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2021 Maskerade Contest Rules

While we can’t see your gorgeous faces at the Naka-Kon March 2021 show, we’re hype to see them (well...half of them) at our virtual Mask-erade cosplay contest!

For the March 2021 cosplay contest, instead of a traditional cosplay contest, we’re celebrating personal protection, and the creativity of our contestants to make a mask that pairs well with a cosplay. Using your crafting know-how, create a mask that is functional, fashionable, and is themed from a Japanese media or culture source. Make a mask that represents the media source, or a mask you think a character or entity from that media source might wear. This contest encourages creativity so feel free to think outside the box.

This event was inspired by the Match your Mask-querade contest run by Anime Expo Lite (with permission). What a great way to celebrate our love of cosplay, creativity and keeping viruses away! 

View the entrants and see who won!


  • Like our social media pages!
  • Read all of the rules carefully.
  • Self-sort into your cosplay class.
  • Submit your entry materials via the registration link beginning Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 6:00 pm CST.
  • The submission close date is Friday, February 19, 2021 at 6:00 pm CST or until full.
  • Win a variety of prizes including craftsmanship awards, performance awards, and Best in Show during our Twitch stream on Saturday, March 13, 2021. Show time is TBD. 

General Rules

  • Like and/or follow Naka-Kon on a social media page of your choosing (Go off. Like ‘em all.)
  • There is a registration cap of 50 entries.
  • Entrants must submit all required submission materials by the deadline (See Submission materials and Registration sections).
  • All masks and costumes worn with the masks (if you choose to wear an accompanying costume) must be PG and adhere to Naka-Kon’s regular dress code policies which can be found here: Dress Code
  • All entrants must be 14 or older by the submission deadline of the virtual contest.
  • No entries may contain religious, political, insulting or offensive statements. We utilize the following definition of offensive cosplays: cosplays that incite violence, racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia, ageism, and bigotry. This includes race-facing (e.g. Blackface/Brownface) as well as costumes that replicate, or make light of historic or current international or national tragedies (this includes depictions of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in any way).
  • No video or photos may be filmed illegally, or without the consent of the person in the video. You must also have permission from your photographer or videographer before submitting your video.
  • Naka-Kon has always been a craftsmanship centered contest, and that remains true even in an online-centric event! All masks entered must be 90% created by the wearer. For example, you may purchase the ties if you wish, but the mask body must be made by the entrant.
  • One entry per person is allowed. You may not enter multiple times.
  • Even virtually, Naka-Kon is a Japanese culture convention, so masks should be based on licensed anime, manga, J-rock/Jpop, Japanese video games etc. Characters/inspiration not rooted in Japanese origin (e.g. the Avengers, Disney characters you might find in Kingdom Hearts) do not meet this requirement. You may enter a licensed-non-Japanese theme or character, but you will not be eligible to win the Best in Show award. There is no cap on the number of non-Japanese licensed characters that may be submitted, however.
  • Masks based on original characters are not allowed; however, masks designed around the fanart of existing characters are allowed.
    • Original characters are characters that are not licensed character from an existing series.
  • Current Naka-Kon staff members are not eligible to enter.
  • If you choose to wear a cosplay with your mask, it can be made or bought, worn to other contests, and may have placed in another contest. The cosplay you wear will not be a factor in your mask craftsmanship score. The Mask-erade contest focuses on how well your mask is created and presented.
  • Awards at the mask contest do not count as a category award, so it will not affect your class level at future Naka-Kon cosplay contests.
  • COVID-19 Considerations
    • In an effort to promote social-distancing and avoid undue risk of exposure to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), entries may only contain single participants. No groups or duos will be allowed.
    • Exercise appropriate caution and wash your hands.
    • Any photos or videos submitted may not be shot in stores or indoor locations that are not your home. This is to discourage unnecessary exposure/ spread of COVID-19.
  • If the mask is being worn by a model and not the creator, the award will go to the creator.
  • Each entrant may only submit one mask.
  • Cosplay contest staff reserve the right to disqualify anyone for any logical reason, including but not limited to: cheating, inappropriate behavior on Naka-Kon’s social media channels, disregard for COVID-19 mitigation measures, and offensive cosplays.

Scoring and Judging Guidelines

Participants will automatically be judged on two areas: craftsmanship and presentation.

Craftsmanship judging

Contestants will be judged based on how well they are able to construct the mask, using a variety of techniques to capture their character or theme. Judges will examine cleanliness of any sewn components, foamwork, painting and embellishments. Judges will also examine the complexity of technique and finishes used. The mask must also be wearable. If the mask looks cool, but there is no way to actually put it on, it will be taken into consideration.

Presentation Judging

Contestants will be judged based on the presentation of their mask. This includes how well the mask fits, how well the mask portrays or fits the character, and any additional styling the entrant prefers to add to their work. All entrants must submit a “display” photograph of their mask, which will be used to assess the final look, and will be displayed during the broadcast of the cosplay contest. Entrants may choose to wear a cosplay to accompany the mask, and/or submit a video to showcase the mask. While full cosplays and videos are not required for submissions, they will add to your overall presentation score.

Photo and/or video requirements:

  • Please upload all of your materials (Display photo, progress photos, reference image and video if desired) in a single folder to the Google Drive link available in the registration form. You will need a Google account to access the drive.
  • Make sure you have allowed “Editor” permissions to your folder.
  • Videos should be in MP4 format.
  • Videos must be no more than 20 seconds in length. Videos that are longer than 20 seconds will be clipped to 20 seconds.
  • Please use the “Stagename_Charactername” format when naming your folder and video.
  • Please submit photos/videos that are 1280x720 (720p) or 1920x1080 (1080p).
  • Please take your photos and videos in clean spaces, as your display photo and video will be put online for everyone to gaze at. Do not submit videos or photos that may accidentally contain personal information like bank information, credit card numbers, the innermost thoughts you’ve written in your diary, etc. Photos should also be clear enough for the judges to see your work.
  • There is no particular setting requirement, but please keep social distancing and CDC guidelines in mind. See General Rules regarding COVID-19 considerations.
  • Regarding videos, It’s your house--you can use as many glitter cannons, smoke effects and projectiles as you want as long as they are used with safety in mind.
  • Videos must not include any audio. Naka-Kon staff will provide royalty-free, unlicensed background music for your video.
  • Please do not submit any heavily edited photos. That makes it difficult to judge your work. We’re judging you on your ability to craft, not your photo editing skills.
  • You may, however, add as many edits as you wish to any video submissions. You will still be judged on your mask’s presentation, but since you won’t have access to our fancy stage, you’re welcome to get creative with your video editing.


All contestants will self-sort into class level. This ensures that each participant is judged fairly among those in their same skill level.

  • Beginner: Any contestant who has never won an award in any costume/cosplay contest, or has won 2 or fewer small cosplay awards (e.g., a judge’s choice award, or best beginner runner up).
  • Intermediate: Any contestant who has won two or fewer category awards in any costume/cosplay contest, or convention cosplay contest (e.g. Best Beginner, or Best Beginner craftsmanship).
  • Master: Any contestant who has won three or more category awards in any costume/cosplay contest, or convention cosplay contest, or someone who has income exceeding $10,000 per year from costuming, cosplay, sewing, prop construction, wig construction/styling, or any other costume/cosplay-related field.

Please note the cosplay contest team reserves the right to move you to an appropriate class at any time without prior warning in the interest of the integrity of the contest.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to email


Prize packs TBD

Awards to be distributed will include:

  • Best in Show
  • Master Class awards: Best Overall, Best Craftsmanship, Best Presentation
  • Intermediate awards: Best overall, Best Craftsmanship, Best Presentation
  • Beginner Awards: Best overall, Best Craftsmanship, Best Presentation
  • Judge’s choice awards and other goodies! 

Submission Materials

  • A Google Drive folder with “Editor” access settings open containing the following:
    • At least one (1) reference image
    • Up to five (5) progress photos
    • One (1) full body complete photo of you or your model in costume to be judged for presentation and shown during the stream. This is your “display” photo.
    • A video (optional) of no more than 20 seconds in length in MP4 format. The resolution should be 1280x720 (720p) or 1920x1080 (1080p).
  • Entry form questionnaire (be prepared to answer the following in the registration form)
    • What elements of your mask did you make?
    • What materials did you use to make your mask?
    • Is there anything else about your cosplay you’d like the judges to know?
    • What text would you like our MCs to read about your costume during the Twitch stream?
    • Please note that the MC text may be edited for time and content.


Registration will open on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. CST and close on February 19, 2021 at 6:00p.m. CST.

Register here

Questions, comments, or concerns? Please email!