Norwescon 27
April 8 - 11, 2004
DoubleTree Seattle Airport, SeaTac, Washington

Masquerade Entry Form (pdf format)

Ok, I know you’re out there. I see you in the halls walking around in fantastic costumes that just scream to be shown on stage. I invite you to enter (or even just help out) at the Norwescon 27 Masquerade and explore the fun and magic of our event. We have surprises to tempt you to join us in showing off your skills and talents, either on stage or behind the scene, and we are working to make the registration and entry process smoother and less time-consuming than ever before. (We won’t eat up your whole day on Saturday; we do ask you to attend an orientation meeting, and you choose which you would like to go to—Friday evening or Saturday morning—if you can’t make either, we can work that out, too.)

Once again, your guide on this celebration of creativity will be Vicki Glover, longtime Northwest costumer and Grand Pooh-Bah of the Beyond Reality Costumer’s Guild ( ), who has known the joys of working on and off stage in the theatre and other masquerades. With the assistance of helpful fen and experienced costumers we hope to have you join us in our costumer-friendly event.

First off, we will again have actual prizes, in addition to some pretty nifty awards. (And yes, we are not above accepting prize donations; if you have anything you would like to donate, or know of someone or a business who would like to make this a special event, please let the Masquerade Director know. The donor will get credit during the award presentations and in any publications we can get it in.) There will also be bribes—er, special tokens and gifts for everyone who enters or helps out. We will be showing the awards and prizes at the Masquerade Table in the convention lobby, where you can also register, volunteer, and ask questions of the Director or her minions from Thursday evening to Saturday morning.

Secondly, we will again have double Best in Show awards. Because many of you newer or solitary costumers may be wary of competing against group entries, we will be having awards for Best in Show: Single Costume and Best in Show: Group. There will also be a special prize for the presentation that best evokes the theme of this year’s convention, “Putting the Science in Science Fiction”. This is in addition to the usual Best in Class and Judge’s Awards, in both Presentation and Workmanship. And if you don’t like to compete, you can enter as a non-competition entry. As part of this category, we also welcome you to show off your costumes which have won at world-class competitions (Worldcon or CostumeCon) or which you have shown at Norwescons past.

We are basing the skill divisions on the guidelines of the International Costumers Guild ( The divisions are:

Rising Star is for our younger costumers age 15 and under, if not part of an adult group. The costume should be made by the entrant with no more than a minimum amount of supervisory help. An adult-made costume should not be entered in this category and should instead be entered in the appropriate skill level of the adult.

Novice is for anyone who has not previously won at a world-class competition and who has won at no more than 2 Novice Best in Class or Best of Show awards at a regional competition such as Norwescon or Westercon.

Journeyman is for anyone who no longer qualifies as a Novice, and has not yet won 3 Journeyman Best in Class or Best of Show awards at regional or world-class competitions.

Master is for anyone who does not qualify as a Novice or Journeyman, or anyone who is a professional costumer.

Anyone may choose to compete in a higher division. Group presentations will be judged based on the highest skill division of the individual members. If you have any doubt on which level to compete, the Masquerade Director (M.D.) will help you.

To make the Masquerade safe and fair, and because experience is a harsh teacher, we have these rules:

  1. You must have a membership to Norwescon to enter.
  2. No purchased, rented, or commercial costumes can be entered as a competing entry. All credit must be given for all make-up and costume design and construction.
  3. No pyrotechnics, fog machines, wind machines, Jacob’s Ladders, or Oscillation Overthrusters. Any special effects must be approved by the M.D.
  4. No real projectile weapons. Realistic-looking weapons must be handled with care, and any weapons play must be approved of by the M.D. Weapons will not be pointed at the Judges.
  5. Also known as the “No Peanut Butter” rule (and yes, it was named that for a reason). No messy substances. That is nothing that will ruin another costume or make the floor sticky, gritty, slippery, slimy, bumpy, lumpy, scorched, toxic, or non-existent.
  6. Also known as the “No Costume is No Costume” rule (and yes, this one was also named that for a reason). This is a PG-13 venue and a masquerade, folks, not a Halloween bar contest.
  7. No flash photography of contestants onstage. Photographers, please, offstage, ask before using a flash—there may be photo-sensitive folk around you.
  8. All entrants must sign a release allowing videotaping and/or photography by the convention for record keeping and sale, and also a limited liability release. Rest assured, we will place your safety and well-being above all else.
  9. Presentation time limits: 1 minute for a presentation of 1-4 people, 2 minutes if you have 5-8, 3 minutes for 9 or more.
  10. Remember that 1 minute is a long time on stage.
  11. No live mikes. If your presentation includes dialogue, please add it to you soundtrack tape/CD.
  12. No live animals unless ADA certified.
  13. The most important rule (besides the rule of Having Fun): The Masquerade Director has the final say.

Other stuff you should know.

The stage is 18 feet wide by 16 feet wide with a 16 foot long by 8 foot wide exit runway down the center. There are 3 steps up, which are 3 feet wide with no rail. Each step is 12 inches deep, with a rise of 8 inches, which lead to a waiting platform, and then another step up. The background curtains are black, and there will be a safety rail behind them. There is a 12 foot clearance from the stage floor to the ceiling, but keep in mind the ballroom doors are only 6 feet high. There will be a follow spotlight and professional-quality lighting, and there will be a live video feed to the backstage area.

We plan on again videotaping the Masquerade, and having videos/DVDs available for ordering at the con.


Our Wizard of Sound, Keith Johnson, highly recommends music for every presentation! We plan to have a stereo sound feed to the video, and encourage the use of stereo music. We can take CDs and cassettes, if you use these helpful hints:

—For tapes: We prefer not to use commercially-made tapes. To record your own, use a fresh, clean tape of the highest quality you can; Chrome or Metal tape is encouraged, and if possible use noise reduction—we are Dolby B, C, S and DBX compatible (and note on the label which it is—if your tape deck has only a Dolby or NR switch, it is Dolby B). Please don’t record at the very beginning of the tape—leave a 30 to 45 second gap before your soundtrack begins, it helps if you record your soundtrack on both sides.

—For CDs: We can use commercially-made CDs, but cannot cue from within a track, so label it with the correct track number you want played. If you record a CD use a standard audio CD, start your soundtrack at the beginning of the CD and burn only one track.

Whether you are using a CD or a tape, it’s a good idea to have at least one backup copy, and please make sure to label your soundtrack clearly with your name and your entry title, and, if you’re recording from a CD, please bring it as well; we may want to use it.

We regret that we will not be able to make tapes for you at the con, however, Keith is offering, prior to the convention, a free taping service for anyone who would like help creating a high-quality tape for that high-quality costume. Give him a call at (253) 839-7033 (until 9 pm Pacific time).

Entry forms and updates are on the Norwescon website, or you can call (206) 297-0954 or e-mail the Masquerade Director if you have any questions, concerns, or offers to help, need forms mailed to you, or need words of encouragement or advice. We look forward to having you join us in the celebration of creativity and community that is the Norwescon Masquerade. masquerade at