2024 Cosplay Divisions

Last Updated: 5/22/24

The divisions of the cosplay contest are intended to make sure each contestant is judged fairly. These divisions are a guideline and are intended to provide a framework for contestants to choose where to apply; if you believe your presentation and workmanship belong in a particular category, please contact the cosplay events coordinator at cosplayevents@kuronekocon.com for more information about applying outside the recommended division.

There has been changes to divisions this year that affect:

  • Percentage of costume that must be made for each division
  • Intermediate has been changed to Journeyman
  • Expert has been changed to Master
  • Clarification of division breakdowns
  • Return of the Cosplay Walk-On Parade



Master: $200

Journeyman: $150

Original Design: $125

Novice: $75

Youth: $50

Guest of Honor Judge’s Choice: Prizes donated by our sponsors

Cosplay Contest cash and sponsored prizes must be picked up at the Control Booth in the Exhibitor Hall during KuroNekoCon unless otherwise provided. Awards will be awarded in person at Closing Ceremonies. If you do not show up to claim your prize the Cosplay Event Coordinator will try to the best of their ability to get it to you. However, the Event Coordinator is not legally obligated to deliver prizing. 

Cosplay Walk-On Parade

The Cosplay Walk-On Parade is an event where anyone is welcome to walk the stage without the pressure of a contest. Show off your costume and enjoy the spotlight stress free! Will be hosted later after the Cosplay Contest.


Youth Division

This division is intended for participants who are 12 or younger on the day of the convention.

  • Parents used as “props” for small children do not bump children into an adult class. This also means that we will be judging only the person under 12 years old. If the adult is also wearing a costume they will not be taken into consideration during judging.
  • This category is judged under the same criteria as the Novice category.

Original Design Division

This division is intended for original characters, and originally designed gijinkas, genderbends that are an original design based on the original character, and fan interpretations of characters or fanart.

  • Designs and costumes must be the sole creation of the participant to enter this division. If your costume is based off of artwork that was not designed by you, you should enter your costume in the appropriate Novice, Journeyman, or Master categories with proper credits to the artist.

Novice Division

This division is intended for those who have made at least 50% of their costume and are newer to the world of cosplay and sewing.

  • This percentage does not include shoes, undergarments, stocking, and wig.
  • In this division wigs are not expected to be modified.
  • Novice Division is intended for people with very little cosplay experience and beginning level of sewing/crafting techniques.
  • Contestants should have a basic foundation in crafting/sewing and showcase their strengths (eg. solid seams, basic garment construction, clean solutions to crafting problems or challenges, etc.) 

Journeyman Division

This division is intended for those who have made from 50% to 90% of their costume themselves and are cosplayers with greater experience in craftsmanship and/or sewing.

  • This percentage does not include shoes, undergarments, stockings, and wig.
  • In this division wigs are expected to be styled but do not need to be heavily modified.
  • Journeyman division is intended for people with a decent amount of cosplay experience/crafting and/or some awards.
  • All props should have the visible portions of the prop constructed by the cosplayer
  • Contestants should have a solid foundation in crafting and begin to showcase higher levels of craftsmanship (eg. advanced seam types, more complicated garment construction, use of different techniques to portray patterns/textiles, etc.) 

Master Division

This division is intended for those who have made from 90% to 100% of their costume themselves and are seasoned cosplayers with lots of experience in craftsmanship and/or sewing.

  • This percentage does not include shoes, undergarments, and stockings. Alterations to shoes, undergarments, and stockings will be taken into consideration when judging, but will not count against you if they did not need altering.
  • Styling and/or Alterations to the wig is required. This should be accurate to the character which may include cutting, teasing, curling, dyeing, etc. Depending on the character, there may be more extreme adjustments involved like reconstruction of the wig’s shape and core elements.
  • Makeup accuracy and application quality will be taken into account when judging. If your character canonically does not wear makeup this will not be counted against you, but most costumes will benefit from at least a small amount of stage makeup.
  • All props should be handmade by you.
  • Contestants should have an extensive foundation in crafting and showcase their mastery of craftsmanship and techniques (eg. Extremely clean garment/prop construction, use of many different techniques to portray textures, volume, and movement. Masterful execution of known techniques, etc.) 
  • The Master division is intended for skilled cosplayers with extensive cosplay experience, masterful crafting techniques, and/or several awards.
  • Anyone who has won two or more awards as a Journeyman, or achieved Master status at another major convention should enter into the Master division.

Judges may find the need to adjust categories as needed after interviewing with the contestant;

E.g., a contestant demonstrating exceptional skill with many years of experience entering the novice division, however the contestant will always be informed of this decision and have a chance to speak with judges before the decision is finalized.

Cosplay Contest Judging Categories

Overall Look of the Costume (20%)

Judges will consider the presentation of the costume unrelated to the character. They look to see how clean, pressed, and well-constructed the costume is, and keep in mind if a distressed or incomplete look is appropriate. Judges will look for even coverage and clean finishes.

Accuracy to Character/Originality (10%)

Judges will consider makeup, props, wig, and fabrics to determine how accurate and

true-to-character the costume is. If this is an interpretation of the character, originality will be taken into consideration, such as how the contestant chooses to style and construct garments to fit their body or interpret aspects of the character.

Execution of Sewing Technique (25%)

Judges will score the execution of fabric costume construction. They are looking for a clean and crisp finished product with controlled and even lines.

  • Fabrics that are more difficult to work with will garner more points only when they are appropriate to the character, their time period, and circumstances. Put yourself in the character’s shoes and ask “What would this be made out of if it were real?”
  • Stitch difficulty will be considered, a costume requiring difficult technique to master such as scalloped edges will garner more points than simpler techniques.
  • Pattern difficulty may be taken into account, as well as whether you altered or hand patterned your costume.
  • Hand stitching and hand embroidery will be considered when applicable. Choosing to hand stitch your entire costume when it does not affect the overall appearance of your costume will not garner you extra points.

Execution of Crafting Technique (25%)

Judges will score the execution of non-fabric costume construction. They are looking for a well

finished product that shows a controlled application of your chosen materials.

  • Surface treatments to apply color or texture to a cosplay component should look clean and purposeful. For example, if a prop is made of wood but it is supposed to look like metal, it should be finished in a way that hides as much wood grain as possible.
  • Creative problem solving will have an impact on all components (eg. How do you incorporate a design element that doesn’t move well when created in real life? How do you adapt a floating costume element? Where do you put closures/snaps that are needed to get into a costume/hold it up that don’t appear in the original outfit? etc.)
  • Costume pieces and props should be sturdy! Your props and armor should not be falling off on stage or breaking under its own weight.

Wig and Makeup (15%)

Judges consider the accuracy to the character and how many alterations the contestant has made to the wig, if present, from cutting, styling, additional hair added, and color modifications. Accuracy and application of makeup if present will be taken into consideration.

Stage Presence (5%)

The goal of this is to look and act as much like your character as possible. Gestures, phrases, and body language performed in-character may score higher. Audience reaction will not be taken into account

Judging Method

Judges will assign a score to each category that is weighted appropriately for said category. There will be a total of 100 points divided across the categories based on the percentage they are assigned listed above.

For Judge’s Choice

The winner will be determined as follows:

That year’s guest of honor judge will choose the winner based on whatever criteria they feel is fair and appropriate for that year’s pool of contestants.