April 7 – 9
San Diego, CA

Cosplay

All fandoms welcome. DreamHack welcomes all cosplayers from all fandoms.
Gaming, anime, books, graphic novels, etc – cosplay is for everyone!

Cosplay at DreamHack san diego

Calling all cosplayers, cosplay curious, and fans of creative crafters! DreamHack has everything to fill your schedule with Cosplay activities. Looking to interact with the cosplay world? Meet our invited guests in the Cosplay Corner, take pictures with themed backdrops, learn more about the crafting world in various panel sessions, and attend the Main Stage competition on Saturday evening!

Are you a cosplayer yourself? All fandoms are welcome to compete in our $3000 competition, submit panel sessions, apply to be an invited guest, and take advantage of our cosplay amenities.

Follow @DHCosplay to make sure you get the latest news.

where creativity comes to life

Watch cosplay

Join us at the Main Stage on Saturday evening at 7 pm (time subject to change) to watch the finals of our Cosplay Competition! Looking for more? Stay tuned for our panel schedule! You can also meet invited guests at the Cosplay Corner for the duration of the festival!

Times subject to change as we get closer to the event.

OUR COSPLAY AMENITIES

We know day-one registration can sometimes have a bit of a line, which isn’t always the easiest thing to do in a cosplay. Our crew will be on the lookout for attendees actively in cosplay and will be there to help you skip the line. Yes, your handler can jump the line with you.

Take the wig off, grab a snack, and relax in our cosplay lounge – exclusive to cosplayers 

and their handlers. You’re welcome to hang out, take advantage of our dressing rooms, and get some peace from the bustle of a con during the event. Plus, you’ll have access to various repair supplies and a basic photography set up.

We have tape, we have paint, we have glue guns galore and more! The cosplay repair station is an ever growing and changing repair kit that we add to every event, providing a quick and easy way to touch up your cosplay and repair unforeseen complications on the go! Stop by the cosplay lounge any time during main convention hours and our staff will do their best to help.

Lights, camera, action! Meet your favorite Cosplayers, grab a picture, and learn more about their craft. Cosplay Guests will be invited to exhibit with us at the show – sell prints, hop up on stage for fun activities, and have a chance to meet your fans in your own space. Interested in being a guest? Let us know!

We have a zero tolerance policy for harassment and have taken extra time to train our volunteers and security personnel to make sure you have a safe and fun convention experience. Cosplay is not consent and we support a see something, say something policy. Please feel free to report any issues at any time to our staff, crew, and/or security. 

Cosplay props will be subject to a security check and may be zip-tied to mark that the prop is safe and has been checked. Edged weapons, blunt force weapons, functioning projectile weapons (guns, bows, airsoft, pellet/bb, blow gun etc) are NOT allowed. Admission is subject to security’s approval, however we will aim to have cosplay knowledgeable volunteers and staff there to assist if there are any questions. 

Sign up to submit your own ideas for panel sessions!

FREE 3-DAY PASS FOR COMPETITORS

DreamHack welcomes all signed-up cosplayers to enjoy our festival 24/7; from Friday at 10:00am, until Sunday at 7pm, when the festival closes. To be eligible for a free Cosplay Pass you have to participate in the Cosplay Competition.

compete

IN OUR $3000 COSPLAY COMPETITION

Accepted contestants receive one complimentary 3-day pass and a single-use 50% discount code for their handler. We will accept 30-35 contestants pre-event, and hold 10 spots open for sign-ups on-site. Pre-judging will be on the morning of April 8th in the Cosplay Lounge (2nd floor) with the Main Stage show Saturday evening. Participation in both is required to be eligible to place. Placement in the top three of any category comes with 2x tickets to a future DreamHack event of your choosing (travel not included).

EXPERT

Place top 5 in 4+ competitions

1st - $1,000
2nd - $500
3rd - $300

ARTISAN

Place top 5 in 1-3 competitions

1st - $400
2nd - $300
3rd - $150

NOVICE

New to competing

1st - $200
2nd - $100
3rd - $50

If you have not competed before, you may enter any tier you would like, and judges, reserve the right to move you to a different tier based on your experience and skill. If you are a seasoned competitor, you must enter the tier that represents your previous experience.

  • Contestants must be over 18 to compete – cosplayers under 18 are welcome to walk in the stage show, but are not eligible to compete at this time
  • Contestants must be at both pre-judging and the stage show to be eligible to win
  • All cosplays will be judged based on the rubric shown below
  • A valid convention badge is required to compete
  • Content should not go beyond PG-13, as the con is family-friendly: Offensive language of any kind is not allowed—no racial or sexual epithets; no profanity, etc. No excessive violence. No sexual activity or contact—real or implied.
  • All costumes must be at least 60% self crafted. (Assistance from a friend is fine, but commissions and purchased pieces must be 40% or less of the costume). Altering/thrifting/updating purchased pieces is allowed as long as the changes are significant (at the judges discretion)
  • Judges reserve the right to change your competition tier at any point
  • Costumes MAY NOT have won a competition previous to Friday, April 7, 2023
  • “Dabbing”, drug references, etc are not allowed.
  • All costumes must be self-contained, including no fire, flame, smoke, fog, dry ice, wind machines, lasers, pressurized gasses or liquids, messy substances—wet, dry, or oily, including glitter, flower petals, etc in the green room or on stage.
  • No jumping on or off stage—please use the officially designated stage entrances and exits.
  • No Stage fighting (one foot must remain on the stage at all times and any mock fighting must be done at a distance and at half speed – no physical contact)
  • Contestants may not use stage time to make political, religious, insulting, or other demonstrations not related to their entry.
  • Sportsmanship is important. Any bullying will not be tolerated and result in disqualification and/or removal from the festival.
 

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Craftsmanship (40 / 30 / 20)

Overall cosplay execution and creativity. 

Clean stitching, use of highlighting and shadows, clean wig styling, smooth armor edges, finishing techniques etc. 

Most details are clean and finished, one technique/element less polished. 

Details are present, but finishing touches are missing. Seams may be unfinished, rough armor edges, no shadows/highlights etc

Minimal details, techniques are mostly poorly executed, cosplay not entirely finished

No details, techniques are poorly executed, cosplay is unfinished

Technical Difficulty (40 / 30 / 20)

Level of complexity of the cosplay selected. Variety of techniques used. Purchased items only count against you if no transformation has been done.

Cosplay uses 3 or more main materials, 3 or more techniques used AND less than 10% purchased.  

Cosplay uses 2-3 main materials, and 2-3 different techniques AND less than 20% purchased. 

Cosplay uses 1-2 materials and 1-2 different techniques OR 30-40% purchased. 

Cosplay sticks to a couple basic techniques OR 40 – 50% purchased. 

Cosplay relies on a single technique OR more than 50% is purchased. 

Accuracy (10 / 10 / 10)

How closely does the cosplay represent the source? This can be screen accuracy or creative embellishment/adaptation. 

Accurate base cosplay, all relevant props, wigs, contacts etc included.

Accurate base cosplay. Missing one important element (prop, wig styling, texture/color, body paint, detailing)

Mostly accurate. Missing 2-3 important details such as a major prop, patterns, accurate body paint

Minimal resemblance to the character, maybe has correct colors or styling but is missing major design elements

Minimal resemblance to character and/or spirit of the character. 

Character Embodiment (5 / 10 / 20)

Spirit of the character, knowledge and passion 

Cosplayer knows character backstory and presence, bonus for knowing key phrases.



—-

Cosplayer has a general idea of the character, but no deep knowledge. 



—-

Cosplayer does not know much about the character outside of the general design.  

Stage Presence (5 /10 / 10)

Confidence, presence, “star power” associated with the character and cosplay

Cosplayer is confident and can act out different character poses/voice lines. Has good energy. 

Cosplayer is confident with poses ready.

Cosplayer knows a few poses or voice lines, but is shy with them. 

Cosplayer has minimal stage presence, maybe has a pose or voice line ready

Cosplayer had minimal stage presence

The judges have the right to change contestants’ tiers at any point based on contestant experience and cosplay presented. Numbers in parentheses by each category represent the percentage of each category that goes towards contestants’ final scores for each tier. For example, craftsmanship will be 40% for the expert tier, 30% artisan, and 20% of the novice score.

Previous cosplays at DreamHack