Masquerade - Rules

If you are thinking about participating in the Renovation Masquerade, please start by reading our Masquerade Rules. This document includes an introduction from Kevin Roche and Andy Trembley, our Masquerade Directors, along with information on divisional placement, entry rules and useful hints and suggestions.

We have provided the Rules in two formats, for your convenience (identical information is provided in each version):

  • As a PDF (best for printing) - available by clicking the icon below.
  • As a web page - just keep on reading this page.

Basic Information:

Welcome to the Renovation Masquerade. We’re your competition directors, Andy Trembley and Kevin Roche. We’re San Francisco Bay Area fans and costumers who have been competing in and running masquerades at many different levels for many years.

We’ve got 3 main sections here… The first explains how division placement works. The second is the rules (i.e. the things that can get you disqualified). The third is the basic briefing of what you’ve got to work with. There’s also a fourth section for your perusal, the instruction the judges will be receiving.

You have the option of entering in competition, or entering as an exhibition entry. Exhibition entries are not subject to any judging and are not eligible for award. Entries in competition will be evaluated by a “Presentation” judging panel as they appear on stage. Entries in competition also have the option of close-up evaluation by a “Workmanship” judging panel.

“Presentation” and “Workmanship” judging are entirely separate. Each panel selects and gives its own awards. The decisions and deliberations of the “Workmanship” panel have no influence on the “Presentation” panel and vice-versa. “Workmanship” judging is not required.

Please remember, this competition is not all about you. It is all about you and your fellow competitors. By respecting the rules and procedures of this competition, you help ensure that your fellow competitors get a fair shake.

These rules may be updated before the convention.

Update August 4, 2011: Here is the basic schedule for masquerade contestants:

  • Required: Check in with Masquerade Desk (in the RSCC lobby) Wednesday and Thursday to submit your entry forms (or review them, if you entered online) and make a Tech Rehearsal appointment.
  • If this is your first Worldcon Masquerade, we recommend you attend the What to expect as a Masquerade Contestant panel on Thursday, at 1:00 PM in room A10 at the RSCC. (It may be useful even if this is not your first masquerade!)
  • If you need space to work on your blocking (rehearsing the basic movements of your entry/group), we have a space set aside for doing so. Ask at the desk how and where to use it.
  • Required: Attend the Masquerade Participant meeting at 11:00AM on Friday in the Tuscany Ballroom at the Peppermill
  • Required: Don't miss your tech rehearsal on Friday Afternoon. While you don't have to be in full costume, be sure to bring any problematic pieces (props, shoes, anything you will be manipulating on stage) for rehearsal. Bringing (if not wearing) costume parts that show the major color components of your costume is also wise.
  • The Green Room at the Peppermill opens at 5:30PM. Check in and get your official photos taken. This is also where workmanship judging takes place. Contestants should be checked in no later than 7:00PM if they are not being judged for workmanship. (Note: these times may be adjusted based on the number of entries).
  • The show begins promptly at 8:00PM on Friday. After everyone has crossed the stage, there will be a half-time entertainment which you are welcome to enjoy, followed by presentation of the awards.
  • In the event the judges take more than 45 minutes to deliberate, we may release you all and announce the awards in the convention newsletter, so everyone will be free to attend the dances and parties.

If you have any questions, please email them to us at

WelcomeDivision PlacementPresentation RulesHintsJudges' Instructions

Division Placement:


  • Any contestant may enter in the Master division.


  • Professional costumers may not enter in the Journeyman division
  • A contestant who has competed and won in the Master division at an international competition may not enter in the Journeyman division
  • A contestant who has won "Best in Show" or "Best Journeyman" at an international competition may not enter in the Journeyman division
  • A contestant who has won more than three major awards in the Journeyman division in international competition may not enter in the Journeyman division.


  • Professional costumers may not enter in the Novice division
  • A contestant who has competed and won in the Journeyman or the Master division at an international competition may not enter in the Novice division
  • A contestant who has won "Best in Show" or "Best Novice" at an international competition may not enter in the Novice division
  • A contestant who has won more than two major awards in the Novice division at international competitions may not enter in the Novice division.

Young Fan:

  • The Young Fan division is only open to competitors under the age of 15 who have participated in the design and construction of their costumes
  • If a costume is entirely adult-designed and adult-constructed, it may not be entered in the Young Fan division.


  • The exhibition division is a presentation-only division. Exhibition entries are not judged, nor are they eligible for any award
  • Entries that have already won awards at other conventions and have not been significantly modified may enter in the Exhibition division.


  • International: International competitions include, but are not limited to, the masquerades at Worldcon and Costume-Con.
  • Professional: Any person who made more than 1/2 of his or her annual income from costuming in any of the last 5 years qualifies as a "professional."
  • Major Award: Any award that is not qualified by “Honorable Mention”.

Any competitor may enter in a more advanced division than he or she is placed. If you need advice on the appropriate division in which to enter, contact the masquerade directors.

WelcomeDivision PlacementPresentation RulesHintsJudges' Instructions

The Rules:

If you violate any of these rules, you may be disqualified and dropped from the competition.

  1. All contestants must be attending members of Renovation, the 2011 Worldcon. If the maker and presenter are different people, both must be attending members.
  2. Purchased and rented costumes may not be entered.
  3. A costume may not be entered in competition if it has won "Best in Show" or "Best in Division" at another international competition. It may be entered in the Exhibition division (not in competition).
  4. Each presenter may only appear on stage in a single entry. One body, one presentation.
  5. The standard PG rule applies. No costume is "no costume."
  6. No live animals are allowed on stage with the exceptions of a) people and b) service animals.
  7. No materials or effects that will leave a mess on stage or in the green room are allowed. No materials or effects that may ruin another entrant's costume are allowed.
  8. No pyrotechnics or any other open flames are allowed.
  9. All special effects must be reviewed with us before contestant meeting (the earlier, the better).
  10. Attending the contestant meeting is required. The meeting will be held at 11AM on Friday, August 19, in the Tuscany Ballroom.
  11. Attending tech rehearsal is required. You need it to get a feel for the stage. We need it to make sure that the crew has all the information they need to support your entry.
  12. Individual entries are granted 60 seconds on stage. Group entries are granted 90 seconds on stage. Additional time may be granted if you can show us that you will use it well. Requests for additional time should be made early (i.e. as soon as you know how long you want). Last-minute requests (any point after your paperwork is turned in) will not be looked upon favorably.

WelcomeDivision PlacementPresentation RulesHintsJudges' Instructions

Hints and suggestions:

The following information will help you ensure you get the most out of your investment in the competition. You don’t have to follow these suggestions, but it would be advised.

There is no rule against wearing your competition costume in the halls before the Masquerade, but it may lessen the impact it has on the audience and judges if it has been widely seen before the show. We recommend waiting until the Masquerade to reveal your creation.

All entrants are encouraged to participate in workmanship judging. You can’t win a workmanship award if you’re not judged.

If you're entering a re-creation costume, bring documentation. A letter-size color photocopy or color print of your source should be sufficient to show the judges what you're trying to recreate (5 copies would be nice). The judges have the option to ignore anything more than that. Video, floppy disks and CDs are right out. Paper, please.

If you think a personal or business relationship with a judge will make it difficult for the judge to be objective, please talk to us. We will consult with the judging panel, and we'll come up with a reasonable course of action.

Don't plan on having access to power on stage. It won’t be there. Extension cords all over the stage aren't particularly safe.

Don't design your entry so it depends on complex lighting. We will be working with tech to provide the best, most sophisticated support we can, but based on past experience, fancy tech equipment is one of the things that often falls to budget cuts. We will keep you apprised of equipment availability as changes and updates are made.

Don't plan to use a microphone. During presentations, the MC is the only person with a microphone. Spoken narrative must be pre-recorded or provided when you register as a script for the MC.

Your pre-recorded music and narration should be submitted on CD. We will accept a clean audio CD with a single audio track. Please do not hand us a commercial CD with multiple tracks. Please do not hand us a CD covered with stickers or tape. We may also accept .wav or high-quality .mp3 data files on CD or on USB flash drives, but this is not yet confirmed.

 The "5-copy rule" is a good guideline. Terrible things can happen to CDs; make a master and 4 copies. Pack them in separate bags. We've seen too many people lose their only tape.

WelcomeDivision PlacementPresentation RulesHintsJudges' Instructions

Judges' Instructions

"Excellence deserves award" is your watchword.

The Masquerade is primarily a costume competition. It is important to remember this when judging costumes as presented on stage.

Costume is more than just clothing. It is more than just sewing. If prop-building, puppetry or other non-traditional techniques contribute to the design and completeness of a costume please consider that work in your deliberations.

We ask that you be serious in granting awards. A serious award with a funny name is fine. Please don't grant an award if you don't think the entry has real merit. No "joke" awards.

You are encouraged to award "Best in Show" and "Best in Division" (for each division) if you find such awards are appropriate. For all other awards, please judge each entry on its own merit.

For each award granted, please identify the entry and the competitor being granted the award. For example:

  • You wish to give a child a presentation award for a costume made by an adult. Name the child.
  • You wish to give a workmanship award to the person who did all the beading on a group entry. Name that person.

If you need help identifying the appropriate person to grant an award, ask your clerk.

Competitors who have entered re-creation costumes are asked (but not required) to provide as documentation a color photocopy or print of the image the costume is based on. You may ignore any documentation beyond that.

If you think a personal or business relationship with a competitor will make it difficult to be objective in your judging, please talk to both us and your fellow judges about the problem, and we'll come up with a reasonable course of action.

WelcomeDivision PlacementPresentation RulesHintsJudges' Instructions