International Sailor Moon Day Austin Costume Contest Rules

So you want to enter the International Sailor Moon Day Austin Costume Contest? We posted some information over in the Facebook event, but here are the rules in greater detail. Here’s what you need to know.

Note: This post has been updated as of July 18th 2017.


1) Check-in and Registration

Follow the signs to the Costume Contest check-in table. The friendly volunteers will help you sign up for the contest.

Please let the volunteers know what category you’d like to enter. They will sign you up and give you a color-coded nametag sticker for that category. Please write your name (however you’d like to be addressed by our judges on stage!) and wear it in an obvious location so that our judges can identify you easily in the crowd.

  • Don’t worry! Our nametag stickers are as removable as possible. If you still have concerns, let the volunteers know so we can accommodate you.
  • If you’re not sure where your costume fits in, please feel free to explain it to the volunteer and they will help you figure it out (or see the FAQ below).
  • Costume contestant check-in starts at 12:30. Early check-in is optional but offered to help contestants save time.


General Costume Contest Guidelines

Here are some general rules and guidelines for our costume contest.

  • ISMD Austin is a family-friendly event. Please keep those costumes PG-13!
  • ISMD Austin does not allow the use of blades, functional firearm replicas, or weapon props that could pose a danger to other attendees. ISMD Austin follows A-Kon prop weapon guidelines. If your props do not comply with this policy, you will be disqualified from the contest.
  • This event will get pretty crowded — please do not bring oversize props that take up significant standing room!
  • We shouldn’t have to say this, but our costume contest and all costume contest categories are open to everybody — every body, full stop — regardless of gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, or religion (or lack thereof). If another attendee or cosplayer is harassing you, we have event volunteers ready and waiting to remove this person from the premises. If you are harassing another attendee, you will be asked to leave.

Failure to comply with these rules will result in your disqualification from the costume contest and expulsion from the event.


Contest Categories:

Category nametag colors available on day of event. Please see the FAQ section at the end of this post for more information about categories.


Sailor Moon Crown


International Sailor Moon Day Austin Costume Contest: 2016 Sailor Moon Crown winner
ISMD 2016 Sailor Moon Crown winner Melissa Sternenberg for Sailor Mercury costume
Photo by Erika Rich


  • Straightforward sailor scout/guardian/senshi uniform outfit, Tuxedo Mask costume, or villain costume
  • Also includes characters’ school uniforms or alternative outfits (like Neo Queen Serenity dresses)
  • Can be based on manga or anime costumes
  • Judged on accuracy and style


Sailor Jupiter Crown


International Sailor Moon Day Austin Costume Contest: 2015 Sailor Jupiter Crown winner
ISMD 2015 Sailor Jupiter Crown winner Victoria Grace Elliott for casual Sailor Mercury costume
Photo by Erika Rich


  • “Casual cosplay” / “closet cosplay” contest
  • Assemble everyday clothes to channel the spirit of the character
  • Judged on uniqueness of style, ability to wear outfit outside of costume party setting, and/or ability to show off your character’s personal sense of style
  • More than any other category, if you enter this Crown you must make sure your nametag is extra visible!


Sailor Galaxia Crown


International Sailor Moon Day Austin Costume Contest: 2015 Sailor Galaxia Crown winner
2015 Sailor Galaxia Crown winner — “Sailor Assassin’s Creed”
Photo by Erika Rich


  • Miscellaneous category – includes crossovers with other series or genres, high fashion / miscellaneous interpretations. If you do not fit into any of the other categories, sign up for this one.
  • Your steampunk / superhero / fidget spinner / Persona 5 / Trail of Lights / Magic School Bus x Sailor Moon costume goes in this category
  • Judged for creativity of costume


2. Strut and have fun!


International Sailor Moon Day Austin Costume Contest: 2016 judges
International Sailor Moon Day 2016 judges from left to right: Alicia Herber, Olive Kathryn, and Mia Moore
Photo by Erika Rich


Our judges will be walking around throughout the event to familiarize themselves with contestants, so please feel free to say hello and talk to them about your costume!

Judges will make a note of the costumes that catch their eye throughout the party.


3. Primp and touch up!

If you need comfortable space to change, apply makeup or accessories, etc., we will have a designated lounge room for contestants to use. Just ask an event volunteer to direct you to it. All we ask is that you be considerate to other contestants, and share space or move out of the room when you are finished using it, as needed.


4. Listen carefully for your cue.

The costume contest will begin promptly at 3:30. As we draw closer to “curtain call,” we will make announcements asking all contestants to gather near the stage. The judges will take one last look at the contestants for each category before making their final decision. You may not be able to hear the announcements from all areas of the event (such as the Drafthouse lobby or outdoors), so keep an eye on the time and be prepared!


5. Have a ball!

We know you put a lot of imagination and work into your fantastic looks, so work them with confidence and enjoy your moment in the spotlight!



Each category will have a winner and a runner-up. Both will receive a gift basket filled with prizes like giftcards, toys, jewelry, and lots of other neat stuff.

The judges will select one of these winners as the “best in show” costume. This person will win an extra-special grand prize, which will be announced later. We’ll be plugging our prizes on the ISMD Austin 2017 Facebook event so stay tuned!




Q. Can I enter more than one category?

A. To make things simpler for our judges, we prefer that contestants only enter one category.


Q. I am dressing up as [this type of outfit from the show or manga]. Where do I fit in?

Enter the Sailor Moon Crown to be judged for accuracy to the series. Villains, Tuxedo Masks, and other non Sailor Scout/Senshi characters — this means you, too! Please note: If you are doing a specific everyday outfit that a character wears during the series, please bring a reference photo for the judges to review. Please tell the check-in volunteer if this is your preference so we can accommodate you and judge you fairly.

Enter the Sailor Jupiter Crown if you would like to be judged for your costume’s ability to work as an everyday outfit.

If you still have questions about which category you belong in after reading this criteria, please tell the volunteer who is checking you in and they can get someone who can help.


Q. Do costume contest categories have gender restrictions?

A. No. Anyone of any gender can dress up as any character of any gender. All costumes will be judged based on that category’s criteria. Gender is not a factor in how your costume will be judged.


Q. What about group costumes?

A. Group costumes should write the name of their costume contest group on the nametag as well as the name they are using at the show.

If you enter the contest as a group rather than individually, your group will be judged together.

If your group wins the Crown for one of the categories, your group will decide on how to divide your category’s prize basket among yourselves.


Q. I changed my mind! I don’t want to participate! / I have to leave before the contest starts!

A. Please tell the volunteer at the costume contest table and they will remove you from the list.


Q. Someone at the show is harassing me about my costume! What do I do?

International Sailor Moon Day Austin is dedicated to providing a harassment-free event experience for everyone, regardless of gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, or religion (or lack thereof). We do not tolerate harassment of event participants in any form.

If you are being harassed, look for an event volunteer. They will be wearing glittery headbands as shown in the picture below. These individuals have the authority to ask your harasser to leave or get Highball security to escort them out. ISMD Austin staff will do everything in our power to make your experience at our event a safe and positive one.

See our Facebook event description to read ISMD Austin’s full anti-harassment policy.


Volunteers will be wearing headbands like these.
Photo by Erika Rich


Have more questions about the contest?

Ask us here in the comments, on our Facebook event, or email



Interested in seeing some of the amazing costumes from last year’s event? Here’s a look back at International Sailor Moon Day Austin 2016.

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