Missoula's Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention

MisCon 39: Hive of Scum and Villainy, May 23 - 26, 2025 Missoula, Montana

Conventions and Masquerades

Costuming and science fiction conventions seem made for each other. What better way to create and experience some level of other reality than to develop a persona and the costume to match? Live action role plays (LARP) practically demands some sort of costuming to create and maintain game personalities. Fans of all types dress as their favorite game, movie, TV or book character and move through the convention.

A whole genre of conventions, the Costume-Cons, sprang from these roots, created by participants in masquerades and other costuming competitions at science fiction conventions. Costume-Cons over time have provided numerous competitions, designed to give costumers a place for showing their work besides the conference's hotel hallways. These competitions include a range of costumers from novice to master:

  • Novices have never competed at a Costume-Con or Worldcon, or have not won any awards in competition at either event.
  • Journeymen have won between one and three awards at the novice level, or have chosen to compete above the level of Novice.
  • Craftsmen or Masters have won awards at the journey level, or have chosen to compete above that level, or work professionally in the field of costume.

The masquerade is frequently the most well attended event at conventions. We are hoping to increase interest in this event at MisCon. Masquerade at MisCon is a great way for enthusiastic novices to display their talents and a place for more accomplished costumers to help them along. That is the reason behind the pre-Con masquerade workshop.

The workshop is aimed primarily at the beginning masquerader. There is information galore on the Internet for the more advanced costumer, especially those interested in historical re-creation. However, getting started takes some hands on experience.

The relationship between costume and the presentation of masquerade costumes can be as important as the costume itself. Costumers move across the stage, revealing the characters their costumes represent, or offer a short skit as part of their presentation. This makes what the announcer says an important feature of any costume as well as any performance by the masquerader.

Sally Fink, who has judged the masquerade at world conventions and numerous regional conventions, provides this example:

At Tri-Con, there were two costumes that were normal D & D [dungeons and dragons role playing game] characters...and then they gave the presentation. They did a nice bit of sword work...and one guy fell on the stage and the other one killed him, and this head rolled across the stage. The whole con went 'hunh!'

Within the ninety seconds allowed each masquerader, you present more than a pretty piece of clothing. The sum of the performance and the costume gives you the chance to express your own creativity. Come to the workshop for information on creating a character and staying in character, completing the registration form, and presentations as well as ideas and materials.

Crayola Model Magic is amazing stuff. You can use it to build masks or effects. It dries light and flexible and can be painted as well as glued to your face or hands. It was featured on Wickedly Perfect for mask making.