2024 Planet Comicon Kansas City Cosplay Contest



2024 Planet Comicon Kansas City Cosplay Contest

$15,000 in Cash and Prizes!

Fun?! Passion?! Prizes?! Whatever drives you, we’ve got the contest for you! PCKC’s cosplay contest is an opportunity to showcase the awesome skills from both local and visiting cosplayers based on craftsmanship and character portrayal. It is a spirited competition that is inclusive of all genres and skill levels, so everyone can have a chance to have their work appreciated by judges and audience members alike! 

We are pleased to announce that Ming Chen and Luna Flare are returning this year as our contest em-cees. When these two get together to host a cosplay contest, the fun multiplies and you don’t want to miss it! 

This year’s contest will be held in the Grand Ballroom, room 2501, Saturday March 9, 2024 at 8:00 p.m. Please be sure to check the convention app and/or programming schedule online to determine if the start time has changed. This is a judged competition and the competitors are vying for a chance to win a part of the $15,000 prize pool, bragging rights and the coveted Planet trophy! Each year a different local crafter designs and creates the trophy we give to our winners. The Planet trophy is a symbol of excellence and we have been fortunate to see some amazing cosplays cross the stage over the years. Be sure to mark your calendar and attend this wonderful exhibition of art and craftsmanship! The contest is free to attend with your PCKC admission credential.

Contestants will sign up using the online registration form below beginning Tuesday, January 30, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. CT. The limit is 55 entries. Online registration will close on Tuesday, February  20, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. CT. There is no on-site cosplay contest registration.  

3DHQ will be providing the following at the 3DHQ booth-

For all attendees:

  • Free 3D Scan
  • Free 3D GIF
  • Free 3D digital Avatar
  • Free Augmented Reality app to place your avatar anywhere at any size
  • Massive discount if you choose to purchase a figurine at the event

For cosplayers (all of the above) and:

  • VIP access and line skip
  • Winners must get scanned in the winning cosplay
  • Scan should happen prior to the event ending
  • If the cosplay is too large for the scanner, we will take an image and create a crystal hologram
  • The discount will extend for the cosplay contestants for two months after the event and one year for the winners should they want a larger size later.


The Cosplay Contest Sponsors 

We are so excited  to announce our continued partnership with Nebraska Furniture Mart!  NFM has been a stalwart and generous supporter of our contest.  For 85 years, NFM has strived to make the comforts of home accessible for everyone. Because it’s not just a couch, a chair or a table. They are pieces that set the stage for the lives we want to live, where we share laughs, big feelings, and make memories. NFM is a one stop shop for almost anything you might need in your home!  Furniture, electronics, games, computers, toys and even Funko Pops can be found within NFM’s walls!     

B&B Theatres is once again providing a packet of movie tickets for each award winner! B&B Theatres is a local company out of Liberty, MO and has redefined the movie going experience with comfort and technology. 

Be sure to stop by their booth in the Planet Entertainment Zone and see what’s coming to the 11 metro area B&B Theatres near you! 

3DHQ returns as a sponsor again this year and will provide winners of our Beginner, Intermediate, and Master classes as well as Best in Show with their own 3d statuettes rendered using their state of the art technology!  In addition, every Cosplay Contest participant is entitled to go to the 3DHQ booth in the cosplay showcase and go to the front of the line to have their look immortalized with a 3d scan. They will also give all of our contestants an avatar, a GIF, use of their augmented reality app and exclusive discounts. Be sure to stop by and check out their amazing work! If you are a cosplayer at the convention, you will be given a free 3d scan and a digital avatar! 


Overview of the Mainstage Contest

PCKC will accept up to 55 entries to compete in the main stage cosplay contest. The contest is divided up by class and category. Class delinations are Beginner, Intermediate, and Master. Within each of these classes, entrants may choose their costume category of Needlework, Foamwork, Mixed Media and Group. All contestants will be judged on craftsmanship and stage presence with a heavy emphasis on craftsmanship.

If you need to drop out of the contest for any reason, please let the Cosplay Contest Directors know in advance, as we will offer those spots through our waitlist process. Failure to communicate that you are dropping out may disqualify you from future competitions! Please read the rules, important times, and glossary items carefully.

COVID-19 Precautions

We encourage all contestants, handlers and models to wear masks and get vaccinated. 

Contestants who wear a mask with their costumes or who need to alter their costumes so that they may wear a mask will face no penalties against costume fidelity during judging. 

General Rules

  • All contestants, models and their handlers must have valid tickets to PCKC for the day of the contest. 
  • All contestants will be required to adhere to any and all COVID-19 policies and guidelines enforced by PCKC. Information about those guidelines will be released when it becomes available. Please check the PCKC social media channels and website for updates.
  • A single entry can be an individual or a duo. If your team has three (3) to five (5) individuals, you must enter in the Group category.
  • Contestants are only allowed one entry, and may only enter their costume in one category  (e.g. you may not enter one costume in the foamwork category and enter the same or a different costume in the needlework category). 
  • Convention staff and volunteers may not enter the Cosplay Contest. Headlining and invited cosplay guests or other invited parties are also not eligible to enter the costume contest.
  • All contestants must bring reference photos of their costumes. These photos must be printed copies and bound in some way (e.g. in a folder, or a notebook). No digital (e.g. cell phone pictures) will be accepted.
  • PCKC is a craftsmanship-centric contest. The required percentage of contestant-made elements of your costume is determined by your class. No fully purchased costumes are allowed. For clarification on the definition of “made” vs. “altered,” please refer to the glossary section.
  • Cosplays must be recreations or fanart of licensed characters to be eligible for Best in Show. Original characters are eligible for other awards, however. 
  • Only entrants 15 years of age and up may enter the Mainstage Cosplay Contest. Children 14 and under are not eligible to enter the mainstage contest unless they are part of a duo or group entry with at least one member who is at least 18 years old. Children 14 and under may enter the Young Fans Cosplay Showcase held on Sunday.
  • You can have someone model your costume, but you, the crafter, must register for the Costume Contest and be present for prejudging to answer the judges’ questions. If the costume receives an award, the award recipient will be the crafter, not the model.
  • No nudity, profanity, anything deemed racially or culturally offensive will be allowed. No politically charged or discriminatory cosplays or props will be allowed. See the Glossary for the definition of “Offensive Cosplays.” When in doubt, ask!
  • No liquids, messy substances, glitter, confetti, objects smaller than 3 square inches, or anything that may pose a danger is allowed to be used as part of your stage walk.
  • No pyrotechnics, fireworks or open flames. No fog machines.
  • All electronics must be self-contained. There are no electrical outlets onstage.
  • No weapons that violate PCKC’s Weapons Policy or Bartle Hall’s weapons policy or local laws, including but not limited to: realistic-looking firearms without an orange muzzle cap; live steel; projectiles of any kind; unsheathing of bladed weapons without clearance from the Cosplay Contest Directors. Due to safety concerns, minors may not perform combat simulations. (See Weapons Policy https://planetcomicon.com/weapons-policy/
  • Stage walk time is limited, so please make sure to consider what you will do before showtime. Single and duo entrants will have up to 1 minute  of stage time, and groups will have up to 2 minutes.
  • No throwing things into the audience, including yourself. Contestants will not be allowed to leave the stage as part of their performance.
  • Background music/ audio requests are not available. All background music will be provided by PCKC staff. 
  • No live dialogue.
  • Contestants agree to allow video recording and photography of their costumes for future promotions of PCKC.
  • Contestants understand that the published contest awards may be adjusted, changed or withheld pending complaint resolution or for any reason deemed appropriate by the contest administrators.
  • Show integrity and the spirit of competition are important!
    • This contest is about balancing fun with true competition. For the integrity of the contest, you may be placed into the appropriate category/class at the discretion of the  Cosplay Contest Directors without prior notice. 
    • You may not enter a costume that has previously won Best in Show or a major award at an in-person PCKC or another in-person cosplay contest. See the Glossary for the definition of “major award.” Please email the Cosplay Contest Directors if you have questions.
    • This is largely a craftsmanship contest, where craftsmanship will make up the majority of your score. All entrants must have made a percentage of their costumes to be eligible for entry. Please see class divisions for your required “made” percentage, and the glossary for clarification on “made” vs. “altered” cosplays. 


Violating these rules will disqualify you, and possibly result in being escorted off the premises.


You must enter at the class level of the individual who has the highest class in your entry (e.g. if you are in a duo and one person is a Master and the other is a Beginner, you must enter in the Master class).

This class is for anyone who has never won a major award before at any other convention. 50% of the costume must be made by the contestant(s).

This is the class for anyone who has won 1-2 major awards at any convention. 60% of the costume must be made by the contestant(s).

If you have won 3 or more major awards in a cosplay contest, if you have taken Best in Show at any cosplay contest of similar or larger size to PCKC, or if you make or sell cosplay costumes professionally, please enter this class. 75% of the costume must be made by the contestant(s).

If you are unsure if your costume meets a percentage requirement, please contact the Cosplay Contest Directors, and we will be happy to assist. 


Category delineations allow for recognition of all media used in cosplay. All categories are judged equally and all are eligible for Best in Show prizes, provided all other parameters are met. This is a way for PCKC to recognize the diversity of skills represented across the community. Contestants may enter one of four categories.

Needlework: For costumes created predominantly by sewing, embroidery, and fabricraft. Sewn leather costumes may enter this category as well.

Foamwork: For costumes created predominantly from foam products, such as eva foam, rigid foam, expanding foam, etc.  Worbla-covered-EVA foam cosplays would also fall in this category. 

Mixed Media: For cosplays that feature animatronics, prosthetics, special effects, plastic, PVC, metal, latex or a variety of media that aren’t exclusively needlework or foamwork (e.g. if your costume incorporates formwork and needlework equally), this is the class for you.

Group: Show us your team chemistry and costume making skills! This category is for groups of 3-6 cosplayers and at least 50% of each costume must be made by at least one member of the group. Craftsmanship of the group costumes will be judged based on the individual with the highest class in the group (e.g., a group with 1 Master and 2 Beginners will be judged on craftsmanship at the Master level). This means, if your group is classed as Master, each costume in the group must be at least 75% hand-made by at least one contestant in the group. 

Microphones will not be available for groups. No live dialogue will be allowed.

NOTE: You may select the category and class you wish to compete in, however the Cosplay Contest Directors reserve the right to move your entry to another category or class if it is deemed appropriate for the sake of the integrity of the contest.

What Can I Win?! Over $15,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded!


All kinds of awesome prizes! And of course the coveted Planet trophy! There are a number of award categories to be had, as well as a Best in Show given to the best costume overall. Judges may recognize other worthy contestants with a judge’s choice award!  An assortment of fantastic prizes  will be issued by Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) and B&B Theaters (B&B).  More details will be forthcoming! Here are the award classifications: 



Best Needlework in each class:  




Best Foamwork in each class: 





Best Mixed Media  in each class:   





Best Group Overall                                         

Judges’ choice awards: Each judge may award a judge’s choice award. Maybe you didn’t win a mainstage prize, but you left a major impression on the judges in some way, so we want to recognize you. You will be given a commemorative medal and an award!

Prizes: Only one prize will be given to each entry. If there are multiple members of your entry, the entry members will be responsible for dividing up any prizes won. For example, if your entry receives a trophy, only one trophy will be distributed and it will be up to the members of that entry to share, saw it in half, set up visitation hours, etc. 


Friday,  March 8, 2024 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. CT at the Cosplay Registration Table outside of room 2207. Check-in is for everyone who has registered for the Cosplay Contest. Please arrive between these times so we can make sure you’re registered. This will include verifying that you are present and plan to participate. If you do not check in by 6:00 p.m. Friday, or do not make prior arrangements, you may be disqualified from the competition.  


The contest is divided into two parts: craftsmanship judging and stage judging. 

Craftsmanship judging: For craftsmanship, contestants will arrive at the designated time and location for their class and meet with the judges to discuss how their costume was made. Be prepared for judges to check your seams, paint job, wig work and other elements. They will ask you about how you created the piece. You will be judged on technique, finish, how well stays together, and overall impression. Entries of 1-2 people will have 5 minutes with the judges and groups of 3-5 will have up to 7 minutes to talk about their work. This is to ensure we can get everyone judged in a reasonable amount of time and everyone can enjoy as much of the convention as possible. With that in mind, please do not be late to your judging time slot, or you may be disqualified from the competition. To assist with social distancing, please do not arrive any more than 5 minutes early to your designated time slot. 

  • Contestants will be judged on fidelity to reference images. Factors that will NOT will not count against fidelity include the cosplayer’s race, age, ethnicity, height, size, use of mobility items, corrective vision or lack thereof, socioeconomic status, and other health, cultural or religious identities that the cosplayer has that may differ between the cosplayer and the character. See Glossary for complete “fidelity” definition. 
  • Each class will have a designated judging timeslot and craftsmanship percentage requirement (see class requirements for details on required percentage).
  • Please note that if you are entering any of the categories with more than one person, each of you will be judged on craftsmanship/participation individually, and the scores will be averaged. You will be judged at the class level of the person in your entry with the highest class.
  • You are required to bring reference images of your source material, as well as 3-5 work In progress photos in hard copy form (no digital copies or photos on your phone allowed). Volunteers will be standing by to help line you up, and handle your photos if needed. When the competition concludes, you may pick up your progress photos in the Green Room. 
  • Judges will be closely examining your work and may ask you to hold up or move parts of your cosplay for them to see. If this makes you uncomfortable, please let the Cosplay Contest Directors know and we will assist with finding an alternative arrangement.


All entries are free to enjoy the convention before and after judging, but must be back to the  Green Room at the designated time. Contestants will be notified of their judging and Green Room times via email.

Stage Judging: This is your last opportunity to show off your work and any other special features of your costume. Contestants will be judged on how well your costume moves and stays together. This is also your time to dazzle the audience! While the audience does not have any impact on scoring, show them how much time, effort and razzle-dazzle you put into your costume! They’re here to celebrate all that you’ve made, so don’t hesitate to show them what you’ve got! Throw in some twirls, some bows, hit those battle poses! As long as you’re adhering to all general rules, this should be your time to have fun!

Registration and Wait Lists

New this year! Cosplay Contest entries will be accepted through a juried process, rather than first come-first serve. Contestants will sign-up using the online registration form below beginning Tuesday, January 30, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. CT. We will accept up to 55 entries. Online registration will close on Tuesday, February 20, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. CT. There is no on-site registration. 

All entrants must complete the registration form which includes submitting contestant information, agreement to adhere to PCKC rules and guidelines and other entry submission materials.

  • Contestants must submit a character reference image via a link.
  • Contestants must also submit 3 progress images along with the reference image. 
    • These images are not meant to be  your full build book, but rather, a cursory review of your progress. 
    • Photos submitted should showcase the elements of the costume that you made, and the general trajectory of the build. This is to review the eligibility of the costume.
    • Preference will be given to entrants who can demonstrate that their entries are in line with PCKC Cosplay Contest rules and that at least 50% of the total build is complete at the time of entry.
    • Because this is a juried process, you do not need to rush to fill out the application form. Please prioritize completion of entry over speed of submission. 
  • All entries will be reviewed to ensure they follow the rules, and meet the Cosplay Contest requirements. 

A follow up email will include information about your judging time slot, confirmation of details, etc. This email will come no later than 1 week before the show.


If your entry is entered into the waitlist, you will receive an email notification if a space opens up for your entry. You will have 24 hours to respond to that email or your spot will be given to the next available person on the waitlist. 

If you have any questions, please email the Cosplay Contest Directors at cosplaycontest@planetcomicon.com. 

Register here!

Now that I have submitted my application, what’s next?

Thanks for signing up! We are thrilled to see your interest in the Cosplay Contest this year!

Cosplay Contest Registration Checklist:

  • Carefully read all the rules and ask the Cosplay Contest Directors if you have any questions.
  • Sign up during the designated registration period.
  • Keep an eye on your inbox for your entry status, and a later email regarding your judging time slot and confirmation of details.
  • Make sure your costume adheres to the rules.
  • Create your hard-copy work in progress book and bring it with you to judging.
  • Make note of all mandatory time slots: Judging, Green Room and showtime, and double check these times at the convention in case there are last minute changes.

Cosplay Etiquette

In General: Cosplay is not consent. This means:

  • Do not touch a cosplayer, their costume, or their props without permission.
  • Do not take photos of a cosplayer without asking permission and allowing them to pose first.
  • Do not use the zoom feature to highlight only aspects of a cosplayer without their consent. If you would like them to do a specific pose or do a closeup of a certain aspect, ask them!
  • Do not make any lewd or suggestive comments to a cosplayer because of what they are wearing. Unwanted criticism/critique or comments directed at cosplayers may be treated as harassment. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Criticizing someone because of their race, gender, body, etc. 
    • Making snide remarks about skill level.
    • “I could do that better” statements.
    • Unwelcomed critiques of their cosplay. Unless a cosplayer specifically asks for feedback about how to do something better, do not give it.
    • In short: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

Etiquette for Photographers: 

  • Please do not use flash or auto-focus assist lights during the cosplay contest! It makes it difficult for cosplayers to see when they are walking across the stage. 
  • Do not ask to take photos with only one cosplayer out of a group from the same series/clearly in a group cosplay. Take a picture of the group, and if you’d like an individual shot of your favorite character, ask later.
  • Please be mindful of your equipment that may block walkways, entryways, or other general traffic.
  • Only Planet Comicon Kansas City approved press will be allowed in the Green Room. 

Etiquette For Cosplayers:

  • Be fully aware when in a large costume or in a costume with protruding elements (like wings, tails, etc.). If you cannot see well, make sure you have a friend to help make sure your pathways are clear.
  • If asked for a photo, move out of the flow of traffic, against a wall, or to a less common area. 
  • If you are wearing extensive makeup or body paint, seal it properly. You don’t want to be in a situation where you cause damage to something (e.g., the pool, hotel or convention center decorations, etc.).
  • Do not use being “in character” as an excuse to be a jerk, make lewd or suggestive comments, or physically or verbally bother someone. The harassment policy still applies to you, regardless of who you are dressed as.
  • You may not, under any circumstances, Black/Brownface, or wear any costumes that are offensive or disrespectful to any group of existing, living cultures and people. This includes darkening your skin to match that of an existing race, wearing Nazi regalia, etc.
  • Do not use accessible stalls or other designated accessibility areas to change or store props unless you would otherwise need that space. Doing so can result in removal from the cosplay contest.
  • If you are not a cosplay handler or cosplayer, please do not hang out in the green room.
  • There may be photographers in the green room. You are welcome to refuse photography if you do not wish to be photographed.
  • Please remember that the Green Room is a collective space with a lot of nervous energy. When in the Green Room, please be mindful of your noise level, how much space you are taking up, as well as the content of your conversations.




    • Major Award: This is an award for a costume that has won a first place in class and/or category such as Best Beginner Needlework, Best Intermediate Foamwork, Best Master Mixed Media, Best in Show, etc. This does not include a Judge’s Choice award or a runner up award.
    • Class: Your rank within a contest based on the number of awards you have received: Beginner, Intermediate and Masters. Each contest and convention has different ratings, so please make sure you read the information carefully. 
    • Entry: Participant(s) registered in any of the cosplay contests. May include more than one person.
  • Fanart: Cosplays that have characterization rooted in existing, licensed characters, but have been reworked artistically. This includes reworks of licensed characters and licensed character interpretations (e.g., Pokemon gijinka, your interpretation of a podcast character etc.) Fanart also includes mashups of licensed characters (e.g., Deadpool Sailor Moon).
  • Fidelity: This term is in reference to how closely your costume and/or stage presence matches your character and/or reference images in terms of color, choices and overall character essence. If you deviated from the reference, is the deviation sensible? Areas NOT considered for accuracy include: race, age, ethnicity, height, size, use of mobility items, corrective vision or lack thereof, socioeconomic status, and other health, cultural or religious identities that the cosplayer has that may differ between yourself and the character. 
    • Green Room: Pre-show meeting and stage queue. This is usually an hour before your actual stage walk. This is an opportunity to make sure everyone is present, organized and ready to go. 
    • Made Cosplays: “Made” refers to elements of your cosplays that have been fabricated from raw materials and count toward your craftsmanship points and required craftsmanship percentage (See class level for details). Please note that this is different from “altered” items, which are elements of your cosplay that have been purchased or fabricated by someone other than the contestant and modified in some way, such as painted or embellished. If you are altering a piece of your costume, only the portions of the item that have been altered count toward your craftsmanship points and required craftsmanship percentage. It is also important to note that a costume that is comprised only of alterations does not meet any minimum required craftsmanship percentage.
    • Main Stage Cosplay Contest: This is the main cosplay attraction at Planet Comicon Kansas City on Saturday of the Convention and includes a craftsmanship pre-judging element, and a stage walk. 
    • Minor Award: Awards that are not class and/or category specific, or first place awards in those categories. Examples would include a Judge’s Choice award, a runner up award, best prop award, etc.
    • Offensive Cosplays: “Offense” is a somewhat subjective term, but we are functioning with the following definition: cosplays that incite violence, racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia, ageism, and bigotry. This includes race-facing (e.g. Blackface/Brownface) as well as costumes that replicate historic or current international or national tragedies. The goal is to make sure our attendees feel safe, included, and appreciated, so cosplays should reflect this intent.
    • Original Characters: Characters that are not licensed characters. Original characters may be submitted but they are not eligible for Best in Show.
    • PG Rating: No nudity or coarse language will be permitted on stage. Simulated violence and thematic situations are okay. 
    • Progress and Reference photos: Progress photos are images that document the elements of your costume that you made and highlight anything particularly interesting/difficult about your costume. Reference images are images of the character you are personifying. These images must be presented in a hard copy form (i.e. “Progress book) and bound in some way (e.g. in a binder, a folder, stapled together etc.) No digital copies or photos on your phone allowed. 
  • Sandbagging: Sandbagging has two meanings in the cosplay community, and both may disqualify you from the contest and bar you from competing in the Contest at Planet Comicon Kansas City in future years: 
  • Intentionally placing your costume in a skill class lower than yours to increase your chances of an “easy win.” For the integrity of the contest, you may be placed into the appropriate class at the discretion of the judges and Cosplay Contest Directors without prior notice.
    • re-entering a cosplay for which you have already won a category award.