Philcon 2014


The name “masquerade” implies a masked ball, and for the first few decades of fandom it was; but at your typical modern science fiction/fantasy convention, it’s a fashion show before an audience. (Many cons hold a costumed dance separately.) Each entry walks on stage, performs a brief skit or simply spins to fully display the costume, and walks off. Entries may be individuals or groups.

What manner of costumes is Philcon looking for? They may be Re-Creation (duplicating a specific, documented image) or Original (your own design). Science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, medieval, anime cosplay, Furry, Renaissance, Regency — if it relates to the any of the convention’s many topics, we’d love to see it. But keep it “PG-13,” please — no flagrant nudity, and mind the adage that “no costume is no costume.”

Take your turn in the spotlight and let the crowd go wild!


How to Register

Masquerade registration will take place at Philcon on Friday and Saturday, through Saturday afternoon. It is located in the ballroom foyer.

Please write legibly on the entry form. With the form, submit any (1) instructions or text for the emcee, (2) music and instructions for the tech crew, and (3) Re-Creation costume documentation for the judges, consisting of printed copies, but not books or videotapes. If a group entry, every member must sign the release form.


Before and After You're On Stage

Be kind to yourself: Get adequate sleep, and remember to eat. You’ll be on stage for only 60 seconds, but may be in the Green Room for up to (but probably less than) four hours.

Rehearse! Although this is a costume competition, not a talent show, you don’t want to bore the audience. Attend the tech rehearsal on Saturday afternoon and let the staff know what you’ll need for a smooth presentation.

When the Green Room opens, a few hours before the masquerade, check in there and let the den mom take care of you and any excess accessories (glasses, bags, cell phones, etc.)

After you present, stick around in the Green Room for the awards–you might be a winner. There will also be a photo opportunity outside.

Smoking is prohibited in all Masquerade areas.

Surprise the audience. Never surprise the Crew!

Each entry is limited to 60 seconds. Each contestant may appear only once on stage, but you may enter multiple costumes — so long as each appears on a different body. Because there are no live mics on stage, use prerecorded music and dialog, or text read by the emcee.


Safety on Stage

We prohibit anything that might endanger entrants, audience, judges or crew, either in the Green Room or on stage. Any exceptions must be cleared in advance by, and only by, the Masquerade Director.

All special effects must be clearly outlined, and receive prior approval by the masquerade staff, for legality and safety. When in doubt, ask the staff.

No fire, flame, or smoking.

No messy substances (wet, dry, oily or otherwise) that might damage another contestant’s costume.

No laser pointers.

Onstage display of weapons requires prior approval of the Masquerade Director, and entrants without clearance will be disqualified. Philcon permits the display of weapons for 30 minutes before and after the masquerade, but at no other times.

Live animals may be used on stage as part of a costume or presentation only with the Directors’ permission. Please keep animals question under control at all times and please “potty” them appropriately before going on stage. Your pets’ safety is our paramount concern.


Music and Voice

There are no mikes on stage, and even if you have opera training, don’t try to project. Instead, all dialog must be read by the emcee or prerecorded. We can handle these audio formats:

  • Audio CD, preferably with the desired soundtrack as the first and only track on the disk.
  • Data CD with .wav or .mp3 files.
  • USB drives with .wav or .mp3 files.

Our tech director, Syd Weinstein, has a vast library available for those of you without your own.


Competition Skill Divisions

The Philcon masquerade uses the following skill divisions so that entrants compete against peers with comparable experience, but you may elect to enter in a higher skill division.

Young Fan (youth): Any contestant 13 years of age or younger, and not part of an adult group.

Novice (beginner): Has not won a masquerade award at a major regional con (Philcon or similar).

Journeyman (intermediate): Has won three (3) or fewer awards for different costumes at major regional cons.

Craftsman/Master (advanced): Has won more than three (3) awards for different costumes at major regional cons, Worldcons, or Costume-Cons; or who has won Best in Show at a Worldcon or Costume-Con. Professional costumers must enter in this division.

Not in competition: If you want to display your ingenuity on stage without competing.


Competition Categories

Original costume: Design is the contestant’s creation, either completely novel or inspired by an SF, fantasy, mythological, or other source.

Re-Creation costume: Design is copied from a film, TV show, theatrical presentation, comic, or other medium with at least one good view.  As duplicates or adaptations of another’s published design work, it is highly recommended that you provide documentation for the judges; this can be as simple as a picture of what you were trying to accomplish.


Workmanship Judging

This is optional, and is conducted in the Green Room before the show. The workmanship judge will consider accomplishment in crafting the costume, including detail not visible on stage. Let your den mom know if you want your costume or a part of it judged for workmanship.

If you’d rather avoid the stage, you can also undergo workmanship judging in isolation.


For the Audience

Please, no flash photography while contestants are on stage; wait for the photo op afterward. Safety is our paramount concern.


Hall Costumes

Philcon encourages the wearing and display of hall costumes (street-legal and conforming to weapons policy, please!) and will have several roaming judges handing out award ribbons in the public areas of the conference. Or, stop by Masquerade Registration in the ball-room foyer and show us your inventiveness!