Masquerade Rules for Balticon

  1. Balticon Members: All contestants must be convention members and conform to the convention’s Code of Conduct.
  2. Costumers Guild Division System: The Balticon Masquerade will be run according to the Costumers Guild “Division System”, based on International Costumers’ Guild guidelines. (See the Division section at the bottom of the page for description of the divisions.) The purpose of having this system is so that a beginning costumer need not compete with an experienced winner unless he or she wants to do so. We can all compete on our own level against our costuming peers. If you are part of a group with multiple levels of experience, discuss your Division with the Masquerade Director.
  3. Once Per Costumer: Each contestant may appear only once in the competition. If there are special circumstances, special requests can be made to the Masquerade Director (
  4. Group Presentations: If you are a part of a group costume, only one member of the group should register for the entire group, and the group will be given a single entrant number. Each group member is required to complete a release form and must be a member of the convention.
  5. Not In Competition: Costumes that have won major awards at an International Costume Competition can only be entered as Not In Competition (NIC). Costumes presented as NIC will not be eligible for judging or awards for either presentation or workmanship. Costumers also have the option of presenting NIC if they do not wish to be judged.
  6. Time Limits: Entrants are permitted a maximum of one minute (60 seconds) on stage. Any additional time must be approved by the Masquerade Director ( Short is better than long. 
  7. Stage Accessibility: 
    1. Our steps are six feet (6′) wide, one foot (1′) deep and eight inches (8”) high. 
    2. We will have people available to help you on and off stage but not to lift or completely support you. 
    3. Costumes must be able to fit through doors and get on and off the stage
    4. We will do our best to accommodate contestants with disabilities or physically restrictive costumes. If you need accommodations for you or your costume, please let the Masquerade director know by email ( or at Masquerade Registration.
  8. Audio: Only the Master of Ceremonies (MC) is allowed to speak from the stage.  There will be NO LIVE MICROPHONES for the contestants’ use.  Please record your audio in advance. Submit any scripts with your online or on-site registration. If you are bringing a printed script, use 18-point Arial, double-spaced. If you are bringing a handwritten script, it need to be PRINTED large and neatly.  Sound files must be brought at the convention to the Masquerade Registration table on a USB flash drive in MP3 or WAV format. If you have any questions or concerns, email the Masquerade Director ( or talk to the director or tech staff on-site at the Masquerade Registration table.
  9. Weapons: The Masquerade adheres to the weapon policy of the convention. Weapons that are a part of the costume may be displayed only on stage and only in a safe manner. All bladed weapons must be sheathed at the time that you exit the stage. 
  10. Pyrotechnics: No fire, open flame, or flash paper/powder may be used.
  11. Nudity: “No costume” is not a costume and won’t win any prizes. Costumes should be “street legal” to accommodate the venue and audience.
  12. On Time:
    1. Tech rehearsal: Please try to be on time for your tech rehearsal; if possible, try to arrive 15 minutes early. We will attempt to accommodate requests for early or late time slots. If there are technical difficulties or emergencies, we will do our best to reschedule.
    2. Green Room: Please arrive at the registration table in the Green Room by 6:30 PM at the latest in order to accommodate workmanship judging and professional photography. If you arrive late, you might not be allowed to participate.
    3. Going on stage: If you are not present when your den is called to go backstage, you will not appear.
  13. Show Time: Dens will be called in order in the Green Room and will proceed backstage. After going on stage, contestants will be guided to the fan photography area. We will be showing the unedited video of the Masquerade in the Green Room as it airs, and again that evening after the Masquerade has ended.
  14. Masquerade Run Order: 
    1. Young Fan Division
    2. Jack L. Chalker Young Writers’ Contest award presentation
    3. Young Fan Division awards
    4. Costume Construction Challenge (C3) fashion show
    5. Costume Construction Challenge (C3) awards
    6. Marty Gear Masquerade 
    7. Bobby Gear Memorial Charity Auction for BSFS Books for Kids
    8. Presentation and Workmanship Awards 
    This is for the safety of the contestants and provide a better recording of the show. 
    1. Fan Photo Area: We will have a fan photo area set aside where you can take flash pictures as contestants come off stage.
    2. Professional Photos: There will be professional photography during green room hours. Photos will be available to purchase or order on Sunday.
    3. Video: There will be a recording available for purchase after editing. Ordering information will be available at the Masquerade registration table Sunday and Monday.
  16. Disqualification:
    1. Harassment (verbal, physical, sexual): towards Masquerade and tech staff, or towards other contestants
    2. Dangerous behavior (weapons, roughhousing, threats): Unapproved weapons, tripping people intentionally
    3. Bad taste (determined by the Masquerade Director and staff)
    4. Undue influence (including nepotism): getting dinner with the judges, showing WIPs to judges ahead of time, sleeping with the judges
    5. Violation of other Masquerade rules: talking from stage
  17. Awards: We will attempt to award ribbons on stage and hand out certificates at the Post-Masquerade Show and Tell on Sunday. If you must leave before the certificates are ready, they will be mailed to you


Contestants will be registered within one of the following Divisions:

    Any con member 13 years of age and under may enter as a young fan. There are two classes of workmanship awards: Adult Made and Contestant Made. Adult Made costumes will be judged at the level of the adult’s Division. All presentations will be be judged at the Young Fan level.
    An individual or group where all members have won fewer than three major awards* in costume competitions (other than as a Young Fan) at any convention.
    An individual or group where one or more members have won three or more major awards* as a Novice, but less than three additional major awards in the Journeyman Division.
    An individual or group where one or more members have won three major awards* as a Journeyman.

* A major award is defined as the following: “Best —“, “Most —“, “Judges Choice”, “First Place —“, or “Second Place —“. “Honorable Mentions” do not count as major awards.

All entrants may choose to compete at a higher level. If you have questions about the Division you should be competing in, contact the Masquerade Director.

All division entries are at the discretion of the Masquerade Director.

All competition entries are eligible for Best in Show.


Costumes may be farther judged within each Division Level.

  • Original
    Original costumes are what the name implies, an original design by the maker. 
  • Recreation
    A costume copied directly or with minor modifications from a previously existing work, such as a television show.
  • Historical Recreation
    A historical recreation costume is made to the specifications of the period in which the clothing was worn. Documentation, including techniques used, should be provided in print.