Costume Contest & Cosplay

Sponsored by:

Wizards of the Coast

It’s almost time for Gen Con’s 38th annual Costume Contest! Whether you want to combine your best cosplay and compete, or check out all the amazing creativity, the Costume Contest is a must-see event at Gen Con!

You’ll find the Costume Contest on the Main Stage in the 500 Ballroom at 4 pm on Saturday, August 3. For spectators, the Costume Contest is a free, ticketed event. Attendees without tickets may be seated if space allows, but priority is given to those with tickets, so save your seat by registering for ENT24ND265787. A Gen Con 2024 badge is also required for entry.

The Costume Contest will also be livestreamed on the Gen Con Live Twitch Channel!

Our policies for costumes, cosplays, weapons, and props can be found on the Policies and Show Info page.

Contestants Wanted

Want to enter the Costume Contest? The 2024 Entry Form includes the rules, general information, and next steps. In order to register for the contest, you must have a Gen Con 2024 badge, and two generic tickets (cash is not accepted). You can pick up some generic tickets at the Customer Service counter, located in the Wabash East concourse.

Costume Categories
Contestants must choose a category for their costume and check it on the entry form. If your costume fits multiple categories, pick the category you prefer. We will review your costume at check-in to make sure you are in the right category. Categories may be closed depending on the number of entries.

  • Fantasy / Historical: Wizards, barbarians, pixies, mermaids, WWII soldiers, Renaissance maidens.
  • Game Characters: Characters from video games, board games, role-playing games.
  • Pop Culture: Robots, aliens, spaceship pilots, heroes, villains.
  • Professional: To keep the contest fair, you must enter this category if you meet any of the following criteria, regardless of your age:
    • 1) You are a past first-place winner of a Gen Con costume contest or other major costume contest within the past 5 years.
    • 2) Your costume was constructed by a professional in the garment or costume industry, whether it was you or someone else.
    • 3) Your costume was constructed by someone who earns the majority of their living in the construction of costumes or clothing.
    • 4) First-place winners in the child category will be evaluated for the Professional category on a case-by-case basis. Costumes made by adults will be moved to the Professional category. Children who make their own costumes may be allowed to remain in the Child category.
  • Child: Ages 0–13, all costume types.
  • Groups: Teams of two or more cosplayers.
  • Potluck: Anything not mentioned above!

Awards and prizes will be presented for the following special categories:

  • Best In Show
  • Staff Favorite
  • Golden Needle
  • MARVEL: Special prize awarded to the best cosplay featuring an iconic MARVEL hero or villain.

To pre-register, mail your entry, postmarked before July 20, to the address at the top of the form.

Important: You MUST attend the Costume Contest check-in on-site on Saturday between 9:30 am and 1:30 pm.


Costume Parade

A Costume Parade through the Indiana Convention Center will begin at approximately 3 pm. Anyone in costume may join the parade anywhere along the route. Spectators may line the hallways and spaces along the route to support our cosplay superstars, but please be respectful of other attendees making their way beyond the parade line and Gen Con Staff keeping the pathways clear.

For Costume Contestants: The parade is optional but encouraged; participation in the parade is not part of judging. More details will be provided at check-in.

Route: The parade will muster in the lobby between Hall A and the West Street Plaza, begin marching into Hall A, crossing through the Event Hall, and exit out Hall D. It will continue into the Crossroads Corridor and exit outside. The parade will continue east down W Maryland Street through the Motor Lobby. It will turn right at the corner of S Capital Avenue and conclude at the Capital Avenue Plaza (just outside the doors to the 500 Ballroom).

Gen Con Costume Contest

Saturday Timetable

  • 9 am — Deadline to drop entries at the Information Booth
  • 9:30 am – 1:30 pm — Costume Contest check-in (500 Ballroom Reception)
    Note: No one will be entered in the Costume Contest after check-in has closed.
  • 3 pm – Participants line up for the Costume Parade (outside Hall A)
  • 3:30 pm - Pre-show entertainment on the Main Stage (ICC 500 Ballroom)
  • 3:45 pm — Contestants report for the Costume Contest.
  • 4 pm — Costume Contest begins!


"Cosplay is not consent!"

Cosplay is a culture that celebrates inclusion and mutual respect. So, please be careful when talking with each other and keep your hands to yourself. If you would like to take a photo of or with another Gen Con attendee, please ask before and respect that person’s right to say no. In short, be kind, be respectful, and make the cosplay experience fun for everyone involved!


Gen Con hosts a Hall Costume Contest during the show. Come dressed as your favorite character, creature, or creation on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday to enter!

Our Cosplay Program team will roam the hallways, handing out ribbons for the best costumes! Bring your creativity and wear your finery because you never know who might be watching!