2016 Cosplay Contest
Rules & FAQ

(For more information please e-mail )




1. Contest will be in two stages. The first is the Pre-Judging, to be held before the catwalk portion of the contest. The second is the catwalk portion of the contest, where everyone gets to show off their costumes to the public and winners will be announced.

2. The judges will all be celebrity or guest judges, to ensure a fair score. A staff member or volunteer will act as judge only in the event that a celebrity or guest judge can not be found.

3. The contest will be organized and run by Fanboy Expo Staff members and volunteers, and judged by guests or celebrities. Staff members have NO CONTROL over who wins.

4. All competitors will be judged on quality and craftsmanship of their costume, as well as how much they are in character.

5. Professional cosplayers will be restricted to the Professional category.

6. A professional cosplayer is considered anyone who either: A) professionally builds costumes, props, or otherwise makes money off manufacturing items for cosplay, B) a person who is paid or invited to appear at conventions as a model, cosplay guest or cosplay celebrity, or C) regularly competes in high level costume contests such as those held at large conventions that focus on craftsmanship.

7. WEAPONS POLICY: All weapons (besides staves) must be non-functioning, and rules are as follows:
Airsoft, or other guns: All guns must have neon orange tape or paint applied to the ends of the barrel, unloaded clips (or no clips!), and must be submitted for weapons check if asked. If weapons are holstered, you may be stopped and asked to inspect them. This is NON NEGOTIABLE.
Whips: Must be carried looped at all times when there are people around. there will be NO Whip-Cracking allowed, especially not around people.
Swords: Must be in sheath, and peace tied. Please do not allow children to swing swords in groups of people.
Staves, spears, lightsabers, axes, anything else. etc: please exercise EXTREME caution in carrying these weapons. IF possible please ensure that spear points are not made of anything overly stabby – foam is preferred.
Silly String: Please do NOT BRING SILLY STRING. Period. Ever. It makes a giant mess.

8. Our categories for competition are tiered. The categories are as follows:

Beginner: This category is for those who have never made a costume before. Costume does not have to be wholly hand made by the competitor, but preference will be given to those who do make their costumes.

Intermediate – At the intermediate level, we are looking for basic cosplay skills such as basic sewing, leatherworking, foam craft, etc. This may be for those who have been cosplaying for a few months or years but have not advanced to an advanced or professional level yet. Costumes must be made or modified by the competitor at least 50%

Advanced: At this level we are looking for advanced crafting techniques, such as mid to advanced sewing skills, detail oriented work, wig styling, and everything else that makes high end cosplay special. Costumes must be made or modified at least 60%

Professional: This level is all about craftsmanship. This is for those who are paid to do what they do, or who regularly compete at costume contests. We are looking for the highest levels of craftsmanship here, and progress photographs too. Be prepared to answer a LOT of questions about your process. Costume must be 70% made by the competitor.

If you have a costume but do not wish to model it yourself, you may bring a model for it. However they must be silent during pre-judging, and you must explain how the costume went together. For Advanced and Pro categories only.

Children: This category is for kids. All costumes are welcome here, both store-bought and hand made, and everything in between.

Groups: This category is for groups of people. All costumes are welcome here, too, however preference will be given to those who made their costumes.

10. Winning & Advancing in competition
You may enter in any category (see the restriction on professional cosplay). However, once you win in a category, you may not compete in that category again, and instead move on to the next level. This is to prevent the same person winning several shows in a row. For example, if you enter in the intermediate category, but do not win, then you may compete again in that category next year. However, if you compete in Intermediate, and you do win, then next year you will be placed in Advanced.

Each category will have 1 (one) winner, with the exception of group. The group prize is to be shared by the group.

11. Judges and staff RESERVE THE RIGHT TO MOVE YOU from category to category if they feel your costume and craftsmanship are of a higher level than the category you have entered.

12. Prizes
Prizes will be announced as they are confirmed by Fanboy Expo Staff.


Pre – Registration is open from now UNTIL October 15, 2015 (for the Knoxville show). After that ALL REGISTRATION WILL BE ON SITE. Staff members are not responsible for obtaining pre-registration information once pre-registration via internet has closed for that particular show. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Pre Registration may be submitted via email with the following information:
Costume Name
Which Show?

Be sure to submit your registration form to or USE THE FORM BELOW:

Registration Confirmation
If you have NOT received a pre-registration confirmation e-mail in response to your pre-reg request, then it has not yet been received by Fanboy Expo Staff. If you have not received a confirmation of pre-registration by October 15, 2015 (for the Knoxville show) then you must re-submit. If your pre-reg doesn’t go through, don’t worry!! Registration will be available on site all day Friday, and Saturday morning right up until the pre-judging starts!

On Site Registration
On site registration will be available all day on Friday during the show, and Saturday morning up until the pre-judging. Please visit the Costume contest Registration table to register on site!

Check In:
Please be sure to check in at the Costume Contest registration table (outside the Pre judging area.) if you have pre-registered. If you do NOT CHECK IN PRIOR TO JUDGING, YOU WILL NOT BE JUDGED. YOU MUST BE PRESENT, AND IN COSTUME AT TIME OF JUDGING. We can register you on site as well if you have not pre-registered.

You MUST be present at the catwalk in order to win and claim your prizes.
If you wish to participate in the catwalk, but do not wish to be part of the costume contest, that is fine too, we welcome ALL cosplayers to come strut their stuff.

If you have any other questions, please send them to


PLEASE PRINT OUT & FILL IN THE FORM AND BRING WITH YOUR TO TURN IN AT THE COSTUME CONTEST REGISTRATION. We will also have some available to fill out at the event as well.