21 MARCH 2014
Now that spring is officially here, it's time for cosplayers to rev their engines and sign up to compete in The Masquerade. If you have a character you're dying to portray - from film, TV, comic books or your own imagination - this is your night.
For the first-timers, The Masquerade is a cosplay talent competition. The costumes are quite impressive and all homegrown; no professionally-sourced costumes are allowed, although The Masquerade does often serve as a stepping stone for people interested in professional careers in costume design and makeup.
While it's never been my thing, it is a major event at Comic-Con and attended by thousands of people. Awards are given out for Best in Show, Judges' Choice, Best Re-Creation, Best Original Design, Best Workmanship, Best Presentation, Most Beautiful and Best Young Fan; every category winner gets a free four-day badge to Comic-Con 2015. And those are just the category awards. A number of vendors hand out cash, collectibles and other prizes as well.
The deadline is 3 July, but early submissions are strongly recommended. You can find out more and apply here.