Welcome to the Norwescon Masquerade!

We would like to invite you to participate in the Norwescon masquerade. The Norwescon masquerade is open to all convention members of all costuming skill levels. You will compete against other contestants at your own level. The masquerade is the highlight of Saturday night at the con. It will be following the International Costumers’ Guild guidelines for guidance and skill levels.


Registration information and any rule updates for the Norwescon 46 masquerade will be posted later this year.

Masquerade Judging

Presentation judging is mandatory. It consists of your presentation on stage. It judges everything from your costume’s appearance on stage, to how you act and move, to your music and voiceovers, etc. The judges will give awards divided by skill levels and excellence of performance within those different skill levels.

Workmanship judging is optional. It takes place in the masquerade backstage area before the show begins. It allows the workmanship judges to consider exceptional accomplishment in crafting costumes, props, and accessories. This is the place where exquisite attention to detail may be recognized. Re-creation costumes (a costume whose design is copied from a film, television show, theatrical presentation, book illustration, comic, work of art, or other medium) must provide color pictures of the original for the workmanship judges. Please bring no more than four pieces of documentation for the judges. Let your Den Parent know if you want your costume and/or props and accessories judged for workmanship.

If a participant is re-creating a costume from media, they must provide a color picture of the original for the workmanship judges’ reference. Additional documentation (aka “workbooks”) of the construction process is strongly recommended, but should not exceed more than three letter-sized pages when printed out. Contestants may drop off documentation during a pre-meeting or bring it with them when checking in backstage. The style/format of the workbook is not one of the criteria in workmanship judging, so there is no need to wrap documentation up in a fancy binder with fancier paper—unless you really want to!

Skill Divisions

Anyone may choose to compete in a higher skill division. Group presentations will be judged based on the highest skill division of the individual members.

Rising Star is for any contestant 13 years of age or younger who is not part of an adult group. Rising Star costumes must be made by the entrant with no more than a minimum amount of supervisory help. An adult-made costume may not be entered in this category and should instead be entered in the appropriate skill division of the adult who made it.

Novice is for any contestant who has not previously won an award for a costume in any masquerade, or who has won a maximum of two awards in the Novice division for different costumes at a world-class convention masquerade such as Worldcon or Costume-Con, or at a regional convention masquerade such as Norwescon or Westercon.

Journeyman is for any contestant who has won a maximum of three awards for different costumes in the Novice division at a world-class or regional convention masquerade.

Master is for any contestant who has won four or more awards for different costumes in the Journeyman or Master division, or who has won one or more Best in Show awards, at a regional or world-class convention masquerade. Professional costumers must enter the Master division.

The masquerade director may change your skill division if needed. If you are still uncertain as to your skill division, please check out this skill division flow chart (235KB .pdf).


These are some of the awards that will be given out. There may be others as the judges wish.

  • Best in Show
  • Best in Show Workmanship
  • Best in Class (Rising Star, Novice, Journeyman, Master)
  • Best Workmanship (Rising Star, Novice, Journeyman, Master)
  • Best Presentation (Rising Star, Novice, Journeyman, Master)
  • Director’s Choice
  • Judge’s Choice
  • Best Use of Theme

Norwescon Masquerade Rules

We expect your behavior and entry to be compliant with Norwescon’s Code of Conduct, Costuming Policy, and other policies, as well as the following masquerade specific rules. Please review these rules carefully. Violation of any rule will disqualify an entry. Please help us make the masquerade safe and enjoyable.

  1. Never surprise the masquerade director.
  2. Solo entries are limited to 30 seconds on stage; groups are limited to 60 seconds.
  3. No jumping off of or throwing things off of the stage.
  4. No cultural appropriation. Cultures are not costumes. Please be sure to read our Costuming Policy.
  5. All weapons must be peace bonded except as needed for stage presentation.
  6. The masquerade is PG-13. Lack of costume is not a costume.
  7. Purchased or rented costumes may not be entered in competition without giving credit to the source. They are not eligible for workmanship judging. All credit must be given for all makeup and costume construction.
  8. Costumes can be no longer than twelve feet, no taller than ten feet, and no wider than six feet.
  9. No messy substances — wet, dry, or oily — that might ruin another contestant’s costume or make the stage dangerous are permitted (this includes loose glitter).
  10. Absolutely no strobing lights or images.
  11. No flash photography is permitted while contestants are on stage or in the backstage area. A designated photo area will be provided for contestant photos after the masquerade.
  12. Last but not least, the Masquerade Director has the final say.


There will be no live sound on the stage available for performances. We strongly encourage you to provide pre-recorded sound. The graphic accompaniment can be a still picture or a video that goes with your entry. You must own the copyright for any pictures or video used. Absolutely no strobing lights or images may be used. This will be checked at rehearsals.

  1. Sound accompaniment should be included with your application. Please provide high quality audio files that are ready to be played as-is, without additional editing. Files from iTunes or Amazon MP3 are acceptable and will meet our technical requirements. If you rip your own music from CD or other sources, please these general guidelines below:
    • MP3: 256k bitrate minimum, 16-bit sampling minimum
    • WAV: 44.1 Khz or 48 Khz, 16-bit per sample, stereo preferred
    • FLAC: Same as WAV
    • Other formats: Use the highest quality settings possible. We can convert most formats if needed. If for some reason we cannot, we will contact you.
  2. Graphic accompaniment (still image or motion video) should be included with your application. Video should be full HD video. Still images should be sized for HD (1920×1080 pixels).
    • Still Images: JPEG, PNG.
    • Video Files: MP4 preferred.

If you have questions please contact us 14 days in advance.

Default Tech

  1. Lights black with spotlight on MC, ninjas set any props.
  2. MC introduces the contestant.
  3. Lights & sound up on the contestant’s entrance: MC reads dialogue if not on accompaniment track.
  4. Sound & lights fade as contestants exits; MC announces contestant info & ninjas strike props.

Masquerade Stage Layout

NWC42 Masquerade Stage Layout


The Masquerade is looking for volunteers!

The volunteers help enable the show to go off without a problem. There is a need for Stage Ninjas (must be 16+ yrs. and dressed in black), Den Parents, Ushers, Door Guards, etc. If you would like to help, please contact our Volunteer department and they will pass your information along to the Masquerade.

Come one, come all! Let us make this one of the best masquerades ever!

Questions or comments? Please contact Special Events through our contact page.

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