Austin Convention Center | Hilton Austin | July 26-28, 2024
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Dream Con's Cosplay Contest is back!

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Join our annual Cosplay Contest and flaunt your amazing handiwork for a chance to win our grand prize!

Dream Con’s Cosplay Contest is open to all attendees and free to apply.

Please be sure to read through our rules and guidelines carefully before submitting your application as a contestant. If you have any additional questions, comments or concerns, please reach out to us at

Grand Prize - $1,000

Dream Con’s Cosplay Contest  is free to enter!  Join the Cosplay Contest for a chance to win the $1,000 Grand Prize.  


All cosplays presented for judging must be crafted by the contestant! You must have handmade at minimum 70% of your cosplay to be eligible to enter!  This does not include shoes and wigs. For the entry of any cosplays not made by hand, please keep an eye out for our Cosplay Runway Application.

Contest Judges

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Cosplay Contest


All entries must be submitted no later than Sunday, June 30, 2024 by 11:59 pm Central Time. Any entries completed after the deadline has passed will not be accepted. 

  • All cosplayers need to have a valid Dream Con 2024 attendee badge to participate in the contest.
  • All contestants will provide a mandatory reference picture for their cosplay character and two (2) progression pictures of their work along with their application.  
  • All contestants need to include their own audio tracks or pre-recorded music clips for their performances/presentations.  It will need to be an MP3 audio file or converted to one during the application submission. Please reach out to the Cosplay Department if there are any issues providing this. 
  • All contestants are required to provide a description of what your performance/presentation will be for the contest. If your written summary is not what you perform on stage, you will be stopped and removed from stage immediately, leading to your disqualification from the contest. All edits, changes, and/or additional content will need to be emailed as soon as possible to the Cosplay Department,
  • All cosplayers are obligated to attend the morning rehearsal on Saturday, July 27, 2024. Failure to attend the rehearsal or communicate with Cosplay Staff in advance about the inability to participate in this rehearsal will lead to a dismissal from the Contest.
  • All contestants will also be required to attend pre-judging for their cosplays. Scheduling will be assigned before the Convention via email. Any adjustments or conflicts do need to be communicated with Staff at minimum twenty-four (24) hours before your assigned pre-judgment slot.
  • All contestants must be 13-years or older to apply for the Contest without a parent/guardian’s permission.
  • Any contestants under the age of 13 are required to have a parent/guardian in attendance during all events related to the Contest, including pre-judging. 

All entries must be submitted no later than Sunday, June 30 by 11:59 pm Central Time. Any entries submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.

Rules and Guidelines

Costume & Prop Design

All contestants are judged on their overall individual or group performance, cosplay design/theme, and prop designs.

If you cannot abide by the Contest rules, you will be disqualified and possibly banned from the current Contest and future Dream Con Cosplay Contests.

  • Fully commissioned cosplays are NOT allowed under any circumstances in the Cosplay Contest. Contestants with models wearing their work are allowed, but will need to inform the Cosplay Staff in the application and list their model as a partner participant. 
  • All work MUST BE HANDMADE! It is required that at least 70% of your cosplay is your own handiwork. This does not include shoes and wigs.
  • Your cosplay can be from any form of media of your choosing, including, but not limited to anime, video games, comics, television shows, and cartoons! Unfortunately, no Original Characters (OCs) of any kind will be accepted. Although Dream Con supports the creativity of all their attendees, verifying the quality of OCs is impossible with no references to the characters.
  • All cosplays worn must provide as much coverage as a standard bikini/swimsuit and follow Dream Con Convention guidelines for dress code.
    • All male cosplayers are required to wear a dance belt or similar accommodating garments.
    • Nudity is not allowed. No participants are allowed to be topless, nude, or near nude on stage. No garments of clear, mesh, or see-through type materials are considered acceptable, i.e cover ups. Dream Con and Cosplay Staff can, at their discretion, dismiss contestants for infringing on our nudity policy at any point during the Cosplay Contest.
  • No offensive, discriminatory, or vulgar cosplays, performances, media, music or contestant names (i.e. Hitler cosplays, blackface, etc.) are allowed in the Cosplay Contest. You will be dismissed immediately by the attending Staff, barred from the current Contest, and at risk of permanent banning from future Cosplay Contests and their entirety of Dream Con.
  • No real weapons are allowed which includes, but is not limited to bats, metal chains, guns, airsoft guns, water guns and any prop made of metal. No weapon can be functional. All functional weapons are banned from Dream Con and as such are prohibited from the Cosplay Contest. 
  • All real weaponry is prohibited from the convention center. Individuals caught with real and/or functional weapons will be dismissed from the Contest and the convention center immediately. 
  • “SANDBAGGING” IS NOT ALLOWED. If your cosplay has won “Best in Show” or “Best in Division” in prior years or in other Convention contests, you cannot enter that same cosplay at Dream Con. This is to ensure all contestants have a fair and equal opportunity to participate in the Contest. Note: this is for the specific cosplay presented, not the contestant themselves. If you have any questions or require more clarification, please contact the Cosplay Department. 
  • Contestants cannot submit double entries for the Cosplay Contest. Although we do enjoy the enthusiasm to showcase your work, only a single entry for any contestant in any category will be accepted. 
  • Everything you bring on stage must be taken with you. No confetti/glitter, smoke bombs, fire/explosives, or jumping off the stage is allowed, for your safety and for other attendees. Any props must be approved by the Cosplay Department prior to rehearsal. If you have any questions about staging, acceptable props, or anything related, please feel free to reach out to Staff in advance.


Rated PG-13
  • All performances must be PG-13. If the performance is deemed too inappropriate for our audience, your presentation will be limited to Staff discretion.
  • A written summary detailing your performance is required. If your written summary is not what you perform on stage, and this change was not approved by Cosplay Staff in advance, your presentation will be halted, and you will be removed from the stage and dismissed from the Contest.
  • All contestants are required to perform at their assigned time.
  • Individual contestants will have a presentation time maximum of 1-minute and 30 seconds. 
  • Group contestants will have a maximum allotted time of 3-minutes.
  • Your performance will be suspended at the allotted time limit to allow our program to flow smoothly and provide a fair experience for everyone!
  • All performances will need audio tracks or pre-recorded music. All performances are required to use only audio tracks or pre-recorded music that the contestant owns or is copyright free.
  • Contestants must submit all music as an MP3 file. YouTube or other music application source links are not an acceptable audio form and will only result in Staff requesting an MP3 audio file to be provided. Please ensure that you have submitted the correct music file for your performance. If the music or audio is not correct or sounds distorted or affected in any way during your performance, indicate to us to halt so we may investigate the issue. Dream Con is not, however, responsible for finding your correct audio themselves and will not offer this to contestants. 
  • Please remember that all contestants are personally responsible for all aspects of their performances, not Dream Con. There will be a sound check the morning of the Contest where you are more than welcome to do an audio review with Staff to ensure you are satisfied.
Stage Props & Stage Ninjas
  • If you have any approved stage props and require time for setup and takedown, please let know in advance and we will attempt to accommodate you.  You will need to provide your own stage ninjas as this is not something Staff or Dream Con will provide for you. 
  • Again, no confetti/glitter, smoke bombs, fire/explosives, or jumping off the stage is allowed during your performance. If it cannot be removed from the stage with you and before another contestant presents, it will not be an allowed prop. If you have any questions over the staging, please consult with the Cosplay Department in advance. Your performance should only be a surprise to your audience, not the Staff!
  • If contestants do bring approved props such as flower petals, faux leaves etc., please be sure to clean up after yourselves to be courteous to the other contestants. Dream Con and Cosplay Department Staff are not responsible for the upkeep of the stage after your performance. Keep in mind, you will have a specific time slot and will not have long to tidy!
  • No jumping, flipping, acrobatics, athletic feats or running off the stage! Safety is a number one priority and your safety is paramount!
  • All contestants must be able to navigate on and off stage without extreme difficulty, however, accommodations can be arranged for larger, bulkier cosplays and props or any other mobility accommodations. Your costume also has to allow unobstructed vision and/or navigation for the safety of you, your handiwork, and your audience!

Mandatory Meeting for All Contestants

  • A mandatory meeting will occur on Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 10:00 AM CST. An email reminder will be provided for contestants. Failure to present to this meeting without notifying Cosplay Department Staff may be considered a ‘no show’ and result in your dismissal from the Contest. This meeting will cover the expectations of the Cosplay Contest run, and confirm your scheduled craftsmanship judging time slots. This will also be the time to complete your audio check, and an option to rehearse your performance on stage before the official show!

Dream Con Staff reserve the right to disqualify, dismiss, or remove any contestants at their discretion. 

Judging Rules

  • Be sure to have your Work-In-Progress (WIP) pictures printed out as part of your WIP Book to present to judges for review. You will not be able to show pictures on your phone to judges. 
  • If you do not bring a WIP Book, you will be disqualified. If you need an example of a WIP Book, please email cosplay@dreamconvention.
  • You will be assigned a judging time on Saturday of con during the mandatory meeting. Please do not be late. There will be a mandatory meeting on Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 10:00 am CST. During this time, you may also do a sound check and walk the stage.
  • All contestants must be ON TIME to costume judging and sound check. If you are not on time and have not told us you would be running late,  you will be disqualified from the Cosplay Contest. 
  • Respect Dream Con’s Cosplay Judges, staff, and volunteers !
If you have any issues please contact us:

Cosplay Categories

  • Any cosplayer may enter in the Professional/Master division.
  • Professional Cosplayers (any individual who earns the majority of their income from cosplaying related events or projects) may only enter into the Professional/Master division.
  • 100% of the cosplay must be handmade.
  • Professional Cosplayers may not enter the Journeyman division.
  • A cosplayer who has participated and won twice in the Master division at another anime convention may not enter in the Journeyman division.
  • A cosplayer who has won “Best in Show” or “Best Journeyman” four (4) times or more may not enter in the Journeyman division.
  • Professional Cosplayers may not enter in the Novice division.
  • A cosplayer who has won three (3) or more contests may not enter in the Novice division.
  • A cosplayer who has competed and won in either the Master or Journeyman divisions may not enter in the Novice division.
  • Professional Cosplayers may not enter in the Youth division.
  • All youth cosplayers are required to have parental permission to enter the contest.
  • All youth cosplayers are required to have a guardian in attendance during the contest.
  • Individuals over the age of 13 may not enter in the Youth division.
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Cosplay Contest Application

Dream Con’s Cosplay Contest is open to all attendees! Join the contest for a chance to win the $1,000 Grand Prize!

Share your Cosplay Lineup

Download our transparent template to show off your plan for your cosplays for the weekend! Be sure to tag us under #DreamCon2024

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