Costume Contest Rules


Cosplay Contest Rules:

Updated 7/25/2019

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Cosplay Competition Rules

  • You must be pre-registered with the convention before you register online for the costume contest.
  • NDK weapons policy will be enforced.
  • Cosplay area head has final say!


Costume Requirements

  • Contestants may not enter a costume that has won at a previous NDK, has won two or more awards or has won an award at a larger convention than NDK.
  • No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service: This is the hotel’s policy. Even barefoot characters must have shoes on for the contest. The lack of authenticity will be forgiven.
  • All contestants, male and female, must have a torso covering. This pertains to the chest area, not the stomach.
  • Nudity, even the illusion of such, is strictly forbidden.
  • We are open to all genres! As long the costume follows our convention’s dress code policies and TVPG rating you are allowed to cosplay from any genre or fandom. However! The Best in Show award will only be eligible to costumes of  East Asian origin or sources inspired by East Asian cultures. This honors our nonprofit charter while opening the contest to a much wider spectrum of genres. If you have any questions, please email the Cosplay area head.
  • Street Clothes:Street clothes are defined as any item that has been purchased off the rack. All requirements regarding this are given below in respective categories.
  • Modeled Costumes:Modeled costumes are permitted only with prior consent given directly from the costume maker to the cosplay area head. Any prizes won will go to the creator of the costume, not the model. If you fail to give proper credit, you will be permanently banned from the contest, and possibly the convention.
  • Commissioned Costumes:Must be one-of-a-kind, made for the wearer, and must be entered as a modeled costume. No eBay costumes allowed.
  • Professional Costumer: NDK defines a professional costumer as any person who earns 50%of their income from costuming commissions.


  • There are 60 Competition slots
  • Participants can only sign up for one slot in the contest. Max of 6 participants on each slot.
  • Entry slots are non-transferable.
  • All slots for the contest will be available online. Slots are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. If there are leftover slots, they will be available on site at check-in on Friday evening. No adding more members to a slot after sign up has been achieved. Max of  6 members to each slot.
  • All online entrants must be at check-in on Friday night or Saturday morning. If you do not check in by the end of the check in period, your slot will be given away and you will not be allowed to compete. At check in, all members of an entry must individually sign the NDK Cosplay declaration (legal liability, publicity waiver)


Audio, Performance Times, Scripts and Stage Information

  • The stage is 18×24 with the runway 18×8. The ramp behind the stage is ADA compliant, which is 10×5. All contestants must use the stairs to get off the stage unless your costume is too large for the stairs or you are in need of it for mobility reasons.
  • All Slots Have A Time Beginners get 1:00 minute, Intermediates 1:30 Minutes and Masters get 2:00 minutes. There are only 60 slots. Once filled, a waiting list will be started.
  • NDK’s cosplay contest is rated TVPG (Parental Guidance Suggested): This program contains material that parents may find unsuitable for younger children. Parents may want to watch it with their younger children. The theme itself may call for parental guidance and/or the program contains one or more of the following: moderate violence (V), some sexual situations (S), infrequent coarse language (L), or some suggestive dialogue (D).
  • Any contestants who have music or audio must enter online and must submit any music or audio you want played the same day you fill out the online entry form. No music or audio submissions will be accepted late or on site. All audio submitted for walk-on entries will start when the first contestant steps onto the stage unless otherwise asked for. All audio submitted for skit entries must note visual cue, otherwise audio will begin when first contestant steps onto the stage. Total maximum running time is 45 seconds for walk-ons, and 2 1/2 minutes for skits. This does not include pre-audio set up on stage for skits. Overlong audio will be rejected and entrants will be asked to resubmit. Audio must be 4mb or under in .mp3, .wav or .wmv format.
  • Scripts are due the same day you register, if you are entering for a skit slot scripts are mandatory. If you are entering as a walk-on and are planning on acting out a little scene you will need to send in a little script. The scripts are just to make sure that the TVPG and NDK’s rules are followed. Any stage or light directions for Main Events will not be acknowledged through the script. There is a section on application form listed as any light or stage directions that you must put those instructions for Main Events A&V to be able make it possible for you.
  • All performances must be pre-approved with the submission of both a full script with stage directions and, if applicable, any audio. Significant deviation from approved skit will result in being disqualified.
  • All audio that you want played during your skit must be sent via email or registration form the same day you fill out the online registration form. Your registration will not be complete until you send in your script and your audio!
  • Any stage and light directions for our A&V team must be entered in the slot labeled stage and light directions. This goes straight to the A&V team in Main Events and the cosplay head is not a part of this process of the cosplay competition.
  • If you need help getting on or off stage because of the size or intricacy of the costume you may have one handler with you. They must be pre-approved either online or at check-in on Friday night/Saturday morning. They do not have to be pre-registered for the convention but we will need their full name. Due to space issues children may only have one parent or guardian accompanying them backstage.
  • You may not throw or whip props around. You may not take or use any sort of spray paint, silly string, fireworks, projectiles, water or any other items on stage that could mar the stage or leave a mess. You may not run onstage or run/jump offstage or perform any acrobatics. You may not use signs in costume contest. Doing any of these things will immediately disqualified and you will be held responsible for any and all damages and/or medical bills that may occur as a result.
  • All setup and tear down for performances must be done during your allotted time. Sets, props and scenes must be easy to get on and off the stage. You are only slotted the amount of time for your entry, and any time taken to set up and tear down your set is included in that. NDK Cosplay staff are not allowed to help setup or tear down performances, so please plan accordingly and have cosplay ninjas. All cosplay ninjas must be included in your cosplay competition application.




  • Contestants may sign up for the category they think they belong in. However, the masquerade area head and the craftsmanship judges reserve the right to move contestants into a different category based on the work presented. If you are found intentionally entering a category below your level you may be disqualified from the contest.
  • Contestants in any group may be from different series, games, or musical groups. However, all contestants in a group must be at the same skill level. If there is a member of the group that is at a higher level than other members your group will be bumped up to the appropriate level.



  • There are only 5 slots for Children’s which are all on-site registrations.
  • All children 12 and under are in this category. Children of age 10 or over, who have made their own costumes, may elect to enter in the Beginner category. Any entrants wishing to do so will need to bring their costumes to the craftsmanship judges during Friday check-in time although they are not required to have Craftsmanship Judging.


  • Open to entrants 13 and over who are not a professional costumer and/or who have not won awards.
  • Entrants cannot have more than 50% of their costume be street clothes. Out of that 50%, 25% of the street clothes must be modified.
  • Beginners get 1 minute for their performance and walk on. You do not have to fill the full time, but any audio past that will be cut off right at the minute mark.



  • Open to entrants 13 and over who are not a professional costumer and/or have not won 2 best in show awards, or any master level awards. You may enter at this level even if you have not won any awards before.
  • Entrants cannot have more than 25% of their costume be street clothes and all street clothes used must be modified.
  • Intermediates get a 1 and a half minute for their performance and walk on. You do not have to fill the full time, but any audio past that will be cut off right at the minute and a half mark.



  • Open to entrants 13 and over. Professional costumers would go in this category.
  • Entrants are not allowed to have any street clothes. Any props not made by the contestant must be approved by the cosplay area head.
  • Masters get 2 minutes for their performance and walk on. You do not have to fill the full time, but any audio past that will be cut off right at the two minute mark.



  • Craftsmanship will be on a first come, first serve basis.
  • Master contestants must sign up for a judging time when you sign up for the contest. If you don’t, you’ll be assigned a time, one that might not be convenient for you.
  • Everyone else has the option to sign up for a spot online when the time sheet is released, which will happen as soon as reasonably possible after the conclusion of registration week, August 3rd-10th, 2019.
  • If there any remaining spots after online registration they will be available onsite on Friday night during check-in/sign up.
  • printed copy of Workmanship Judging Questionnaire and portfolio, are to be turned in at craftsmanship judging session. No digital copies at judging allowed. (i.e. no portfolios accepted on cell phones and tablets during judging.) Please pick up your portfolios at the end of the cosplay competition in Green Room. Any left over will be tossed.



  • Best in Show (Only costumes of Asian Origin can win this award)
    • $800 Cash, Trophy, Cosplay judge for 2020, Cosplay Guest Status at NDK 2020 with hotel room and board paid for by NDK.

Best in Performance in the following Categories;

  • Beginner $100 cash, Certificate
  • Intermediate  $150 cash, Certificate
  • Masters $200 cash, Certificate

Best in Craftsmanship in the following Categories:

  • Beginner $100 cash, Certificate
  • Intermediate  $150 cash, Certificate
  • Masters $200 cash, Certificate


Best in Category (Combination of presentation and craftsmanship)

  • Beginner $200 cash, Trophy
  • Intermediate  $300 cash, Trophy
  • Masters $500 cash, Trophy


Specialty Awards

  • SPECIAL FOR 2019!!:  Consul General of Japan’s Award: Trophy, $100 cash
  • Cosplay Area Head Award $100, pass to NDK 2020
  • Best NDK Mascot Award $200, pass to NDK 2020, Photoshoot with NDK Photography Staff.
  • Audience Favorite $100 Cash, Certificate
  • Ringo’s Award $100, pass to NDK 2020
  • Best in Portfolios Award $50, Certificate
  • Best Video Game Award $50, Certificate
  • Cosplay Judges Award $50 each, Certificate

**That’s over $4000 worth of prizes to win!**

Judge’s Awards are awards given out by NDK’s guest judges to their favorite costume or cosplay contestants. These awards go to the costume of each judge’s choosing. There are no contest-mandated criteria for who a judge or specialty award may give an award to.


How to Enter

  1. Online via the NDK website:  All of the entry slots will be available online with the exception of children’s entries. There is room for 60 walk-on entries and 8 skit entries. Please fill out the appropriate form, which will be available August 4th 2019, and submit it.
  2. On site at the hotel:  Any walk-on entry slots not filled by the time online registration ends will be offered on site. Any skit entry slot not filled by the end of the registration period will be turned into a walk-on entry and offered on site. There will be 5 children’s slots available only on-site.


Important Times and Dates

  • Online signup for NDK 2019 is on Sunday August 4th in the late afternoon. Online Signup will close August 10th. Any emails sent prior to the beginning of signup will be deleted and the entrant will need to re-apply. Email confirmation of walk-on entries will be sent within 3 days. Skit entries will be sent after the script and audio recordings have been previewed. If you do not receive an email, please email us!
  • Craftsmanship questionnaires (for those who checked the craftsmanship box on the online form) will be sent out with online registration confirmations.
  • Online registrants must check-in on site. There will be check-in on Friday evening from 6:00pm to to 7:30pm, located in Main Events, and Saturday morning from 9:00am to 10:00am located in the Cosplay Judging room (Gov Square 9). All members of an entry must check in by 10:00am Saturday morning; any entry failing to do so will not compete. Contestants that sign up online and fail to show up for check in, or notify the area head that they do not want the spot before Saturday will not be allowed to sign up for the contest the following year
  • For those who did not get a slot in the contest, a waiting list will be kept with contestant names. If any pre-registered contestant fails to make the 10:00am Saturday deadline, their slot will be offered to those on the waiting list in order. Unclaimed spots will be filled by waitlist contestants between 10am to 11am on Saturday.
  • Available craftsmanship judging times will be determined closer to NDK 2019.
  • Green room is mandatory. Any person who does not go to the final check-in will not go on stage; if you happen to be part of a group, your group will go on without you. Green room information will be given at time of check-in. The Coplay Competition is at 4pm on Saturday, so all participants including cosplay ninjas must be in green room ready to perform by the end of check in. Check In is 2:30 to 3:30pm, if you are not there you will lose your spot and be disqualified.