Costume Contest

Costume Contest

photo/Truong Lam

Those who won at the 2019 Costume Contest will be able to redeem their badges at the November 2021 event. Passes will be mailed in September.

Each Grand Rapids Comic-Con show will have a costume contest to reward the best costumes on the Saturday and Sunday of the event. This is one of the highlights of our or virtually any comic book convention. Make sure to join in on the fun and parade your cosplay in front of hundreds for a chance to win cash and a trophy!

Sign Up

Interested participants in all three costume contests will need to sign up at the Costume Contest Judging Room (Grand Gallery D) the day of the contest they wish to enter. All cosplayers must register for the contest they wish to enter, no last minute entries. Hours for signing up for the costume contests are the following:

  • Saturday, November 13 from 10 am until 1:00 pm (Adult)
  • Sunday, November 14 from 10 am until 12:00 pm (Kids and Themed)

There is no costume contest sign-up on Friday, November 12.

How To Enter

  • All participants 13 and over are to enter the adult costume contests, under 13 may enter the Sunday kids contest.
  • Only 100 individual and 25 group participants will be taken for the Saturday contests so sign up early!
  • Only 50 individuals will be taken for the Sunday contest so sign up early!
  • People who are entering any of the contests will be pre-judged at sign up, so make sure you are in full costume including make-up at that time. If you are entering a group contest make sure the entire group is present in full costume including make-up.
  • Please bring with you a completed costume contest entry form which you can download here.
  • You will receive a lanyard with a  number that you will need at the costume contest. When signing up you will be asked for your real name, the character you are cosplaying, a phonetic spelling of that character, contact information including street address and email, and the series in which the character is represented.
  • Sign up closes when all slots are filled or the scheduled ending time, whichever happens first.
  • Costume must be at least 50% handmade or re-purposed materials.
  • Each group counts as one participant in the group competition. Groups need to be centered around a specific theme (Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Dragon Ball Z, etc.).

You will need to fill out a short form upon registering and will receive a lanyard with a  number that you will need at the costume contest. People who are entering Saturday’s adult contest will be pre-judged at sign up, so make sure you are in full costume including make-up at that time.

Contests

Saturday, November 13: Adult Costume Contest

All participants 13 and over are welcome to enter our main costume contest, which will be held on Saturday on the main stage at 5 pm. Any costume of any genre that fits the rules of the show are welcome to enter!

When Arriving

Make sure to have arrived for the costume contest by 4:30 pm for line-up by the main stage. Make sure to reference your number. That is the order in which you are to line up.

On each sign there will be an “exception list”, which is the list of people the pre-judges thought were the most exceptional entries. Those people are to get in line in the order of their number at the back of the line.

The people in the front will do a cosplay-style parade where they will be able to cross the stage for entering the costume contest and do a pose for the attendees. The most exceptional entries will cross the stage after that one by one and be judged by our panel of finalist judges who will make the ultimate decisions on the prize winners.

The categories for the individual contest for Saturday, November 13 will be the following:

  • Best In Show
  • Best Male
  • Best Female
  • Best Craftmanship
  • Best Group (2 or more people)
  • 3 Judges Choice/Honorable Mentions

Prizes For The Winners

  • Best In Show: Trophy plus 2 Weekend Passes to next year plus $200
  • Best Male: Trophy plus 2 Weekend Passes to next year plus $100
  • Best Female: Trophy plus 2 Weekend Passes to next year plus $100
  • Best Craftmanship: Trophy plus 2 Weekend Passes to next year plus $100
  • Best Group: Trophy plus 2 Weekend Passes to next year plus $200
  • Judges Choice: Certificate plus 2 Weekend Passes to next year

All second and third place winners in each category will receive a small trophy.

Sunday, November 14: Kids Costume Contest

photo/William Christopher Burgess

All kids ages 3-12 are welcome to join in the fun with our annual kids costume contest on the main stage on Sunday towards the end of the day! Any costume from any genre that fits the rules of the show are welcome to enter. A great chance for the kids to show off their costumes and have some fun!

How To Participate

  • Sign up at designated table the day of the event starting at 8 am until noon. Only 50 individual entries will be taken for this contest so sign up early!
  • Please bring with you a completed costume contest entry form which you can download here.
  • You will receive a lanyard with a  number that you will need at the costume contest. When signing up you will be asked for your real name, the character you are cosplaying, a phonetic spelling of that character, contact information including street address and email, and the series in which the character is represented.
  • Make sure a parent or guardian is present when signing up.
  • To be eligible for the kids contest the child’s costume must be at least 20% handmade or re-purposed.
  • All children who wish will be allowed to march in a costume parade beforehand on the main stage.
  • Sign up closes at 12 pm or when all slots are filled, whichever happens first.

Winner Categories

One kid will be picked as Best In Show and three Judges Choice/Honorable mentions

Prizes

  • Best In Show: Trophy
  • Judges Choice: Certificate

Sunday, November 14: Themed Costume Contest–Military

All fans are welcome to participate in our annual themed costume contest, which will be held after the kids costume contest on Sunday, November 14, towards the end of the day! This year’s theme is anything military, real or fictional, any universe. Any costume from any genre that fits the rules of the show are welcome to enter. 

How To Participate

  • Sign up at designated table the day of the event starting at 8 am until noon. Only 50 individual entries will be taken for this contest so sign up early!
  • Please bring with you a completed costume contest entry form which you can download here.
  • You will receive a lanyard with a  number that you will need at the costume contest. When signing up you will be asked for your real name, the character you are cosplaying, a phonetic spelling of that character, contact information including street address and email, and the series in which the character is represented.
  • Make sure a parent or guardian is present when signing up if a participant is under 18.
  • To be eligible for the themed costume contest the entry must be at least 50% handmade or re-purposed.
  • Absolutely no symbolism deemed fascist or racist, real or fictional, will be allowed.
  • Sign up closes at 12 pm or when all slots are filled, whichever happens first.

Winner Categories

One entry will be picked as Best In Show and three Judges Choice/Honorable mentions

Prizes

  • Best In Show: Two tickets to the November 2022 show, $200, and a trophy
  • Judges Choice: Certificate

Costume Contest Rules

photo/Jacky Petters

  1. All contest participants must have a Grand Rapids Comic-Con badge good for Saturday, November 13, the day of the Adult Costume Contest and Group Costume Contest.  All Children’s Costume and Themed Costume Contest participants must have a Grand Rapids Comic-Con badge good for Sunday, November 14. Badge must not be a complimentary or discounted badge so dealers, panelists, volunteer, press, and special guests are ineligible.

photo/Jacky Petters

2. Staff members of the Grand Rapids Comic-Con are not eligible for the costume contest. Invited costume group members (501st, GBMI, League of Enchantment, etc.) attending under a discounted or complimentary ticket are not eligible for the  costume contest.

3. Costume contest will be judged according to the categories posted for their own day.

4. Each person attending the show will be allowed to enter one (1) costume into one (1) category of the contest. If you enter a costume into the group contest, you cannot enter that same costume in other categories.

5. You may not enter a costume that you have entered at a previous year’s Grand Rapids Comic Con.

6. Adult costume contest will be for participants 13 years of age and older. Members that enter group contest may be any age.

7. All costumes must abide by the rules of the convention’s dress and weapons policy. You may find those policies here.

photo/William Christopher Burgess

photo/William Christopher Burgess

8. No glitter, confetti, pyrotechnics, live flames, fireworks, projectiles, or smoke generators of any kind are permitted.

9. Any props brought onstage must leave the stage with you within your allotted time or you will be disqualified.

10. You may use a model for the costume, but the person who created the costume must be present for the judging and costume contest. Prize will be awarded to the person who created the costume.

11. Group entries must be made by multiple members of the group. Every group member must be present for pre-judging.

12. No electrical connections will be provided. If your costume requires power it must be self-contained within the costume.

photo/Jacky Petters

13. Costumes are judged based on craftsmanship, detail work, accuracy, and overall presentation of the costume.

14. We have the right to reject an entry based on inappropriate, unsafe, or illegal behavior and/or violations of the family friendly nature of the convention.

15. All judges’ decisions are final.

16. Certain circumstances may require the rules to be changed without notice.