Entries received after 5pm on October 1st will NOT be accepted.

If you want to enter the Cosplay Contest,

please read the rules First!

"Da Rules" ACA Cosplay Contests 2020

Section I: General Competition Rules (for ALL ENTRANTS):

  •    All competition entrants must have a valid AnimeConArkansas badge.  By entering this contest you agree to read and abide by all rules as posted.  Failure to do so will result in your disqualification from the contest and/or removal from the event. 

  •    Cosplay is a PG-13 event.  Appropriateness is left to the discretion of the Cosplay Chair and Cosplay Staff. Be clever, not crass. All costumes must provide as much body coverage as a 2-piece bikini for women, or boxer briefs for men. Body paint, latex pasties, thongs, etc. are not considered adequate body coverage on their own.  Proper underwear and/or supportive garments must be worn under revealing or skin-tight costumes.

  •    Entrants must exhibit good sportsmanship and remain professional at all times. Rude behavior, offensive remarks, sexual humor or insults at any time toward staff, judges, or other entrants may be considered grounds for disqualification.

  •    Contestants may not enter a previous winning costume or skit from ACA or any other convention where a Major Award was received (A Major Award is 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Best in Show, Best in Division, Best Performance or Craftsmanship etc).  This rule may be waived for Minor Awards; check with the Cosplay Chair at signups if you are uncertain if your cosplay qualifies.

  •    All contestants must attend the MANDATORY backstage Preshow Meeting Saturday night 5p – 6p If you have a group, all members must attend. If you do not come to this meeting, you will not go on stage.  

  •    Runway music for Saturday night will be provided for contestants and Skits (without their own audio).

  •    The hotel requires attendees wear shirt and shoes at all times unless you’re in the pool area.

  •    Current members of ACA Staff and volunteers are ineligible for awards, but are welcome to enter as non-competitors for the Saturday night event.  You will still be required to attend the 5p – 6p meeting in the pool staging area, or you will not be permitted to go on stage.

  •    Cosplay Staff reserve the right to disqualify anyone for any logical reason.  If you have any questions about “Da Rules” contact steamrocketcosplay@gmail.com


   Please notify the Chair immediately if you need to withdraw your entry so we can give that slot to another cosplayer! 

   Please understand that entry into the contest is a time commitment.  Craftsmanship contestants are not required to walk the runway, only Exhibition and Skits.  Craftsmanship contestants are only required to commit a 5-minute judging window either Friday night (6:15p - 8:15p) or Saturday (12:30p – 3p).

   That being said, we would encourage all contestants to walk the runway and show off their hard work.  Exhibition & Skit contestants are required to commit Saturday evening (5p – 8p).  Craftsmanship contestants, if you choose to walk the runway, you’ll also need to commit Saturday evening (5p – 8p).


Rules for stage areas:

  • Microphones may not be used by the contestants at any time.

  • No climbing or leaping on or off of the stage. 

  • No throwing objects on stage or into the audience.

  • No messy substances (e.g. confetti, glitter, flower petals, water). 

  • No pyrotechnics or special effects (e.g. fireworks, flash paper, smoke machines).

  • Everything brought onto the stage must be removed. 

  • Non-firing toy weapons will be allowed on-stage without peace bonding, but any live weapons will result in immediate removal from the stage. 

  • All stage fighting or acrobatics must be limited to half speed and quarter strength. One foot must remain on the floor at all times. 

Important Times:
All cosplay competitors must sign up either online or onsite.  Check-in is also required during designated times.  

  • Pre-Registration will be available online from March 1 until March 31.  All pre-registered contestants must check-in with Cosplay HQ Friday evening or Saturday morning.  

  • The remaining slots will be available at the cosplay check-in desk located in Cosplay HQ, Friday from 4:00p – 10:00p and Saturday 9:30a – 12:00p noon. No registrations will be accepted after noon Saturday.   

  • Friday night: 4:00p – 10:00p Check-in for pre-registered entries / on-site registration / Cosplay Pokecenter /  Craftsmanship judging appointments (6:15p – 8:15p).

  • Saturday morning: 9:30a – 12:00p Check-in for pre-registered entries / on-site registration if slots remain / Cosplay Pokecenter 

  • Saturday afternoon: 12:30p – 4:30p Cosplay Pokecenter / Craftsmanship judging appointments (12:30p - 3:00p).

  • Saturday evening: 5:00p – 6:00p MANDATORY backstage preshow meeting in the hallway to the pool.  If you do not come to this meeting, you will not go on stage.

  • Saturday evening: 6:00p – 8:00p The Contest starts at 6:00 p.m. with exhibition then skits then craftsmanship.  The judges will be excused to deliberate while craftsmanship contestants are on stage.  Awards will be presented afterward.

Section II: Categories and Awards:

  • The Cosplay Contest has three categories: Craftsmanship, Exhibition, & Skit.  Participants may enter either Craftsmanship, Exhibition or Skit.  There are 25 Craftsmanship, 50 exhibition, and 10 skit entry slots.  All entries are accepted on a first come, first-serve basis.  

  Craftsmanship Category:  

  • This Contest is about a participant’s ability to recreate a character through their craftsmanship.  As such, participants do not have to act “in character.”  The Judges will be interested in knowing how well the costume was made.  Entries are open to all genres including, but not limited to anime, video games, manga etc.  You MUST pre-register to compete and March 31 is the Deadline.  If you miss the deadline, we may have a few on-site registration slots available (check with Cosplay HQ). Judging will take place during the following times:

Friday from 6:15pm to 8:15pm 
Saturday from 12:30pm – 3:00pm

When filling out the entry form, you must choose a 30 minute window for your judging.  If your first choice is full, you will be asked to choose another.  Each entrant will have 5 minutes to present your costumes; groups of will be allowed 8 minutes.  Entrants that go over their time limit may be disqualified.  Entrants (individual or group) who do not come to craftsmanship judging will not be eligible to receive craftsmanship awards.  

  •    It is expected that participants are the primary creator of the costume and make least 75% of it (i.e. you made the dress, wig, and prop, but purchased your shoes). Costume elements that were purchased or commissioned must be disclosed and will not count towards your final score.  Judges will review borderline costumes on a case-by-case basis.

  •    If someone else made your costume, the creator must be present to explain their work. The creator(s) name must be disclosed in the Registration packet and only the creator will be eligible for awards.  Commissioned costumes without the creator present to speak with the judges are only allowed to enter the exhibition or skit competitions.

  •    References and In-Progress pictures – It is to your benefit to bring PRINTED reference images to the judging.  Even if a character is popular or well-known, reference material is needed in order to judge for accuracy.  Examples; color printouts of screencaps, official images or artbook images which show front, back, and sides.  Lack of reference material may affect scoring, as the judges may not be as familiar with your character as you are.  Progress pictures enhance your narrative regarding the costumes construction.  

  •    Judging – Entrants will be judged according to skill level in the areas of Workmanship, Authenticity, Complexity, and General Appearance.  Groups will be considered as a single entry, and should choose the highest ranked division member of the group.  For example: a group containing 1 Novice, 3 Journeyman, and 1 Master, will be required to participate at the Master level. 

Novice:  This division is intended for those with little or no prior experience in making costumes, and no formal training in costume or fashion.  Contestants must not have won more than one award of any level in any previous cosplay convention.  

Journeyman:  This division is intended for people with some to moderate experience making costumes, may have some formal training in costumes/fashion or who have competed previously and won more than one award.  Contestants must not have won more than five minor or three major awards in any costume or cosplay competition. 

Masters:  This division is intended for people with extensive experience making costumes, advanced formal training in costuming or fashion, or those who have won several costuming awards. Contestants will have received four or more Major Awards in any costume or cosplay competition.  

For Division Placement Purposes: Major awards are 1st-3rd places, Best in Division, Best in Show, Best Performance or Craftsmanship, etc.  Minor Awards include Honorable Mentions, Judges’ Awards, and similar forms of recognition. 


A competitor may choose to compete in a division higher than the one they are eligible to enter. However, if the competitor receives an award in this higher division, they must continue to compete in that division (or higher) in future competitions.  In all cases, these categories are guidelines and if the Cosplay Chair or a judge feels that you should be placed in a higher division based off the craftsmanship and presentation of your costume, your entry may be bumped to that higher division.​

 Exhibition & Skit Categories:

  • Purchased, commissioned, or handmade cosplay may compete in these categories.  All contestants must attend the 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. MANDATORY backstage preshow meeting in the hallway to the pool.  

  • Judging – Will be Saturday from 6:00p – 8:00p on the Main Stage. 

  • Exhibition contestants have 30 seconds to walk the runway-groups have 45 seconds- to demonstrate how well you personify your character(s) in looks, presentation etc. 

  • Skits have up to 3 minutes for their presentation.  Skits are judged on their storytelling, acting, memorization, and presentation.  They may be funny, dramatic, or a little bit of both.  This IS NOT a lip-sync battle or dance competition, so make sure you have more to your skit than just those elements!  Audio – Background music/audio must be submitted at time of check in/sign up or you will not be able to use it.  Acceptable formats are .mp3 or.wav on pre-recorded CD, or a flash drive with no other music or files.  Inability to present in this format means we cannot promise it will play on our system. Audio from phones, websites (like YouTube), and other formats will not be allowed.  Microphones – Their use must be requested when you sign up.


  Groups will be considered as a single entry, combining all awards won by its participants.  

  • Best in Show: This is given to the contestant or group that has shown an overall exceptional degree of craftsmanship, execution and/or performance.  This award may be given to any contestant in the craftsmanship or Exhibition Divisions. 

  • Craftsmanship:

    • Best in Division – Given to the contestant or group who has shown an exceptional degree of craftsmanship and quality of construction in their cosplay for their particular Division.

    • Second Place in Division 

    • Third Place in Division

  • Exhibition/Skit: 

    • Best Exhibition – Given to the contestant or group which best personifies the character both in their costume(s) and presentation.​

    • Second Place – Exhibition

    • Third Place – Exhibition

    • Winning Skit: Will be given to the individual or group that shows outstanding acting, memorization, representation and how well they tell a story.

    • Judges’ Choice Awards (4): Each judge may grant an award to an entry of their choosing.

    • Youth Award: Best Up and Coming Cosplayer.

  Now that you've read Da Rules, registration opens September 1. 



Craftsmanship form available - Sept 1
Exhibition or Skit form available - Sept 1