Worldcon 75

The 75th World Science Fiction Convention, 9-13 August 2017, Messukeskus, Helsinki, Finland


If you are thinking about participating in the Worldcon 75 Masquerade, please start by reading the Basic Information, Presentation Rules, and Division Info.

We have provided the Rules in two formats, for your convenience (identical information is provided in each version):

  • As a PDF (best for printing) – available later.
  • As a web page – just keep on reading here.

Masquerade – Rules

Welcome to the Worldcon 75 Masquerade. We are your Co-Directors, Debi Chowdhury and Christine Doyle. If you are curious about us, follow this link.

We have some basic info here, the rules (i.e., things that can get you disqualified), an explanation of competition vs exhibition entries, presentation vs workmanship judging, and an explanation about division placement (including a helpful diagram).

Please remember, this competition is not all about you. It is all about you and your fellow competitors. By respecting the rules and procedures of this competition, you help ensure that everyone gets a fair shake.

These rules may be updated before the convention.

Shael Hawman as Crochet Cruella deVille at MAC2 2016, photo by Christine Doyle.


The Masquerade will be held Saturday August 12, 2017, starting at 19:30, in Hall 1 at Messukeskus.

  • Required: Check in with the Masquerade Desk on Thursday or Friday to submit your entry forms (or review them, if you entered them online) and schedule your Tech Rehearsal time. The location will be announced later.
  • If this is your first Worldcon Masquerade, we recommend you attend the What to expect as a Masquerade Contestant panel. This may be useful even if this is not your first masquerade.
  • Required: Attend the Masquerade Participant meeting on Saturday morning in Messukeskus Hall 1. Check the schedule for final details.
  • Required: Do not miss your tech rehearsal on Saturday during the day. While you do not have to be in full costume, be sure to bring any problematic pieces (props, shoes, anything you will be manipulating on stage) for rehearsal. Bringing (if not wearing) costume parts that show the major colour components of your costume is also wise.
  • The Backstage Green Room will open at 18:00. Check in and get your official photos taken. If you are participating in Workmanship Judging, this is where it will happen. All contestants must be checked in by 19:00 if they are not being judged for workmanship.
  • The show begins promptly at 19:30 on Saturday. After everyone has crossed the stage, there will be a half-time entertainment which you are welcome to enjoy, followed by presentation of the awards.

If you have any questions, please e-mail us at


These divisions are based on the International Costumers Guild (ICG) rules. For more information, see their website at

Any contestant may enter in the Master division.
Professional costumers may not enter in the Journeyman division.
A contestant who has competed and won in the Master division at an international competition may not enter in the Journeyman division.
A contestant who has won “Best in Show” or “Best Journeyman” at an international competition may not enter in the Journeyman division.
A contestant who has won more than three major awards in the Journeyman division in international competition may not enter in the Journeyman division.
Professional costumers may not enter in the Novice division.
A contestant who has competed and won in the Journeyman or the Master division at an international competition may not enter in the Novice division.
A contestant who has won “Best in Show” or “Best Novice” at an international competition may not enter in the Novice division.
A contestant who has won more than two major awards in the Novice division at international competitions may not enter in the Novice division.
Young Fan:
The Young Fan division is only open to competitors of age 13 or under who have participated in the design and construction of their costumes.
If a costume is entirely adult-designed and adult-constructed, it may not be entered in the Young Fan division.
The exhibition division is a presentation-only division. Exhibition entries are not judged, nor are they eligible for any award.
Entries that have already won awards at other conventions and have not been significantly modified may enter in the Exhibition division.
Group Entries:
Groups should compete at the level of the most experienced member(s).


  • International: International competitions include, but are not limited to, the masquerades at Worldcon and Costume Con.
  • Professional: Any person who made more than 1/2 of their annual income from costuming in any of the last 5 years qualifies as a “professional”.
  • Major Award: Any award that is not qualified by “Honorable Mention”.

Any competitor may enter in a more advanced division than they are placed. If you need advice on the appropriate division in which to enter, contact the masquerade directors.

The below diagram may help.

Diagram of the Divisions in the Masquerade, made by Johanna Mead.

Presentation Rules

If you violate any of these rules, you may be disqualified and dropped from the competition.

  1. All contestants must be attending members of Worldcon 75, in Helsinki. If the maker and presenter are different people, both must be attending members.
  2. Purchased and rented costumes may not be entered.
  3. A costume may not be entered in competition if it has won “Best in Show” or “Best in Division” at another international competition. It may be entered in the Exhibition division (not in competition).
  4. Each presenter may only appear on stage in a single entry. One body, one presentation.
  5. This is a family-friendly show. If you would not let your children see you in the costume, it is probably not appropriate. No costume is “no costume”. (Sometimes called the PG Rule.)
  6. No live animals are allowed on stage with the exceptions of a) people and b) service animals.
  7. No materials or effects that will leave a mess on stage or in the green room are allowed. No materials or effects that may ruin another entrant’s costume are allowed. (The “No Chocolate Sauce” or “No Peanut Butter” rule.)
  8. No pyrotechnics or any other open flames are allowed.
  9. All special effects must be reviewed with us before contestant meeting (the earlier, the better).
  10. Attending the contestant meeting is required. The meeting will be held on Saturday, August 12, in the Messukeskus Hall 1.
  11. Attending tech rehearsal is required. You need it to get a feel for the stage. We need it to make sure that the crew has all the information they need to support your entry.
  12. Individual entries are granted 60 seconds on stage. Group entries are granted 90 seconds on stage. Additional time may be granted if you can show us that you will use it well. Requests for additional time should be made early (i.e. as soon as you know how long you want). Last-minute requests (any point after your paperwork is turned in) will not be looked upon favourably.

Robert Mitchell as Captain Kangaroo at Sasquan 2015, photo by John O’Halloran.

Helpful Hints

We want you to get the most out of participating in the Masquerade competition. And we want you to be relaxed because you know what to expect. You do not have to follow these suggestions, but they will make things easier.

Ashley Bilke as Sarabi the Gryphon at MAC2 2016, photo by Christine Doyle.

There is no rule against wearing your competition costume in the halls before the Masquerade, but it may lessen the impact it has on the audience and judges if it has been widely seen before the show. We recommend waiting until the Masquerade to reveal your creation.

All entrants are encouraged to participate in workmanship judging. You cannot win a workmanship award if you are not judged.

If you are entering a re-creation costume, bring documentation. An A4- or letter-size colour photocopy or colour print of your source should be sufficient to show the judges what you are trying to recreate. The judges have the option to ignore anything more than that. Video, CDs and USB drives are right out. PAPER, please.

If you think a personal or business relationship with a judge will make it difficult for the judge to be objective, please talk to us. We will consult with the judging panel, and we will come up with a reasonable course of action.

There is no power available from the stage. Do not plan an entry that requires it.

Do not design an entry that depends on complex lighting. We will be working with tech to provide the best, most sophisticated support we can, but based on past experience, we do not have the time nor capabilities for more than lights up/down and some basic colour tones.

Do not plan to use a microphone. The only person who has a microphone is the Master of Ceremonies. Spoken narrative must be pre-recorded or provided as a script for the MC when you register.

Pre-recorded music and narration should be submitted ahead of time. Format details are still pending.

Make a packing list that includes all of the pieces you need to bring. Do not forget shoes or makeup. Consider including photos of the pieces and you wearing the complete costume.

Make a repair kit with basics as well as any special items you may need to fix a problem with your costume.

The “5-copy rule” is a good guideline. Terrible things can happen to paperwork and computer files; make a master and 4 copies. Pack them in separate bags. E-mail a copy to yourself and a friend. We have seen too many people lose their only copy.