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An Evening to Celebrate Costumes: The WonderCon 2016 Masquerade!

Whether your interests center on comic books, movies, television, Japanese Anime, giant robots, Broadway shows, steampunk adventures, or the many incarnations of Doctor Who, costumes play a vital role in what we all enjoy about the popular arts. There’s many ways to tell a story, countless ways to paint an alien world, infinite alternate histories we can devise, and no end to the types of characters we create to entertain us or make us think. Similarly, there are countless ways to clothe the human (or non-human) form, either as part of a story or as a stand-alone work of art, and WonderCon is proud to once again present a special night dedicated to giving costumes the spotlight they’re entitled to and our talented costuming attendees the recognition they deserve: The 12th annual on-stage WonderCon Masquerade Costume Competition!

Not a dance or party as the name might imply, it is in the style of a show upon a stage, featuring theater-style lighting, enhanced sound, and a giant high-definition video screen displaying great close-up views of the many astounding and entertaining costumes our convention attendees create. Most of the presentations are accompanied by specially selected music, some with effects and elaborate choreography. A Master of Ceremonies introduces each presentation, and the panel of guest judges selects the winners in various categories. Last year’s audience numbered over 3,000, and the line for choice seating started to form long before the doors opened.

WonderCon Masquerade

Photo from the 2015 WonderCon Masquerade by Rudy Manahan © 2015 SDCC


Some of the costumes presented will be impressive re-creations from the genres of film, anime, comic books, fantasy, and history; others will be completely original designs from the imagination. Some will be solo entries, others will be groups with a shared theme. If you've crafted a costume you think our audience would like to see up on the stage, we encourage you to sign up and share your work, create lots of smiles, and perhaps take home a trophy or other award as well. Costume entries must NOT have been purchased or otherwise commercially obtained, but be of original construction or show significant modification of pre-existing materials. All genres are welcome, as are all levels of experience, from the novice to the seasoned convention costumer.

The Masquerade event will be held at 8:30 PM on Saturday, March 26. This is our first convention utilizing the Los Angeles Convention Center and details of our venue have not yet been finalized, so please check back for updates. The event is free to participate in, or to be in the audience; only a WonderCon attendee badge valid for Saturday is needed.  Doors will open for audience seating at 8:00 PM, and the event will run about 2 and a half hours. Special seating will be available for the disabled, selected press approved in advance, and for special guests of the convention. Audience tickets are not used for this event, as our venue is expected to have plenty of seating. The line for front section seating usually begins about 2 hours early, but if you can’t arrive early, no worries, you can arrive at show time and seating can still be found.

WonderCon Masquerade

Photo by Rudy Manahan © 2015 SDCC

Complete information, rules, and Entry Form are now available in PDF form (click here to download)

or you can write the Masquerade Coordinator at to have a copy sent to you. A limited number of contestant slots are available, so interested costumers should obtain the rules and entry form to request a contestant spot as soon as possible. A photo of the costume or costumes you are entering will also be required for confirmation. The deadline for advance entry is March 7, 2016.  After that date, contestants can sign up at the convention Friday, IF any slots are still available. If we fill all contestant slots before then there will be a Waiting List to fill openings from cancellations. Our volunteer staff has been running Masquerades for over 20 years, and we’ll do our best to provide you a great time.

No flash photography is allowed of the event, and any photos or video taken must be for non-profit personal use, only. There will be a flash-allowed posing area with backdrop in a nearby room where the contestants will go after their stage presentations, but spaces are limited, and photographers who wish access to the Photo Area should reserve a spot in advance by writing to the Coordinator at the email above.

WonderCon Masquerade

Photo by Rudy Manahan © 2015 SDCC

Special WonderCon trophies will be awarded by our panel of guest judges, in the follwing categories:

  • Best in Show
  • Judges’ Choice
  • Best Re-Creation
  • Best Original Design
  • Best Workmanship
  • Most Humorous
  • Best Presentation

In addition to the beautiful trophies given by our judges, the following companies will be presenting their own prizes to winners they select:

Frank & Son Collectible Show of the City of Industry, California, “The first and last stop for ALL your collectible needs,” will present a generous $500 cash prize to the costume entry they deem to be the audience favorite.

DC Comics representatives will bestow a very special DC Collectibles prize to the entry they deem as the best re-creation of a DC character or characters.

Lucasfilm Ltd. will present an impressive collectible Star Wars prize package, specially selected from the Lucasfilm Licensing Archives, to what they select as the best costume entry from the Star Wars universe.

More companies may join this list as the convention approaches, so check this website periodically for updates on Masquerade awards. It’s time to get started on that great costume idea!

For more photos from the 2015 WonderCon Masquerade, please click here!