The Insomnia Cosplay Championship

It’s time we had the opportunity to wear the costumes we choose and have a platform that celebrates it! Costume and Play want to give you the opportunity to show off your costume skills, perform as your character and enjoy the community experience of costuming together.

Prizes (Insomnia69 Saturday 27th August 2022) 

1st 2nd 3rd
Cash prize £1000

Guest invitation to the next Insomnia Gaming Festival (Guest, Judge and Showcase your costume, Travel of up to £100 and hotel for two provided.)



Cash prize £500


Cash prize £200



Gaming Cosplay Honour Award Performance Honour Award Craftsmanship Honour Award Additional Honour Mention at the judge’s discretion
Honour mention for best gaming costume and/or gaming themed performance Honour mention for use of general performance conventions and how you interact with the audience Honour mention for costumes, props and accessories; and how well these elements are made Honour mention for judges choice if applicable

How can I enter?

The Cosplay Masquerade will be taking place at Insomnia Gaming Festival on Saturday. You can take part by using the signup form. Please arrive at least half an hour before the competition is due to begin. If you have signed up online you will be sent a confirmation e-mail with all the details you need. We advise popping by the desk nice and early to check through your requirements.

Preparation before the masquerade

Cosplay Portfolio

Costumes Up Close

This category focuses on awarding construction notes with photos and reference pictures. In your portfolio we advise including one or several character references and clear notes such as a break-down of materials, techniques used and construction photos.

The application form provides a framework to write this, suggested length is 5-10 pages long and not exceed 20 pages (This limit does not include images). Portfolios longer than 20 pages will not be printed.

Is our live costume presentation to the judges. A time for you to showcase your work and chat with the judges. Our judges will have 4 minutes with you to discuss your costume and how you made it, a slightly longer time slot will be allocated for groups, details of this will be emailed along with your application. (If you cannot make your allotted time or sign up on the day, your application will be presented to the judges instead during this time and you will be seen during line check.)

How will the competition be judged?

The inclusion of reference images and construction notes on your application will be viewed favorably with additional points awarded towards your overall score.

You can view an example portfolio here: 

Portfolio courtesy of Demorafairy Cosplay

Craftsmanship and performance are equally weighted within this competition. 

Craftsmanship 40%

This category focuses on how the costume, props and accessories are made and the accuracy to the supplied reference or design. The Judges will look at the techniques you have used, their suitability for the piece and the final finish.

Performance 40%

This category focuses on your stage performance. The judges will look at how well you present the character’s role, use of performance conventions, stage presentation and/or how you interact with the audience.

Character Concept 5%

Character concept is a ‘bridge’ category and has equal application across the 3 other categories, portfolio (how you communicate your character concept) craftsmanship (how you construct your character concept) and performance (how you express your character concept). Be it accuracy to a character, a creative interpretation (e.g Steampunk Harley Quinn or cross play) or a character likeness.

Cosplay Portfolio 15%

This category is judged based on the level of detail you include within your application form, such as a break-down of materials, techniques used and reference pictures. Construction photos and concise notes explaining these carry the highest weighting in this category.

Who can enter and what are the general rules?

The Costume Element

  • Costumes from any genre of video game, television, film, book, anime, manga etc. may enter the Masquerade. 
  • A costume qualifies as handmade if it is 80% your own work. We ask that you provide detail to explain how your costume was made. The application form acts as a framework for you to provide this information. It is highly advisable you include construction photos and reference pictures. 
  • Portfolios and additional information must be attached to your email as either a PDF, Word, Powerpoint or standard image files. PDF is the preferred format.
  • All applications will be checked over by the Insomnia Cosplay Team, this will not influence any judges decisions and you will be notified for competition confirmation. Please make sure to bring a spare copy of your cosplay portfolio on the day.
  • Any size group may enter the Masquerade. However, if eligible for a prize, this will be split evenly between participants.
  • This competition is open to all ages, but if you are under the age of 13 please make sure to get parental consent. If you are under the age of 18 we may need to seek parental consent to award you a prize directly, we may request to send your prize to your parent/guardian in this event.
  • If you are late for your costumes up close time, while we will endeavour to do our best to fit you in, we cannot make any guarantee and if this is the case it may lead to you not being seen by the judges. For this reason we really urge you to make your costumes up close time and to aim to arrive before the time stated.
  • A small selection of places will be open to those who wish to present either a costume containing specific handmade components and/or a performance piece. It will be up to the discretion of the cosplay team to allow these entrants and you will be informed if you are eligible to qualify for a prize, depending on your entry. (Basically, if you are worried about qualifying for the 80% drop us an email anyway and we’ll advise you!)

The Performance Element

  • The following elements may be included within your performance – Lighting choice, props, set, sound and microphone use. This is broken down on your application form to include. Performance details and requirements should be written on your application form. Any requirements and/or skilled performances need to be reviewed within good time before the show. Your choices within this field will be taken into consideration for judging. Please email us if you have any queries.
  • Performances/Skits must be no longer than two minutes in length. Please state the length of your skit time or if you are posing on your application form.
  • We highly advise you to visit the cosplay desk no later than two hours before the event is due to start to check through your requirements. If you do not visit the desk, your requirements for your performance may be refused.
  • Arrive at the designated area ready NO LATER THAN half an hour before the masquerade is due to start.
  • We ask you to fully fill out your application form. This includes confirming any music cues, performance requests and medical conditions.


General Props Ruleset

What are the rules on weapons/props?

Weapons and props must be approved by security staff and/or event staff before being allowed into the convention. This may include checks which will be carried out by the cosplay team. 

Decisions made by the venue, security and/or staff are final and these rules serve as a guide only.

Please be aware that these rules are here to ensure we have a safe event for both staff and attendees. If you have been asked to put your prop away, please do so. In an extreme case, you may be escorted from the event.

If there is any doubt, please send photos and a description of the prop and/or costume to; Please note that we cannot definitively suggest that your prop will be allowed into the convention without inspection in person.

Types of props:

  • Live weapons (including, but not limited to; deactivated guns, Airsoft, metal knives, swords, axes, live bows or slingshots, bokken, hanbo) are expressly prohibited, whether sheathed or peace-bonded.
  • No pyrotechnics, gas canisters, explosives (including cap-guns) or incendiary items.
  • You cannot perform any action which may lead event staff, attendees or members of the general public to believe you are in possession of a real live weapon.
  • No exceptions will be made regardless of any special licences, training or memberships!
  • ‘If the prop was to hit someone, would it break before they do?’ If your answer is ‘no’ then it means that someone could get hurt and we would recommend you leave your prop at home so you are not disappointed.
  • Props cannot be made out of metal or hard woods e.g baseball bats or swords. 
  • Props must not be capable of firing any sort of projectile at any point, including foam darts or water. If you have a bow type prop, you must make sure this cannot fire a projectile.
  • Props must also be fitted with a visible brightly coloured safety tip and/or panel of colour. This must be clearly visible at all times. It must also be clear at all times that you are not in possession of a real weapon.
  • Any sensible material is permitted for use with your prop such as light wood, foam, card, light plastic etc. but make sure your prop contains no sharp, protruding edges. Make sure these are sanded, rounded, padded, covered or otherwise protected adequately.

Transport of costumes/props

  • When outside of the convention hall, please make sure you have a safe way to transport your props and that they are sufficiently covered. Be extra careful when travelling through high traffic areas such as the airport and railway stations, so as not to cause alarm or issue to others.
  • If your prop is made out of light wood, this cannot be too heavy, large or unwieldy (i.e blocking corridors/doorways or is likely to hit, hurt or inconvenience others.)
  • If your costume is large and/or has trails/trains of fabric, please make sure you are aware of how you will travel to and from the venue and in high traffic areas of the convention. Costumes cannot block isles/gangways, or act as a trip hazard.
  • In all cases, the weapon or prop must be no longer than 1.6 m (5’2”).
  •  Large elements, such as wings, exceeding over two metres, must be collapsed when on the convention floor.
  • If you lose your prop please report this to someone immediately with a full description and if possible a picture of the item.


Please be aware that these rules are here to ensure we have a safe event for both staff and attendees. If you have been asked to put your prop away, please do so. In an extreme case you may be escorted from the event.

If there is any doubt, please send photos and a description of the prop to

Masquerade Ruleset

  • Costumes must be appropriate for a family friendly convention and include enough body coverage to be worn in public.
  • All entrants must have a spare copy of their masquerade music track on USB/CD.
  •  We STRONGLY recommend entering two separate costumes for Community and Championship masquerades. Only one prize can be awarded per costume, if entering one costume to both competitions in order to maintain maximum fairness we will be asking entrants to choose which ONE competition they would like to forfeit being judged in and to choose two different music tracks, one per competition. This will be noted on all your masquerade documents so we can provide the clearest and fairest means of competition we can.
  •  We reserve the right to decline or stop any performer at any time for any reason.
  •  Use or performance of the following will be immediately stopped and you may be disqualified from the competition or convention floor:
  • Excessive/inappropriate language such as swearing.
  • Committing an act which is viewed as something which may potentially harm yourself or others.
  •  You agree to be filmed and photographed during the event, all rights of this belong to the event organizers and/or Costume and Play.
  • In order to keep up with latest advancements in social issues and concerns within the cosplay and competition community, Costume and Play and any staff, venue or organizer reserves the right to change or revise these rulesets at any time, to better reflect these issues and make sure a fair competition is held. 
  • Prize Terms
    • Any size group may enter the Masquerade. However, if eligible for a prize, this will be split evenly between participants.
    • Cash Prizes awarded after the event will be paid directly to you.
    • If you are under the age of 18 we may need to seek parental consent to award you a prize directly, we may request to send your prize to your parent/guardian in this event.
    • In the event the first place winner cannot attend or wishes to forfeit the Insomnia Invitation Prize the Insomnia Invitation Prize will be awarded to second place and so on.
    • First place prize winners may only forfeit the Insomnia Invitation Prize once if they wish to re-enter following events, as opposed to accepting the prize.
    • No cash or alternative prize for the Insomnia Invitation Prize will be offered should the first place winner be unable to attend.
    • No additional hotel places will be given to group entries of three or larger for the Insomnia Invitation Prize.
    • All other prizes such as cash and items may be kept by the first place winner if they are unable to attend the Insomnia Invitation Prize and event.
    • Costume and Play handmade trophies are only awarded to first place winners. If the winner is a group, there will be one trophy only.
    • No cash or alternative prize will be awarded in replacement of items such as (but not limited to) trophy, items, certificates, sponsor prizes etc.
    • All cosplayers may receive photography /video performances provided by Insomnia Gaming Festival. The time frame for these will vary. If we do not have your email address, announcements will also be placed on our social media for receipt of these.
    • Cash prizes when handled by costume and play will be processed in an 8 week time period. When handled by event organizers please refer to the Event rules and regulations.
    • Due to the handmade nature of the trophies, postage and Bank processing times a timescale of 8 weeks is set for the processing, sending and arrival of prizes. This starts the day following the concluding day of the event.
    • Should any issue beyond our control arise that may extend the 8 week processing time (weather, postal/bank strikes, damage ect) all receiving applicants will be made aware of the situation and kept in contact until the situation is resolved.


Insomnia Championship Cosplay Sign Up Form



DON’T FORGET to place the EVENT NAME and DAY PARTICIPATING in the email subject.

Please remember if you are in any doubt or even just worried about entering, then check with us. We’re all happy to help you through this and we understand rules, while essential, can sometimes be a bit daunting!

Email Address:

(Do we have your permission to contact you if the Insomnia Gaming Festival wishes to feature your costume within promotional material and wants to credit you?) Y/N

(Do we have permission to contact you with judges feedback?) Y/N

(Do you wish to be contacted in future with event news from Costume and Play?) Y/N


Signed by parent/guardian if under the age of 13:

Sign ___________________________________________________________________

Your Name/s (If you’re a group enter all names):

Cosplay Names/s:

Character Name/s:

Character Series:

Cosplay Portfolio & Information for the Judges.

We know you’re passionate about your costume so tell us about it!

Describe your costume elements. Please remember this information will be judged, so be as detailed as possible! Please attach any additional cosplay portfolio items. This should be either a pdf, word, powerpoint or standard image files. Things you can include are reference images and any work in progress pictures, notes or drawings. We can only print portfolios that are 20 pages or less.

Are there any costume techniques you would like to draw the judge’s attention to? Such as particular stitching used or new materials used. Please list a breakdown of how you constructed this and include images if possible.

Anything else you would like the judges to know? Focus on the highlights of your costume or its construction.

Performance Information

Please describe what you will be doing during your performance. Please list your performance choices such as voice, gestures and movement. Performances are two minutes maximum. We must be aware of everything you intend to do on stage.

Music (attached mp3 track name or youtube link) & Performance Length: If you want music, please state when you would like this to begin and submit a MP3 or WAV file AND bring a copy of your track on USB/. You may submit a direct Youtube link in advance via email.

Cue – Please play music at: e.g Just before I enter the stage

Will you need assistance getting on/off the stage?

Are there any medical conditions we need to be aware of? Please list any requirements such as seating, wheelchair, mobility chair and access to inhalers, etc.


You may request general mood lighting, prompts and anything else that you would like for your performance. if you have additional requirements for stage this does not count towards your allowance however you must contact us beforehand. We will attempt to use this if possible but cannot guarantee.

Performance details:

Props on or off stage:

Microphone request:


Please be aware that we cue the show live, therefore we need a minimum of a few seconds gap between each cue element to call the next cue. (so if you have two lighting cues, please leave a few seconds gap between both, if you have a lighting and prop placement cue, we can do this simultaneously for you within reason)

Do not feel forced to use every element, they are here for you to use if you wish!