Cosplay Competition Rules


DEF Cosplay Competition Guidelines

Our vision for the Decibel Entertainment Festival (DEF) is to create a rip-roaring festival weekend for all ages. To maintain a family-friendly environment, we have established the guidelines below for Cosplay. Failure to comply can result in being asked to cover-up, change clothes or ejection from DEF.

Although we strive to be as detailed as possible, this is not an all-inclusive list. DEF reserves the right to determine if your costume is appropriate. We strongly advise you to contact us in advance if you have questions. Let’s get started.

Cosplay Costumes

  • Costumes must be street-legal and suitable for all audiences, as DEF is an all-ages event. Laws of public decency apply.
  • No one will be permitted to be topless in DEF. Genitalia and/or nipples must not be visible through the costume. Liquid latex/ body paint do NOT constitute a costume. All “private parts” must be covered by actual clothing and you may use liquid latex/body paint as an enhancement.
  • Appropriate footwear is recommended at all times. If your costume calls for bare feet, you may proceed at your own risk. DEF will not be liable for any injury sustained due to lack of appropriate footwear.
  • The illusion of nudity is unacceptable. No Exceptions.
  • DEF officials reserve the right to make final judgment calls on what is “decent”. If staff feels that your costume is indecent or inappropriate in any way, you will be asked to change or cover it.

DEF reserves the right to deny any/or all costumes not deemed appropriate and/or safe.



ALL WEAPONS must be inspected and approved by DEF Officials prior to being carried or displayed in public areas. If you are found to be in violation of this policy, you will be escorted off the premises immediately.

DEF reserves the right to deny any/or all costumes not deemed appropriate and/or safe.

The following projectile weapons are NOT permitted at DEF:

  • Dart guns
  • BB guns
  • Crossbows
  • Real firearms

Projectile weapons are limited to the following (*upon inspection by DEF security):

  • Replica/Artificial firearms
  • Projectile weapons may not fire any type of solid, liquid or gas
  • All projectile weapons with moveable triggers are required to be zip tied in place (peace-bonded)

No live steel (edged metal weapons) will be permitted. Bladed replica weapons must be made of a non-metal, non-sharp material, must be no more than 72 inches in length, and must be approved by DEF Security.

DEF reserves the right to deny any/or all costumes not deemed appropriate and/or safe.

Props & Accessories Policy

  • Metal props may not be carried in public areas. This applies to any large props and weapons, as well as small hand props such as shuriken, fans, wrenches or other items. Metal is permitted on the costume itself, provided it extends no more than 2 inches from the body in any direction, is in no way sharp, and does not present a safety hazard, as determined by DEF officials.
  • Use caution when carrying or displaying large props. If you are seen wielding a large prop in a reckless or dangerous manner, you will be asked to leave DEF.
  • If DEF officials feel that your prop poses a risk to others, you will be asked to remove the item from public areas, or it may be confiscated.
  • No adult-themed props/paraphernalia are permitted.

Military Attire

  • If you intend to wear a uniform that appears realistic, distinguish that it is a costume.
  • If your costume could be mistaken for current military or law enforcement, it is prohibited.
  • Camouflage apparel is prohibited by law.
  • No gang signs, no racist symbols.
  • Emblems of genocide are prohibited.

DEF reserves the right to deny any/or all costumes not deemed appropriate and/or safe.

Prohibited Materials

  • Inflammable materials such as candles, fireworks, sparklers, liquid fuels or other fire hazards are strictly prohibited. Small personal smoking paraphernalia (cigarettes, lighter, etc.) may be carried, but may not be used in DEF public areas.
  • Drones and dirigibles, flying objects.

At the discretion of DEF officials on site, the following may be permitted (all of the below items are still subject to approval onsite and we reserve the right to refuse any prop):

  • Plastic and metal shields (metal shields must demonstrate no sharp edges)
  • Lightweight plastic, PVC props and lightsabres; must be clearly and visibly a prop
  • Bows that are loosely strung and incapable of shooting arrows
  • Plastic, cardboard or foam props

All props must be peace bonded by DEF Cosplay team. Peace bonding is mandatory. You may also be checked at any time by DEF Cosplay officials.

Do not brandish props in a threatening manner. Be aware of how DEF security personnel may interpret your actions, in or outside of DEF public areas.

Violation of these rules could result in ejection from DEF.

DEF cannot be responsible for damage incurred to your costume during the event, and reserves the right to ask you to change if your outfit is not acceptable.

Although we will try to accommodate cosplayers, DEF will not be responsible for storing or watching any part of your costume for any amount of time.

The Competition


There will be a mandatory 3-minute presentation of your costume to the judges during pre- judging. Depending on the complexity and detail, the judges may request additional time to observe and properly judge your costume during the actual show.

Entrants must leave the stage as clean as it was when they first walked on it. Glitter, confetti, silly string, etc. will not be allowed on stage.

Absolutely no flame or pyrotechnical props are permitted.

Audio / Visual

The DEF Cosplay performance stage, will be able to facilitate audio and visual elements that can enhance the Cosplayer’s presentation.

All Audio / Visual files must be Uploaded to the DEF Cosplay website or emailed to by no later than Friday 4th May, 2018.

DEF will not accept lighting requests e.g. turning the lights off or down.

Entrant Arrival

On the day of the event, contestants must arrive on time for check in, check back for this time and location info. During this time, depending on entries, we may begin pre-show judging with the judges. Pre-judging is mandatory and there will be NO late entries once prejudging has ended. NO EXCEPTIONS.
There will an area designated for Cosplayers to dress.

Check back for more details on that time and location. You are allowed and encouraged to wear your costume on the DEF common areas during the day. You will receive an email detailing check-in times and location once you are confirmed as an entry (separate email).

DEF reserves the right to deny any/or all costumes not deemed appropriate and/or safe.

The Contest

All contestants are required to appear on stage. Contestants will be lined up as per their assigned order determined at check in. Each individual entry (1-2 people) will have a maximum of 60 seconds of stage time, each group will have 90 seconds, and skit entries will have 90 seconds to perform. Should entrants go over the time limit, they will run the risk of being abruptly cut short by the organizers and possible disqualification from the contest.

Only registered entrants are allowed in the Green Room and staging area. Please be aware that this means friends, children not participating in the contest, and animals are not to accompany entrants. Costumes must allow freedom of movement to navigate stairs. Please notify the DEF Cosplay director when you register if you require an assistant for larger costumes.

An area called the DEF COSPITAL will be designated for any last-minute repairs or amendments to any Cosplayer costume. Please note that there will only be basic tools available at the DEF COSPITAL.

On Stage

The emcee will read the submitted introduction as each contestant approaches the stage. DEF DJ’s will provide an epic soundtrack for the walk on performances.

Walk-on contestants, be prepared to field a question from the judges about your costume or character.

Contestants who will be performing to specific music/or pre-recorded dialogue must submit the track in MP3 or WAV format prior to the deadline (Friday 4th May, 2018). Your track must be edited to fit within the allotted appearance times. Contestants will be notified upon registration how and when to submit their file.

Contestants requiring a specific background must submit the graphic in JPEG, AVI, or MPEG format prior to deadline (Friday 4th May, 2018).

DEF Cosplay Judging

Contestants will appear on stage in front of a panel of judges who will be scoring each entry on the following criteria:

Costume: complete head to toe character, fit and scale, accuracy to the source material or believability as an original creation, overall visual impact, creativity and originality of the costume

Presentation: appearing in character, Q&A, stage presence, overall preparation

Audience Impact: fun factor, audience response (we understand that not everyone is an actor, often a good pose is sometimes enough to “sell” the character)

The pre-judging score will be included in calculating the overall cosplayer total.

The Fine Print

The DEF Cosplay director has full authority to eliminate anyone from the competition on the grounds of unsportsmanlike conduct witnessed backstage, violation of the rules, or any other reason deemed sufficient. There is no appeal. Arguing with the DEF Director may result in further action taken, such as a lifetime ban on participating in any future DEF Cosplay Contests.

Contestants are expected to obey all laws governing DEF and the venue location. Those who do not comply will be removed from the premises and their bands/badges will be revoked without warning. If the nature of the infraction is severe, the proper authorities will be contacted.