The WonderCon Masquerade on-stage costume competition (or Cosplay Competition for those who favor that term) will be Saturday evening, April 2. Start time will be 8:30 PM and the costume presentations then judging intermission entertainment then awards presentation will run 2 hours. While usually staged in the Arena, this year our large stage and 3,000 seats will be in another ballroom of the Anaheim Convention Center.

Not a dance or party as the name may imply, this is similar to a talent show before a large audience, showcasing amazing costumes crafted by our non-professional but still very creative and talented attendees. Most costumes will be impressive re-creations from movies, television, anime, comic books, fantasy, Broadway shows, video games, and history; others will be completely original designs from the imagination. Some will be solo entries; others will be groups with a shared theme. All genres are welcome, but no purchased costumes are allowed. The event is free to participate in, or to have a seat in the audience, for anyone with a con badge valid for Saturday

Why do we title this event the Masquerade instead of simply a costume contest? Simply put, “to masquerade” means to portray someone other than yourself, and our contestants often bring to the stage as much performance imagination as they do workmanship by portraying characters and creating presentations with specially selected music, mood, drama, humor, a surprise or two, even a mock battle.  And our giant high-definition video screen and multiple cameras display great close-up views of the costumes to everyone. Those in the audience need not come in costume, but feel free to add to the fun and dress in something interesting!

How to Enter: To request a contestant spot in the show, download the complete Masquerade Information & Rules and Entry Form, fill it out and email it soon to A photo of your crafted costume is required for review before you can be accepted. You may also sign up at the convention at the Masquerade Desk in the Convention Center on Friday, IF there are any open slots remaining (normally we fill up before the con). Please bring photos of your costume (or if a group entry, all the costumes) for reviewing. Contestants must be at least age 12 to participate.

To assure contestants and show staff a non-crowded backstage environment with comfortable personal distancing options, there will be a limit of 25 entries this year, so requesting a contestant spot in advance is strongly recommended. Whatever mask and vaccination protocols may be required for the convention at that time will apply to the Masquerade as well.

Reserved seating is available for special guests and selected press, please send requests to  No flash photography is allowed of the stage event, although non-flash photography and video recording is welcome. There will be a flash-allowed posing area with backdrop in a nearby room where contestants will go after their stage presentations, and photographers wishing a Photo Area pass should reserve a spot in advance by writing to the above-mail.

Our Master of Ceremonies will again be the always entertaining five-time Hugo Award-winning artist and writer Phil Foglio. Together with his wife, Kaja, they have created, published, and contributed to a variety of comics, art, and games in the science fiction, fantasy, and steampunk genres through their company and website, featuring their Girl Genius series.

During the Intermission break while the judges tally their scores there will be a return performance by The Saber Guild, the largest not-for-profit Lucasfilm recognized Star Wars lightsaber club in the world, thrilling us with an original Star Wars storyline, great costumes, and choreographed action.

Following the Saber Guild performance, The Corps Dance Crew will present their latest show. The Corps, a non-professional entertainment group that melds cosplay, dance, and popular music, has toured all over Southern California to bring unique performances to L.A. Comic Con, Anime Expo, San Diego Comic-Con, and many past WonderCons.

WonderCon trophies will be awarded in categories of Best in Show, Judges’ Choice, Best Re-Creation, Best Original Design, Best Workmanship, Most Humorous, and Most Beautiful, and those trophy winners will also receive free attendee badges to our 2023 WonderCon. Plus, there will be generous cash and other prizes provided by companies and organizations.


-  Frank & Son Collectible Show of the City of Industry, California, “The first and last stop for all your collectible needs” will take a break from their large bi-weekly mini-cons to present a generous $500 cash prize to the entry they deem to be the audience favorite (so be sure to generously applaud your favorites!).


Costumer's Guild West (CGW), southern California’s costuming fandom group, will present a one-year membership to CGW, as well as a full scholarship and a complimentary 1 night hotel stay to their weekend conference, Costume College®, held the last weekend in July at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, CA, to the entry their representatives select as showing the most promise. Costume College provides educational lectures and workshops in every aspect of costuming.

More prizes may join this list as the convention approaches!

Come and enjoy an evening celebrating not just the importance of costuming to the popular arts, but also the ingenuity, skills, and hard work of our costumers. Without all of their dedicated time and efforts creating costumes to wear at the convention, whether worn for the Masquerade or just for strolling the exhibit hall and corridors, WonderCon would be missing a lot of beauty, awe, and fun!