Official Carolina Fan Expo Cosplay Contest Rules


A donation fo a canned good to Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina is required for entry.


Contestants must be ages 5 and up.  Carolina Fan Expo staff is ineligible to compete in the Cosplay contest.  There are 90 spots available in the various categories available.  Groups count as one entry.  Groups can be no larger than five participants.  Costumes and props must be worn and carried with no risk to property and people.  Genres that are accepted include; anime, game, Sci-Fi, comics, movies, literary, steampunk, television, and cartoons.


While no changes to these rules are unanticipated, certain circumstances may require that the rules be changed. Any changes to the rules will be noted in bold red print on this page.



    1. Eligible Cosplayers will register at the registration table prior to competition from the hours of 10 am until 4:30 pm.  Technical judging begins at 10 am and runs until 4:30 pm.  Showcase begins at 5 pm and runs until 5:30 pm.  

    2. All participants will be required to fill out pre-registration forms and will receive a copy of the rules and regulations of the contest.    

    3. Techincal judging will be in 1-minute intervals with judges after registration. 

    4. Paid professional Cosplayers or models cannot compete in the Cosplay Contest or Cosplayers who are represented or representatives of a nationally recognized Cosplay group or association (i.e. The 501st).

    5. Original and/or amalgam Cosplay may be entered, but contestant must provide a brief but detailed explanation of character during pre-judging, keeping within the time limit of said pre-judging. 

    6. Representatives of the Carolina Fan Expo Cosplay Contest may disqualify a contestant at any time if they feel that contestant represents a violation of the rules, regulations, standards, integrity, environment, or creates a disturbance or disruption to the business and brand of The Con or it’s affiliates and Associates.


  1. Commission Pieces -

    1. You assume all risk and responsibility of using a Commission piece and Carolina Fan Expo, all staff, volunteers, vendors, and judges are waived from any responsibility of the contestant using such items.

    2. You must have a letter of approval of crafter present to use commissioned pieces or they will be disqualified.


  1. JUDGING –

    1. Final Judging will take place from 5 pm until 5:30 pm.  Winners will be announced at 5:45 pm.  Contestants must be present to claim prizes. 

    2. Judges are allowed to view but not touch your costume from all angles.

    3. The public is free to look on during the performance portions and final announcements.  Only contestants and judges will be allowed in the judging area.

    4. Decisions of the costume contest judges are final.



    1. Performances can be in 30-second increments and can be in the form of skits, impressions, dance, and music or can simply consist of a runway walk

    2. All music and soundtracks must be provided by contestants in applicable playable format (iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, or iTunes Player). 

    3. All music must be cued prior to performance by contestants. 

    4. All music and performances must be family friendly, free of profanity, vulgarity, sexual content of any kind, and otherwise offensive content. 

    5. Music and any and all soundtracks must be presented to pre-judging panel to assure it meets our noted standards. 



Entries will be separated into two primary categories by certain age requirements:

  • Individual– All single individuals of specified ages.

  • Group – Groups of individuals are encouraged to stick to a common theme, game, show, comic, literary theme, and fandom.  Groups will register for the contest under a single name. The prize will be awarded to the group leader, who will be solely responsible for splitting the prize among the group.  Groups cannot contain more than five individuals.


  1. Divisions – Entries will be separated into the following divisions by category: Best Adult (ages 18 and up),  Best Teen (ages 12 to 17),  Best Child  (ages up to 11), & Best Group (any mix of any age)



    1. All costumes must pertain in some way to the character they represent. 

    2. If your costume reflects a more obscure character, be willing to tell us about your source material.  Bringing source material is even better!

    3. Any individual can only enter the contest one time. An individual cannot enter as an individual AND as part of a group.

    4. Entrants are allowed to have an assistant help with last-minute repairs and preparations before the costume contest. Costume contest judges will do their best to accommodate contestants who need extra time due to emergencies and malfunctions, but in the interest of fairness, we cannot guarantee that any extra time will be allotted.

    5. Purchased costumes are allowed but they will affect point accumulation.  Participants need to be prepared to briefly explain the process through which their Cosplay was inspired and created and why chosen. 

    6. No electrical power will be provided for props and costumes.

    7. All costumes must allow freedom of movement so as not to create a hazard to individual or others. 

    8. No additional lighting effects will be provided.

    9. Commissioned pieces are allowed but credit must be documented on your pre-registration form.

    10. Original costumes or amalgams may be entered but an explanation of your incarnation must be provided during pre-judging.



    1. No glitter, confetti, pyrotechnics, live flame, or smoke generators of any kind are allowed.  Any costume that “makes a mess” will not be allowed.

    2. Professionally rented costumes.

    3.  Excessive blood or gore, overly sexual, or otherwise inappropriate costumes will be ineligible for entry.  Nudity is not permitted…no costume means no costume!

    4. Paid models and Cosplayers cannot compete.


  1. Point system –

    1. All judging will be based on a point/percentage system with no handicap with a max score of 50 points.  

    2. Ownership (how well contestant understands character they are portraying) – 1 points per 5% ownership up to 20 points.

    3. Craftsmanship- (time, effort, use of materials, quality, and skill involved in making something beautiful or practical by hand) – 1 points per 5% craftsmanship up to 20 points.

    4. Creativity/Accuracy (Creativity for original concepts and how accurate they are to contestants knowledge of character/ Accuracy based on authenticity of existing character based on published or printed incarnations)-0 or 10 points.


  1.  PHOTOGRAPHY – Pictures will be taken during judging of all participants. These pictures will be used for record and judging purposes. By entering the costume contest, you are agreeing to allow your image to be used in future advertising efforts.

Carolina Fan Expo Cosplay Judges

Misty Yates
Ashley Pump
Jason Thomas
Brittany Quinn 
Lance Campbell
Cory Willis
Anastasia Lawrence
Matthew Barker
Brittany Goble
William Frady
Madison Cox
Brian Phillips
Brooklyn Flamm
Chas Kress
Ann Trinh Strain
Clint Ferguson
Ce Ce Lynn