Masquerade at WorldCon!

"Mythological Loki." Best Workmanship, Novice Category. Created and presented by Sarah Sanders. Photo by Anastasia Webster.

“Mythological Loki.” Best Workmanship, Novice Category. Created and presented by Sarah Sanders. Photo by Anastasia Webster.

“A fabulous show!” – A Judge

The 74th WorldCon Masquerade took place on August 19th at MidAmeriConII in Kansas City. The costume contest was one of the highlights of the weekend and was conducted according to ICG guidelines. Costumes were judged in two categories. The workmanship category is concerned only with how a costume is built, not what it looks like. Workmanship judging takes place in the green room, before the show begins. The second category is performance. Judges see what the audience sees and takes into consideration not only the costumes but how well they are presented, as well as the music and choreography selected.

Competitors enter in three different skill levels–Novice, Journeyman, and Master. A Novice is a beginning costumer who has never won a major award at any large masquerade event. Journeymen costumers have won between one and three major awards. Once they have achieved three, they must move up into the master category.

This year’s masquerade was a fantastic affair featuring 34 entries—two in the young fan category and the rest a mixture of novices, journeymen, and masters. The event was emceed by the well-known and much beloved John Hertz, who entertained with elephant jokes in between the presentations. Video footage of past Masquerades were provided to the waiting audience courtesy of the International Costumer’s Guild Peg and Peggy Memorial Archive.

"Apparition Eliminator." "It Lights Up and Spins," Novice Category. Created and presented by Zachary Miles. Photo by Anastasia Webster.

“Apparition Eliminator.” “It Lights Up and Spins,” Novice Category. Created and presented by Zachary Miles. Photo by Anastasia Webster.

Steampunk costuming made a notable appearance in the novice category in the entry “Apparition Eliminator.” This steampunk inspired ghost-busters costume was created by Zachary Miles. Originally intended as a hall costume, he was told he must enter the Masquerade. He obliged and won an award for “It Lights up and Spins.”

Best Novice Presentation went to Victorian Twilight Sparkle created and presented by Rosemary Williams. Everypony got to step up and learn to time travel in this demonstration by Twilight Sparkle. Her potion didn’t completely work but don’t worry, she can explain away her horn and her wings by claiming they’re the latest in French fashion.

Even Loki put in an appearance, dazzling the emcee, and walking away with Best Novice Workmanship.

Two of the entries were recreations of artwork by Guest of Honor Kinuko Y. Craft. Best Journeyman Workmanship went to Cinderella, and Judge’s Choice was awarded to the Master Level entry “Spirit of the Tea.”

Best in Master Class went to Flights of Fantasy, an original design inspired by history and literature, Flights of Fantasy took the audience through all our wildest dreams of flight, from Icarus and his wax-work wings, to steampunk airships, jet packs, astronauts, and dragonriders. Presented by Tim Morgan, Lorretta Morgan, Iain Miller, Meredith Hines, and Russ Miller. Electronics, Lights, sound, audio, video by Tim Morgan.

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Photo by Anastasia Webster.

Best in Show was awarded to the Master Class entry “Troll Bridge.” What happens when you don’t pay your bridge toll? Bridge trolls! Four generations of costumers came together to present this masterpiece of costuming and performance. Designed and built by Susan Eisenhour, presented by Susan Eisenhour, Joyce Blakesley, Isabell Robinson, Quincy Robinson, Paul Elmer, Kate Elmer, Freya Elmer, Juliet Elmer, Darrin Blom, Richard Blom, and Margaret Blom.

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Photo by Anastasia Webster.

Young Fan Awards

Most Adorable went to Zachary Rohwer for Young Sherlock.
Also Most Adorable went to Grayson Rohwer for the 10th Doctor from Doctor Who.

The Judges

All of the judges were master class costumers with multiple awards, and years of experience.

Tanglewyst de Holloway is the author of “Surviving your own creativity” as well as a novels series “Saintland.” She has judged over 200 competitions and is the corresponding secretary for the International Costumers Guild. You can follow her on twitter at @tangltweets.

Ms. Karen Schnaubelt founded CostumeCon in response to an overflow of costume-related panels at WorldCon. She is considered an early adopter of anime-based cosplay and is published in The Starfleet Technical Manual, The Costume-Maker’s Art, and Cosplay World.

Kathy Pepmiller has 34 years experience performing and judging, emceeing and directing masquerades, but beyond that she is a bit of a mystery, having no social media account and no official biography.

Jill Eastlake is not just a judge but a vital part of WorldCons. She has worked in Operations, Volunteers, Events, Masquerades, and Art Show Director, as well as organizing, judging, and competing in Masquerades.

Aurora Celeste was a Guest of Honor at MidAmericonI, and has served as vice-president of the International Costumers Guild. She gives panels and enters costumes contests at conventions around the world, often serving as staff when she isn’t presenting. She writes about costuming on her blog dramaticthreads.com


Katie Lynn Daniels is the author of Supervillain of the Day, and the mastermind behind Vaguely Circular. She blogs about science and things that are peripherally related to science. You can read all her posts here.


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