Durham MiniCon Cosplay Contest

We welcome cosplays from comics, animation, games, movies, film, and more!

Strut your stuff on our cosplay stage in the showcase or enter one of our cosplay contests for the chance to win awesome prizes!

    Cosplay Contests

    Showcase: These participants will walk our cosplay stage to showcase their costumes
    Craftsmanship: Participants in the craftsmanship competition must create their costume from scratch.

    Costume Rules for ALL Contestants

    ● All private parts must be fully covered and not visible. Family friendly please!
    ● Your costume cannot contain any hateful, offensive, or provocative symbols,
    designs or text.

    Showcase Rules:

    ● Any costume whether bought, modified, or made is welcome
    ● There will be two categories. Youth (12 and under) and adult (13 and up).

    Participants will need to sign up with the judges prior to the contest to have their name and costume announced on stage. The Showcase is for cosplayers of every kind. Line up for participants will begin at the Main Stage at 2:45PM. Youth (12 and under) will be given the option to line up separately, going first so we can judge them in their own category. Those cheering them on can join us at 3:00PM. Whether you made your own costume from scratch, thrifted it together, bought it from a pro, or had your mom steal it from Party City, you can show off your look, strut your stuff, and be proud in your second skin at the Showcase! All those who wish to participate may!

    The Showcase contestants will cross the stage first when the contest begins at 3:00PM. Craftsmanship contestants will be lined up behind the runway participants separately, then they will cross the stage afterwards.

    Craftsmanship Rules:

    Enter in one of the following categories:

    • Youth
    • Novice
    • Journeyman
    • Master

    Pre-judging for craftsmanship will be from 11:00AM-2:30PM, and it is first-come first-serve!

    • In order to qualify for craftsmanship judging, your costume must be handmade by YOU. In order to have your costume judged for craftsmanship and to compete for craftsmanship awards, your costume must be mostly handmade. There is a 30% leeway that allows for found parts, or modified existing items that you did not make entirely.
      • Found Parts: any costume item that was pre-made, such as a pair of boots or a shirt. As a guideline: when competing for craftsmanship, it is best to alter any found parts rather than using it as-is. For example, sewing trim onto a dress shirt or painting a pair of boots.
      • Purchased Costumes: Purchased costumes will disqualify you for costume craftsmanship awards. For example, purchasing your costume from Amazon, Wish, or an online cosplay store. However, you are more than welcome to participate in the Showcase.
      • Small pieces such as jewelry or accessories that are character-specific that are ready-made are okay to be worn for judging.
      • Wigs are okay, as most wigs typically are not pre-styled when purchased. If no styling or work was done to the wig after purchasing it, it will fall into that 30% category of non-handmade parts of the costume.
      • Commissioned Pieces: as a general rule, using commissioned pieces is frowned upon and WILL disqualify you for craftsmanship awards. We will accept small commissioned pieces to be entered with your costume, so long as they are not the centerpiece of your costume, and you make it clear what parts of your costume were made by who during pre-judging. Otherwise, it should be an item that can be set aside or omitted from judging. A commissioned wig, small accessory, or prop is acceptable. However, things such as a large headpiece, armor or garment would not be allowed.
      • Found Parts: any costume item that was pre-made, such as a pair of boots or a shirt. As a guideline: when competing for craftsmanship, it is best to alter any found parts rather than using it as-is. For example, sewing trim onto a dress shirt or painting a pair of boots.
      • Purchased Costumes: Purchased costumes will disqualify you for costume craftsmanship awards. For example, purchasing your costume from Amazon, Wish, or an online cosplay store. However, you are more than welcome to participate in the Showcase.
      • Small pieces such as jewelry or accessories that are character-specific that are ready-made are okay to be worn for judging.
      • Wigs are okay, as most wigs typically are not pre-styled when purchased. If no styling or work was done to the wig after purchasing it, it will fall into that 30% category of non-handmade parts of the costume.
      • Commissioned Pieces: as a general rule, using commissioned pieces is frowned upon and WILL disqualify you for craftsmanship awards. We will accept small commissioned pieces to be entered with your costume, so long as they are not the centerpiece of your costume, and you make it clear what parts of your costume were made by who during pre-judging. Otherwise, it should be an item that can be set aside or omitted from judging. A commissioned wig, small accessory, or prop is acceptable. However, things such as a large headpiece, armor or garment would not be allowed.
    • You MUST provide references!
      • Please provide reference material to your judging session. We suggest and recommend reference material printed on paper in case it is left or lost. Failure to provide a reference will result in a 0 for “Accuracy” (see below for Judging Criteria)
      • Good references include:
        • A turnaround (at least a front and back view) of your character’s costume.
        • Screenshots of different views of your character.
        • A folder or binder (or stapled printouts) including the above reference photos and any photos you have of the construction process. If you are submitting a video for online pre-judging, you can include some progress photos in your video.
      • Artbooks, figures, and other physical references of your character are fine to bring. However, we are not responsible for reference material that is lost or damaged. Any items left behind during judging will be left at Lost and Found / Con-Ops at the end of day or after the Showcase if not retrieved.
      • Enter your costume in the CORRECT division. If you have questions of where you qualify division-wise, please ask our judges!
      • It’s very important to know how to put yourself in the proper craftsmanship division. At least 30% of contestants don’t choose the right division for themselves on average. The following descriptions of the divisions below go into the level of craftsmanship standards judges will hold you to.
        • Youth (12 & Under): Meant for kids just getting into the cosplay scene. Craftsmanship is not judged much, if at all. The contestant’s overall portrayal of the character they are dressed as is what’s mainly evaluated: if they look and act the part, etc.
        • Novice: For beginner cosplayers who have made 1-3 costumes and are still figuring out how to make things. If you have never competed before, starting in the novice division is usually a good start. Certain crafting materials that are not effective and are highly discouraged to be used, such as hot glue/super glue/etc, will be tolerated if used in the costume. It’s not ideal, but you will usually get cut some slack by your judges–but not always. There’s a reason it’s frowned upon.
        • Journeyman: For cosplayers who have really started to get the hang of how to make things. Usually for anyone who has competed and/or won an award at least once and has developed a skill level to successfully assemble an entire costume themselves–confident that the presentation/construction will be very above average. Not everything is perfect, but it should be very close. Those infamous crafting materials such as hot glue/super glue/etc are UNNACCEPTABLE and should not be used in any part of the costume whatsoever.
        • Master: For experienced costume-makers who have competed numerous times and have won at least one or two major awards in the journeyman division. The craftsmanship must be perfect and fit to be seen worn by actors in movies, and performers on a Broadway stage. There should not be a single thing for your judges to nit-pick at for not being done properly. Not a single shortcut can be made– everything has to be done neatly and properly.

    Judging Criteria

    In total you can earn up to 50 points for craftsmanship. We will use this point total to determine who will win the top awards in each division. The number of awards is determined by the overall number of entrants who are competing and the number of entrants competing in each division.

    We judge costumes on the following criteria:

    • Construction (20 points) – How neat and clean is your costume construction? What do the seams look like? Were any corners cut or shortcuts taken? Were the proper materials/supplies used?
    • Attention to Detail (10 points) – How much effort was put into the minor details of the costume? Was focus put on the accessories, props, wig styling or other components of the costume that weren’t sewn? Were all components of the costume equally focused on?
    • Accuracy (10 points) – How close is your costume to the source material (within reason/reality)? Were reference photos provided? Original characters will receive 0 points for this automatically. An original design of an existing character can receive a maximum of 5 points for this, as long as the design is clearly derived from the original concept and is clearly recognizable as the character.
    • Creativity (5 points) – How creative were you when finding solutions to your costume? Maybe you learned a new craft specifically to make it?
    • Overall Presentation (5 points) – How do all the parts of your costume come together to create an overall polished look?

    Suggestions and Guidelines

    • Original Characters (OC) are hard to judge for accuracy. We will not turn away these types of costumes for craftsmanship judging. However, be aware that if you want to enter a completely original costume, you may receive a low score or a zero for accuracy (20% of your score). We recommend most people entering an OC / fan character to sign up under exhibition. Exceptions are often made for original designs based on historic origin, mythology, literature, or any other costume that is not based on an existing character. Examples might include a samurai or geisha based on paintings.
    • We do not judge the physical appearance of the cosplayer for accuracy. Cosplay is for everyone.
    • During craftsmanship judging, we are focused on judging your costume. Please leave in-character acting and improv for the hallways and/or stage. Please come to your judging appointment in-costume but as yourself to answer questions so we can give you the best score possible.
    • Be positive and talk-up your costume. Try not to focus or linger on any negative parts of your costume.
    • Write everything you’d like to tell the judges on a notecard and bring it to your judging session! Sometimes when under pressure, our minds can go blank.