. Many are re-creations of costumes we all know well, some are fully original in design, and often we see clever new twists on familiar designs, or “mashups” as they are sometimes called, combining two characters or genres into one. Although the art of costuming has been around for thousands of years, there are always new, beautiful, and amazing ways devised to clothe the human form. Costuming plays vital roles in all the other popular arts, in comics, movies, games, musical performances, Broadway shows, and even toy collectibles, creating character, mood, setting and story. On Saturday evening, April 11, on the Arena stage, we celebrate and showcase fan costuming!

The Masquerade (or Cosplay Contest, for those that prefer that term, now in its 17th year, celebrates the imagination and talents of our attendees in an evening of fun, surprises, laughter, and great costumes. If you have something special to share, a re-created costume or one that’s an original design, then why not reserve a contestant spot in our onstage event? You’ll be showcasing your creation to a huge audience on the same Arena stage we use for our top celebrities. And in addition to the applause you’ll receive and smiles you’ll create, you may win a WonderCon Anaheim Masquerade trophy and free badge for next year, or a generous prize sponsored by a participating company or organization. Why do we title this event the Masquerade instead of simply a contest, exhibition or fashion show? Simply put, “to masquerade” means to portray someone other than yourself, and our contestants often bring to the stage as much performance imagination as they do workmanship by portraying characters and creating inventive presentations with drama, humor, a storyline, and sometimes a mock battle.

Not a dance or party as the name might imply, each entry takes the stage for a minute or two, and our giant high-definition video screen and multiple cameras display great close-up views to the audience. Most of the entrants use specially selected music and lighting, and some include elaborate choreography. Most costumes will be impressive re-creations from the genres of comic books, movies, television, anime, fantasy, stage shows, video games, and history; others will be completely original designs from the imagination. Some will be solo entries, others will be groups with a shared theme. All genres are welcome, but costumes must NOT have been purchased or otherwise commercially obtained. It’s a crafting exhibition, not a shopping contest, after all, so they must be of original construction, or have very significant modification of pre-existing items.

WonderCon Anaheim 2020 Masquerade Call for Contestants

WCA 2019 Masquerade Judges’ Choice: “This is Halloween” Original design, worn by Ken Hazlett, Joanne Dragich, Ally Grace, Haley Dunn, Ruzenka di Benedetto, Natalie Lawson, and Bryn Hazleh Lawson. Made by Perdita’s Wardrobe, AllyGrace Cosplay, Rad Geeky Rose, Sunshine Lark, and That Disney Mom. Photo by K. Green © 2019 SDCC


The Masquerade will be held at 8:30 PM on Saturday, April 11, in the Anaheim Convention Center Arena. The event is free to participate in, or to be in the audience; only a WonderCon Anaheim attendee badge valid for Saturday is needed. Doors will open for audience seating at 8:00 PM, and the event will run 2.5 hours. Reserved seating is available for special guests and selected press; please send requests to Audience tickets are not used for this event since our Arena venue has plenty of seating. And of course, while costumes are not required at all for audience members, dressing as someone other than yourself always adds to the fun for the person next to you.

Click here to download complete contestant information, rules, and an advance Entry Form.

A limited number of contestant slots are available, so interested costumers should submit an entry form early as we often fill up before the convention. Photos of the costume or costumes you are entering will also be required for confirmation of eligibility. Entries are now being accepted, and the deadline for submitting an entry form is March 23, 2020, but we often fill up before the deadline. After that date there will be a Waiting List to fill openings from cancellations. You should not wear your costume at WonderCon prior to the show so it will be a surprise for the audience and judges, and so you and it will be fresh and safe from possible wear and tear or even damage in the large and busy Anaheim Convention Center crowds. For safety reasons, contestants must be at least age 10 to be on stage.

No flash photography is allowed at the event, although non-flash photography and video recording is welcome. There will be a flash-allowed posing area with a backdrop in a nearby room where contestants will go after their stage presentations, but photographer spaces are limited, and those wishing access to the Masquerade Photo Area should reserve a spot in advance by emailing Credentialed press wishing front section Arena seating should also write to the Coordinator in advance.

Remember that the Saturday badges are the first to sell out, and you’ll need one to participate in, or just attend, the Masquerade, so purchasing your badge early is wise … WonderCon Anaheim 2020 badge sales will open soon! Our volunteer staff has been running convention Masquerades for 25 years, and we’ll do our best to provide you with a fun experience. For any questions, feel free to write to us at

WonderCon Anaheim 2020 Masquerade Call for Contestants

WCA 2019 Masquerade (left to right): Best Re-Creation: “Caterina Sforza” Re-creation from Trinity Blood anime and manga, worn and made by Nina London Cosplay; Best Original Design: “Fuse Bead Warrior” Original design, worn and made by Amy Spence; Best Young Fan:Beware The Mothman” Original design, worn and made by Sydney Hartstein (age 14). Photos by K. Green © 2019 SDCC

Trophies and Awards:

WonderCon Anaheim Masquerade trophies will be awarded by our panel of judges, assembled from costuming professionals, to the most outstanding entries in categories of Best in Show, Judges’ Choice, Best Re-Creation, Best Original Design, Best Workmanship, Most Humorous, Most Beautiful, Best Presentation, and Best Young Fan.

Winners in these trophy categories will also receive complimentary 3-day badges for WonderCon Anaheim 2021, as an added thank you from WonderCon for all your hard work, talent, and dedication!  If a group entry wins in one of our categories, up to 5 free badges will be bestowed to that group.

In addition to the trophies given by the WonderCon judges, there will be organizations and companies presenting their own generous cash, collectibles, and other prizes to winners their representatives select. Be sure to check back here periodically for updates to the prizes list!

Frank & Son Collectible Show, a bi-weekly mini-con in the City of Industry, California, “The first and last stop for all your collectible needs”, will once again present a generous $500 cash prize to the costume entry their representatives deem to be the audience favorite!