Masquerade Information

Masquerade Information

The Ad Astra Masquerade is an amateur costume and sketch competition for costumes of any origin.

This includes, but is not limited to: Media Recreation (example Star Wars, Star Trek, Comic Books, Anime, Buffy), Historical, Literary inspired and Original Designs. The contest spans all levels of craftsmanship and experience, from first-time participants to seasoned professionals.

The masquerade not only recognizes and rewards the time and skill costumers put into their works, but also how they present them on stage: from humorous skits to beautiful walk-ons.

The costumes must be self made, except in the Young Fan Division where it’s okay to have mom or dad’s help of course! Purchased, Commissioned, or Rented costumes are welcome to be shown on stage Out Of Competition, but are not eligible for any awards.

The Ad Astra Masquerade follows the Divisional System Guidelines set out by the International Costumers Guild.

This 4-class system has been in existence for over 20 years, rewarding the time and skill costumers at all levels put into their works, as well as how they present them on stage. It was developed for the World Science Fiction Convention – or Worldcon – by the best, most respected costume creators there are.

For more information please contact

Masquerade Awards to be announced during the Saturday night Dance.

 Ad Astra Masquerade Registration pdf


All contestants must pre-register no later than 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. Masquerade registration will be at in the Victoria Square room.

  1. No messy, wet or icky substances that will make life difficult for the crew to clean up and for other contestants.
  2. No flagrant nudity. “No Costume is No Costume”. This masquerade is rated PG-13 and there will be children in the audience.
  3. Presentations are limited to 60 seconds unless otherwise arranged before Saturday at 3:00 p.m. with the Masquerade Director.
  4. No dangerous or potentially dangerous props will be allowed. No Sword fighting, projectile weapons, real firearms, pyrotechnics or live flame of any kind. If your costume requires a bow, it must be unstrung when you are not on stage. No pointing of laser pens at the audience, MC or tech crew. If you are unsure about your props or presentation please ask the Masquerade Director.
  5. The weapons policy of the convention must be followed. Please transport your weapons to and from the masquerade in a bag or closed container if they do not conform to the convention weapons policy. While weapons will be allowed on stage, they must be sheathed before leaving the stage.
  6. No purchased or rented costumes. These may be shown Out-Of-Competition.
  7. Costumes with electric power requirements must be self-contained. Connections to electrical outlets will not be available.
  8. No live creatures, other than human, will be allowed backstage or on stage. If your costume requires fauna such as snakes, ferrets etc, they must be stuffed or simulated. An exception to this rule will be made for seeing eye dogs, if the contestant requires this type of assistance.
  9. Surprise the audience, but not the Masquerade Director. If you are planning something particularly “unique” please let us know in advance.
  10. There will not be any microphones for the contestants. If you wish something special to be read by the MC please fill out the appropriate area on the masquerade registration form. Please turn in your USB stick with your masquerade registration form. Make sure you label the USB Stick with your name, costume title, and the correct song to be played. Please name the file with your name so it can be easily found by the tech people. Wav or MP3 format is preferred.
  11. When exiting the stage please do not approach the judges.
  12. The judges may choose not to give out a Best of Division Award, or may not give out any awards in a division if they do not feel any costumes entered in that division are deserving of an award. The decisions of the judges are final.
  13. The Masquerade Directors reserve the option to eliminate anyone from competition on the basis of taste, danger to the audience or other contestants or for any other reason deemed sufficient.

Presentation Time Limits

Performers are asked to be mindful of the time limit. Please be considerate and try to keep within the designated time allotment. More is not always better and flagrant disregard for the time limit will count against you. Thankfully we have always had considerate participants in the past.


Introductions, Music & Sound

If you have any special introduction for the MC to read, please have it typed or printed clearly so it can be easily read. Without an introduction, the MC will announce only your entry number, division and title at the beginning of your presentation. After your presentation is complete, general credits will be announced. There will not be any microphones provided for the contestants. Directly addressing the audience is *strongly* discouraged as most of the audience will not hear you and this may distract from your presentation.

If you have narration or dialogue, an introduction, music or sound effects to accompany your presentation, pre-record it, and save it on a USB stick.  Name the file with your name so it can be easily found by the tech people. Wav or MP3 format is preferred.

Make sure you (legibly) label the USB Stick with your name and filename to be played. If the sound runs longer than your presentation, or must be cut on cue, please be very specific as to when to cut. The usual cue is to fade the sound as the entrant leaves the stage. It is best, when you want the sound to end at a specific point on a track, is to record and edit the material you want before saving it to the USB stick. Do not submit valuable or rare original CDs.  Submit one copy of your USB stick to Masquerade Registration when you complete your registration forms. If you have made a second copy, bring it backstage with you to the Masquerade. Materials used in the Masquerade can be picked up at the Masquerade Registration desk on Sunday.


Documentation can include any pictorial representation of your costume. Provide copies only; do not bring originals. It is strongly recommended that you provide documentation for re-creation costume entries if you feel the Judges may not be familiar with a particular Anime/Manga. If you are entering your costume for workmanship judging, bring two copies of your documentation.

Note: A contestant may compete in a Division higher than the one they are eligible to enter. Keep in mind that if the contestant wins in this higher Division, they must compete in that Division in future competitions.

Judging Divisions

The Standard Division System, in accordance with the International Costumers’ Guild Guidelines, will be used as follows:

Junior Division (Also known as the Young Fan Division) Any contestant under 13 years of age at the time of this competition may compete in the Junior Division. The Junior Division is divided into two subdivisions.

Junior Self-made: A Junior contestant who has largely or wholly constructed his/her own costume.

Junior Adult-Made: A Junior contestant whose costume has been largely or wholly constructed by an adult.

Novice Division: A contestant who has not won a major award at a Masquerade other than as a Junior costumer. Workmanship Awards, an Honorable Mention or an Honored for Excellence Awards need not apply to this count.

Journeyman Division: A contestant who has won fewer than three awards at Masquerades while competing in the Journeyman Division.

Artisan Division: Any costumer who has won three or more awards; or who wishes to enter this division, provided that they do not belong in a higher division in use in the competition.

Master Division: A contestant who has won more than three times in the Artisan Division, or has won a Master award at a WorldCon, CostumeCon or a major award at a nationally recognized regional Anime Convention. Also, anyone who is a professional in a Costume-related business must compete as a Master. For the purpose of this competition, a professional is defined as making 50% or more of their income in the costuming-related business. If there are not sufficient Masters competing to fulfill this division, those entries will be judged in the Artisan Division.

Out-Of-Competition Division: The Masquerade is an amateur competition. Purchased or rented costumes may not be entered in competition for awards, but may be shown on stage in the Out-Of-Competition Division. Costumes made for business purposes, theatrical and professional events are not eligible for awards but also may be shown in this Division. In addition, anyone who wants to show their costume in this Division may do so.

Workmanship Judging: Judging for Workmanship Awards will take place backstage prior to the start of the Masquerade. These awards, for excellence in construction, will be given out in addition to the Masquerade awards. You can be judged on your costume or only on a specific piece or prop. Workmanship judging is optional, so please indicate on your entry form if you wish to be included in this judging. Workmanship applies to entries in any of the Divisions, except the Out-of-Competition Division. Quality is quality, no matter the Division, and a beautiful job deserves recognition. Our Workmanship Judge(s) will look for technical skill, finishing, fit, handling of fabric and materials, etc.


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