Programming > Cosplay

Before attending our convention please ensure you read in full
and understand the Ai-Kon’s Costume and Weapons policy.

Cosplay Repair Booth

If your cosplay is damaged or needs repair, don’t hesitate to find our cosplay repair booth open
during Marketplace hours on the 3rd floor Concourse. Basic tools and repair materials are
available for cosplayers, and our staff can assist in repairing or mending cosplay.

Costume Policy

There is a wide variety of characters and styles seen in Japanese media, this allows cosplayers for a variety of outfit options available to wear to conventions. Ai-Kon is a family friendly event, please exercise discretion in the costume you choose, how it is constructed, and how you act in it. 

While there are no definitive criteria for what will be deemed inappropriate, ‘common sense’ guidelines will be used by the Ai-Kon or RBC CC venue staff in their decisions and our convention Access Policy will be enforced. 

Please try to avoid overtly suggestive costumes; if possible, modify outfits that may not meet criteria in a way that will create less issue (e.g. shorts instead of a speedo). It is a requirement that costumes must cover the genitalia, bottom and breasts.

We also ask that cosplayers avoid costumes that promote vilifying or hateful behaviour, including but not limited to racist, transphobic/homophobic or sexist behaviour

We also ask that you conduct yourself appropriately in public and not in a manner that may be considered lewd, suggestive, or will otherwise make attendees and the public uncomfortable. Any violent, intimidating, anti-social or abusive behaviour, even while in cosplay will not be tolerated. 

In the end, what will and will not be considered acceptable at Ai-Kon in regards to cosplay is up to the discretion of the Cosplay Department. If a costume or attendee’s conduct falls under what is considered to be inappropriate, Ai-Kon will ask you to adjust the outfit and/or behaviour accordingly.

Weapons Policy

Failure to comply with the weapons policy may result in expulsion, without refund, from
Ai-Kon and the RBC CC. In severe instances, law enforcement may be involved.
Misuse of a prop, weapon or any other item, even if it falls within Ai-Kon’s weapons
policy may also result in the prop being either confiscated and being asked to leave the
convention for misconduct.

  • All props must be checked by the Ai-Kon Prop Check Staff. If it is not approved, it must be removed from the convention.
  • Please note, that even if an item was approved last year it must be rechecked each year.
  • Any weapon, prop or other items which do not meet the criteria, listed below, must be immediately returned to a hotel room, bag check or vehicle for the duration of the convention.
  • If the weapon, prop or item is needed for the cosplay competition, arrangements can be made for it to be delivered to the backstage area for the competition, immediately after which the item must be returned to security, bag check or removed from the convention.


  • Attendees cannot carry or possess any functional weapons at any time during the convention.
  • The definition of “functional weapon” includes, but is not limited to: firearms and firearm replicas, and ammunition of any and all sorts (BB, pellet, cap, airsoft, paintball guns), bows, crossbows, tasers, explosives, knives, swords (including katanas, bokken and other martial arts style swords), daggers, sword canes, switchblades, fireworks or firecrackers, axes, hatchets, clubs, silly string, martial arts weapons, brass knuckles, chains, pepper spray, baseball bats, mace and any other projectile item, toy or real.


  • Firearms that have the firing pin removed and/or barrel filled to make them unusable are still considered real weapons and are NOT permitted. This also includes airsoft weapons with the internals removed or modified.
  • Replica firearms are allowed only if such weapons cannot be mistaken for a real weapon
  • Any realistic replica firearms not meeting criteria must be removed from the convention floor immediately


  • Bows are allowed only if they are rendered incapable of firing a projectile by replacing the bowstring with non-functional string. Arrows must have blunt tips.
  • Props under 50 inches long or wide, and less than 2 inches in thickness may be made out of carved wood materials, of any kind, wooden dowels are also acceptable as cores in foam oversized weapons or staffs.
  • Cardboard, foam, balsa or other light, craft-type wood, light and/or plastic or materials similar in nature to those items are acceptable.

Marketplace Items

  • All items purchased in the Marketplace are considered merchandise until they are removed from their packaging, at which time they fall under Ai-Kon’s weapons policy.
    • These items include, but are not limited to: swords or other martial arts weapons, knives, daggers, trainer weapons, ninja weapons (metal or hard plastic kunai knives, shuriken, etc.), and combative clothing (such as metal/hard spikes)
  • Any such item purchased at the Marketplace must be wrapped before leaving the vendor’s table and immediately taken, unopened, to a room, car or bag check.

Ai-Kon nor any of its affiliates, will not be held responsible for any loss, damage, theft or injury. Attendees are responsible for their individual actions and any repercussions that may result.

Cosplay Contest Rules and Categories:

  • Youth- Anyone aged 12 or under – costume does not need to be made by an entrant. 
  • Beginner – This is your first costume and/or costume contest. You cannot enter this category if you’ve won an award in Beginner/Intermediate/Masters/Best in show at Ai-kon or a larger convention. 
  • Intermediate – You’ve made multiple costumes and/or won an award in the beginner category. You cannot enter this category if you’ve won an award in Masters at Ai-kon or a larger convention. 
  • Masters – You’ve won multiple contests and/or do costuming/costume related work professionally. References and work in progress photos are recommended. 
  • Out of show – You’ve made less than 70% of your costume and/or you do not want to be judged but you want to go on stage.


  1. All entrants must show up at the specified time, failure to appear, be ready to go on stage due to lateness or late for judging may result in the disqualification of entrants. 
  2. All entrants must abide by the costume and weapon policies set forth by Ai-Kon.
  3. No mess on stage. It is a danger to other contestants and possibly the audience. Please leave the stage in the same condition as when you entered. 
  4. Keep it PG. This is a family friendly convention so no nudity, profanity or any inappropriate behaviour that may be deemed offensive. Severe offences may result in immediate expulsion from the contest, and from future contests and possible removal from the convention.
  5. You may only enter the contest once, this includes any creations modelled by other people with exception for multiple costumes entering as a group.
  6. Plagiarism is not accepted. Anyone maliciously misrepresenting someone else’s work as work as their own will be expelled from this year’s contest and/or possibly future years. 
  7. Respect the M/C. Some names are hard to pronounce. Do not insult the M/C if they make an error. Anyone found to be physically or verbally confronting the M/C in a malicious manner over such issues will be expelled immediately from this year’s contest and possibly future years depending upon the severity of the offence. 
  8. Respect fellow competitors and be mindful of all other costumes backstage to avoid damages. 
  9. Quiet backstage. There are a lot of people we need to get in order and when the show starts the audience can hear you so we stress that the quieter you all are the smoother the contest will go. 
  10. You agree to be filmed and photographed by Ai-Kon during the Cosplay Competition.