Masquerade Rules and Guidelines

Discuss the UK's largest Masquerade event which takes place both days during the London MCM Expo.

Do you Cosplay? Then tell us what you like about the event we organise, what costumes you are wearing or how you feel we can improve Cosplaying at the London MCM Expo

Masquerade Rules and Guidelines

Postby Ilpala on Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:25 pm


The MCM Expo Cosplay email address is:

Announcements and updates for the October 2009 Expo Masquerade: viewforum.php?f=252

Please contact us via email or the forum if you have any questions about the Cosplay Masquerade at the London MCM Expo. We recommend consulting the forums for updates and announcements, including changes to these rules due to matters beyond our control.

This October there are significant changes to the MCM Expo Masquerade rules, They are detailed in this document.

Main Rules

The MCM Expo Masquerade is an opportunity for people who have made costumes to display them on stage.

A costume is eligible for entry if:

* It has been largely constructed by the person wearing it on stage or, in the case of group entries, by one of the group members on stage.

* Bought costume elements are not designed specifically for cosplay, and have been modified extensively. Bought items such as wigs, shoes and small accessories like glasses or Naruto headbands may be used, however.
Eligibility is at the cosplay organisers discretion.

* It has not been entered into the Masquerade at a previous MCM Expo event, unless this has been agreed with the cosplay organisers. Costumes that have previously been entered into competitions at events not connected with MCM Expo are acceptable.


* It is being worn by someone under the age of 12 years old. A parent or guardian must sign the entry form on the day for any entrants under 12 years old.

* It is part of a performing group and some elements are modified general clothing. Eligibility is at the cosplay organisers discretion.

Commissioned and bought costumes, or costumes mostly made up of bought general clothing are not suitable for the Masquerade, and will not be permitted unless by special permission of the cosplay organisers. We understand that this means some characters cannot be easily portrayed, however the nature of the event and the high demand for places makes this necessary.

Original costumes can be entered if supported by concept sketches and an explanation of the inspirations behind the costume.

All entrants must have signed in at the cosplay desk by 13:00 on the day. Failure to do so may mean you lose your entry place or judging time.

You may be filmed or photographed during the masquerade, and MCM Expo or its sponsors may wish to use your image. By entering you agree to this.

HOW TO ENTER- Standard Entries

For performances, please see the next section.

You may apply to take part in advance by filling in the advance masquerade entrance form on the website. Advance Registration opens for the October London MCM Expo on 27/09/09 and closes on 18/10/09. Entries before or after this will not be accepted.

As spaces are limited entry to the masquerade is on a first come, first served basis. There will also be a limited number of places available on the day, on a first come, first served basis.

Entrants who are not performing may enter one of two categories - Parade and Expert.

Cosplay groups are welcome to enter, Parade groups are limited to a maximum of 5 people while Expert groups are limited to a maximum of 12 people.

If your group is larger than this then we will split you into smaller groups and discuss your preferred stage order with you.

* * * * *

Parade entries may not select their own music, instead a continuous soundtrack will be played during the parade section. The parade section will be faster flowing than the current walk on system with one group entering the stage as the last leaves.

Parade entries will not be competing directly against ‘expert’ entries and will have their own prizes. In the event that the judges feel a Parade entry has the best costume in the masquerade, they will award a special prize in recognition of this.

* * * * *

Expert spaces are limited but entries will enjoy a longer time on stage and their own choice of music.

Anyone may request to be considered for an ‘expert’ place, from Masquerade winning veterans to people making their first costumes. We will ask for supporting evidence which may include: previous events that you have won at; cosplay profiles on websites such as CosplayIsland; or pictures of the costume in progress.

When entering please supply music in a separate email clearly labelled “music for (name of entry)”. MP3 format is preferred, please do not supply DRM protected tracks from iTunes etc. You may request music if you do not have the track you would like played, however we can make no assurances that we will have the track in question. Tracks will be played when you go on stage, until you come off stage, so please adjust them if necessary with this in mind if you want any pauses or a particular section to play.


* * * * *

The cosplay organisers reserve the right to reject applicants at their discretion. It may be necessary to provide evidence that your costume is eligible if the cosplay organisers have any concerns, and failure to do so in a timely manner may result in losing your place.

As this is a family show costumes of an adult nature may not be entered.

Supporting material such as reference pictures, progress pictures, performance descriptions, and details of group members can be submitted after you register, but we recommend sending them to us as soon as possible even if we cannot immediately confirm your place.


You may apply in advance to perform in the masquerade by emailing, including the word “PERFORMANCE” in the subject header and describing your performance in as much detail as possible.

Advance Performance Registration opens for the October London MCM Expo on 13/09/09 and closes on 11/10/09. Entries before or after this will not be accepted.

The number of performance places are limited, and so we will require as full a description of your performance as possible for consideration. An independent panel will assess all performance applications and select a number of them to perform based on factors such as quality of scripts, originality, and variety. You may also be asked to reduce the length of your performance. Its content should be suitable for a family audience, and the maximum length is 3 minutes – please note that this maximum is for large groups and not all performances will be allowed this long. Also note that groups of more than 12 participants are not permitted.

All supporting information for your performance application should be sent by email

Note that we cannot provide props or microphones, and that the stage is not suitable for energetic performances involving eg running or martial arts displays. We reserve the right the interrupt performances for reasons of health and safety.

We can only accept a single sound file for an entry, which we will start to play when you come on stage and continue until the track ends. You may want to consider including a short quiet piece of background music at the start of the track to give you time to get into position.

Music and audio tracks must be submitted by 17/10/09 at the absolute latest, we cannot accept tracks on the day. We reserve the right to refuse tracks that are not of sufficiently high quality for the audience to be able to hear clearly. We particularly recommend sending in voice recordings early, so that we can test them and inform you if it needs to be improved with plenty of time before the Expo.

Successful performance entries will be eligible for the ‘Best performance’ prize, in the event that the judges feel a Performance entry has the best costumes in the masquerade, they will award a special prize in recognition of this.


The contest element is open to ages 12 and up.

If you wish for your costume (or group's costumes) to be judged competitively, you need to make yourselves available on the day, before the masquerade for judging of your costumes construction and accuracy. If possible, we will arrange a time with you in advance.

For a costume to be judged competitively a picture or photo reference of the character / costume they are representing MUST be provided in advance or on the day. You will be judged against this reference so it is advisable to make it good! If possible, also provide any other information regarding the costumes construction such as an 'in progress' photograph.

Entries will be judged on Accuracy and Construction before you go on stage.

* A high Accuracy score (maximum points available is 10) will be awarded for correct colours, details, patterns, hair style etc.
* A high Construction score (maximum points available is 10) will be awarded for good workmanship, variety of techniques used, and finish.
* Entries will also be judged on your stage presence (maximum points available is 5) which includes affecting the character’s mannerisms and how well you present your costume on stage, for example.

The judges’ decision is FINAL. Please respect the judges and the other participants by accepting their decisions.


Guidelines for weapons and props are available as a separate document on the website.
James - MCM Expo Cosplay Coordinator
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Re: Masquerade Rules and Guidelines

Postby Ilpala on Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:28 pm


The MCM Expo Cosplay email address is:

The Expo is a family event, and is often crowded. The intention of these rules is to ensure that attendees of all ages can enjoy the event safely.

These policies are in place to ensure public safety while allowing cosplayers to successfully portray a character. If your character is based entirely on the large weapon or other prop they use, then we suggest saving it for the masquerade.

Upon arrival at the MCM Expo all weapons and any large props MUST be brought to the Cosplay desk, where they will be checked for safety and compliance to the rules. If MCM Expo staff see a weapon or large prop that is NOT considered safe, you will be asked to go to the Cosplay desk to hand it in or asked to leave the event.

In most cases such items will be permitted for use in the Masquerade competition, in which case they will be kept at the Cosplay desk until the competition.

MCM Expo reserves the right to disallow any weapon or prop if it is deemed to be unsafe or likely to cause a nuisance. Likewise anyone seen acting inappropriately with a replica weapon or prop may have the item(s) confiscated and/or be asked to leave the Expo. Confiscated items can be collected upon departure from the event.

* * *
As a general rule, we recommend that any weapons or replica weapons that are banned from being carried OR sold in this country should not be brought to the Expo. Such weapons or replica weapons MUST NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES be carried on your person inside the Expo hall, and should be handed in at the Cosplay Desk.

Below is an explanation of what is and is not allowed. Please contact the Cosplay Coordinators on the Expo forums or by emailing them at if you want further clarification describing the item as fully as possible.

* As a general rule, if you feel a weapon or prop may cause an injury to someone if a sudden movement (eg. running, sneezing, shoving) caused a collision with the weapon or prop, then it is not suitable for the Expo hall and should be kept in a bag or at the Cosplay Desk.

* Weapons and props (excluding guns, see below) that are made of lightweight material such as Plastic, Foam or Balsa wood are allowed up to a length of 1.5m as long as they have been made as safe as possible with any edges should be rounded off, ends padded, and no dangerous parts attached eg nails.

* Weapons and props greater than 1.5m may be used in the masquerade only.

* Wooden and otherwise solid but legal replica weapons are allowed but must be sheathed and ‘peace bonded’ (unable to be drawn) from their scabbard/costume. Any such weapon that Expo Staff see drawn is subject to confiscation on sight.

* Plastic toy guns fitted with a coloured ‘Blaze’ tip and unrealistic weapons such as Light guns or sci-fi replica guns are allowed.

* Caps, incendiaries or any sort of projectile are not allowed, magazines and batteries for weapons should be left at home or handed into the Cosplay desk.

* Realistic replica handguns such as plastic pistols and BB guns are allowed as long as the magazine is shown as empty and battery shown to not be in the gun, but they should still be kept holstered. They may be drawn for photographs, but ensure that you have a clear space around you and do not draw it suddenly or in front of people such as small children who may be excitable or easily scared.

* Larger replica guns such as Rifles or SMG’s are allowed only in the masquerade and are NOT permitted as part of a floor costume.

* Metal replica guns such as .22 airguns or deactivated guns are not allowed under any circumstances.

It is important that weapons or props are never waved around, especially replica guns which must never be pointed at someone.

Lastly, remember to keep everything well-wrapped and out of site whenever you are not in the MCM Expo hall. You are responsible for transporting props and weapons so be safe!
James - MCM Expo Cosplay Coordinator
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