Cosplay Competition & Masquerade Rules

This year’s Cosplay Masquerade will be open to all who wish to enter, with registration being taken online before the show, via the link at the bottom of this page, as well as at the convention on Sunday the 24th of September.

Masquerade entrants have no rules about whether their costume is handmade, and original character or a mash up – with all costumes being welcome.

Please note that Masquerade entrants are not competing and will receive no prizes.

The 2017 Thought Bubble Cosplay Competition is limited to 75 competing entrants. 50 of these spaces are reserved for those who pre-register through the online registration form linked to at the bottom of this page, with the remaining 25 being given on a first-come first-served basis at the Cosplay Area on Saturday the 23rd of September.


All entrants wishing to compete in the following categories must be 16 or over:

All entrants wishing to compete in the following categories must be under 16:

The Following categories are open to all age entrants:

The Costume Competition and Masquerade will both take place on Sunday the 24th of September from 2.45pm in Leeds City Museum, with the competition taking place first, followed by the Masquerade after the Competition entrants have finished performing.

All entrants to the Cosplay Competition and Masquerade are requested to arrive at the venue 30 minutes before the scheduled starting time.

Rules for Entry:

For entries into the Best Armour, Best Tailoring, and Best in Show categories, no off-the-rack (mass made costumes purchased as a finished product from costume/cosplay suppliers) costumes will be permitted.

Costumes made on the entrant’s behalf by a professional seamstress or commissioner may be permitted to enter these categories, provided the name of the commissioner is given to be credited.

Costumes which contain off the shelf clothing items (Shirts, Suits etc.) are permitted, providing that these components either; a) Do not make up more than 50% of the costume, or b) have been significantly altered (alterations to finish of garment, alterations to structure of garment, dye etc).

No original characters or unofficial mash-up characters will be accepted to compete, they are, however, welcome to enter into the Masquerade portion of the show.

For Entry into Best Under 16s, Best Group, and Best Beginner off the rack costumes are permitted, however, home-made or commissioned costumes will receive higher marks as part of the judging process.


For Entries into all categories which are subject to Pre-Judging, reference images must be provided, not providing reference images of your character/costume will result in penalties applied to the entrant’s judging sheet.

Those who are entering into the following categories are expected to be available on Sunday for a mandatory pre-judging, to allow for the judges to better inspect your costumes and ask questions pertaining to construction, time spent etc:

Please note that failure to appear for a pre-judging will result in a penalty being applied to the entrant’s judging sheet.

Entrants who take part in a category that is pre-judged will have their costume inspected by the panel of judges, as well as having questions asked of them about their costume. Questions will pertain to the design process of the costume, techniques used in the creation of the costume as well as general questions surrounding the costume and character. Judges will also be able to give feedback to entrants if requested at this stage.

Pre-Judging will take place in the cosplay area at Carriageworks Theatre, on Millennium Square, Beginning at 10am.

Judging Criteria:

Those competing in a category which has a pre-judging requirement will be judged on a variety of criteria – those criteria are:

The Competition will run akin to a fashion show – all competing entrants will take the stage after being announced by the emcee, when on the stage entrants are encouraged to strike a couple of poses,  make good use of any props their costume has, make use of anything special to their character, and to interact with the audience provided that by doing so, they do not break any of the rules of the competition detailed below.


All props must adhere to the convention’s general cosplay rules, no real weapons will be allowed as part of a costume – this includes live steel, functioning airsoft & BB weapons, functioning NERF weapons, water guns, paintball guns.

The use of Pyrotechnics, Glitter, Water, Confetti or any other gag or gimmick which will result in debris on the stage are not permitted.

Acrobatics are strictly prohibited on stage – any actions which could result in injury to the entrant, judges, stagehands, emcee, or crowd are not allowed.

This is a family friendly show, and as such entrants are expected to conduct themselves appropriately, and in accordance with the convention-wide rules, which are available here.

To pre-register to enter the Competition or Masquerade, please click here.

For any questions that do not apply, please enter ‘N/A’ into the answer field.