Welcome to Archon, we are in our 40th year.

Grand Masquerade

Without you, it's just a empty stage...


Stage Layout

Several contestants performing an act on the stage during the Grand Masquerade.

What is the Archon Masquerade?

Well, it’s a costume contest, where the contestants literally become that character for a brief while. They might be re-creating a favorite character from print, TV or film, or it may be something straight out of their imagination. Contestants in the Archon Masquerade can showcase their costumes in brief skits, musical numbers, or comedy routines, or simply let the Archon Crew create a setting and mood with state of the art LED lighting and full sound system.

When is the Archon Masquerade?

Archon, Saturday night, at 8:00 o’clock in the evening. It’s the big show at Archon, where all the cool geeky people go to see and be seen at the Gateway Center!

Who can enter the Archon Masquerade?

Anyone can enter the masquerade, as long as they have an Archon membership, and a costume. You can compete as a group, or individually. We can take up to 40 entries. All ages are welcome.

I’m a regular… I’ve read all this before and I’ve entered the Archon Masquerade many times. Is there anything new for Archon 41 I should know about?

This year we will be capping the entries at 40, so get your registrations in early on Friday if you can! If you know you will be arriving late on Saturday, please contact the Masquerade Director before the convention to make arrangements. We can assist you with registration via phone, text and/or email once registration is open on Friday of Archon. There will be no online registration.

To keep tech rehearsals on time, we are allowing only 2 lighting cues per costume entry. See “Tell me more about the light cues offered to contestants in the Archon Masquerade”.

The 60 second time limit will be strongly enforced this year. Please contact the Masquerade Director if you feel you should be allowed more time. Anyone who shows up at tech rehearsal with an unapproved longer presentation will be asked to edit their presentation.

What do I get if I win the Archon Masquerade?

Contestants compete for beautiful custom rosettes and bragging rights. Even better, there is a catered private party for all of the contestants and crew after the masquerade, where you can watch the DVD replay on the big screen!

How do I enter the Archon Masquerade?

All contestants must register at the Masquerade Registration Office in the convention center, just down the hallway from main registration. One of our staff members will answer your questions and help you fill out the forms, which MUST be turned in by NOON ON SATURDAY. After registering, you will need to attend the mandatory meeting for all contestants, and then schedule a brief tech rehearsal. If you will not be at the convention on Friday and only be arriving later on Saturday, please contact the Masquerade Director before the convention to make arrangements. We can assist you with registration via phone, text and/or email once registration is open on Friday of Archon. There will be no online registration.

Why do I have to register for the Archon Masquerade before noon on Saturday?

Well, putting on a show the size of the Archon Masquerade takes a lot of time. Our staff members have to get ready for the show, and we run tech rehearsals all day Saturday. It makes for a very long day for the staff. Lighting cues are programmed in, music files are recorded, and scripts are printed and rehearsed. Late entries cannot be accommodated.

Why do we need tech rehearsals for the Archon Masquerade?

The Archon Masquerade has a reputation for being one of the most professional looking masquerades in the country. A big part of that is because of the time and attention we give every contestant on stage. We run through your stage entrances and exits, lighting cues, sound, and generally make sure everyone understands what they are doing. That way, the contestant is less nervous, and we can showcase them to the best of our abilities.

What are the judges looking for at the Archon Masquerade?

There are two sets of judges for the masquerade. The first set is backstage, and are looking at the workmanship of your costume. This is where you can show off your fine stitching, painting, metalwork, etc., They also look for engineering and overall construction. The second set of judges is in front of the stage, and will be judging on the overall look of your costume presentation. Such things as how well you become that character, how you move in the costume, and how you chose to present it will be considered.

I have a hall costume…can I enter that in the Archon Masquerade?

That depends. If you have a new costume, or one you have not worn at Archon before, you are welcome to enter it. If, however, you have worn the same garb for years, it would not be recommended. There will be some stiff competition up on stage, and you want to put your best up against them. The judges won’t look kindly on a costume they’ve seen roaming the halls all weekend.

I bought my costume... can I enter that in the Archon Masquerade?

This is a tricky question, actually. If the costume in question is from Wal-Mart, the answer is definitely “NO”. If, however, you design a costume and pay someone to do part of the construction for you, you may be able to enter the Masquerade PROVIDING you notify the Masquerade Director AND you give the constructor full credit. For instance, you may enter as “Joe Smith” as “The Blob”, wearing a costume designed by “Joe Smith”, constructed by “Jane Doe and Joe Smith”. The workmanship judges may or may not consider you eligible for awards, depending on the amount of work you actually did on that costume. If an award is given, it will be in both names.

How much stage time can I have at the Archon Masquerade?

Contestants are allowed up to one minute on stage. Sometimes, however, a simple walk across the stage is sufficient- you don’t need to use the full minute. One minute spent eating something sweet is vastly different from one minute spent sitting on a hot stove! Leave your audience wanting to see more, not less, of you. Keep your skits or routines simple and effective, and use the time wisely. The Masquerade Director will help you streamline your presentation at tech rehearsal for best effect.

Presentations longer than one minute have to be approved by the Masquerade Director before the convention is underway! Any entry who shows up with an unapproved longer entry will be directed to trim their presentation at tech rehearsal.

Can I enter my ten-year-old in the Archon Masquerade?

Yes, although parents must remember that this is a competition, and there is a chance that your child may not win. There is a special category for children 12 and under, so that they are not in direct competition with the adults. Children entering the masquerade are assumed to have helped create the costume to some extent. If an adult made the costume for the child, that person should be mentioned and credited on the entry paperwork.

What is “documentation” and why should I bring it to the Archon Masquerade?

Documentation is for the workmanship judges to look at to determine how well you re-created your costume. It can be as simple as a photocopy of a page from a book or comic, or a more elaborate photo journal of the construction process. Not everyone needs documentation. Then again, not everyone has seen episode five, season two of your favorite show. Or read that particular book/comic/manga. Documentation can be turned in at the Green Room and should be labeled with names and titles. It will be returned after the show.

Tell me more about the light cues offered to contestants in the Archon Masquerade

Archon features state of the art LED instruments provided by Alobars. You don’t need to be a theatre designer to figure them out; however… that’s the job of the Archon Masquerade Crew! We can work with you to showcase your costume and create a mood using colors and shapes projected onto the pale grey stage curtains. No more than 2 lighting cues will be allowed per entry. This includes the first cue. For instance, you might ask for a blue wash or pattern for your entry and then request that it switch to red to highlight an action. The blue wash is the first cue, the red is the second. All entries can also request a fade to black or quick drop to black. We have many patterns and shapes available, feel free to be as descriptive as you like and we will try to match your vision as closely as we can. We do not offer follow spots or strobe lights. Smoke/fog machines are not allowed at the Gateway Center due to the sensitive fire detection systems.

Tell me more about the sound system at Archon and how it can be used to enhance my costume entry

The right music played on our sound system can help set the mood for your masquerade entry. A majestic bit of an orchestral theme, a fun pop song, or even a sound bite containing dialogue for you to lip-synch to is all possible. Even if you think you won’t need music… you do. Trust us on this one. If you don’t have any music, the crew will find something to play during your tech rehearsal that best matches your vision of the character.

If you plan to bring your own music or recorded dialogue, you can bring it on a CD for our sound technician to play. If you prefer to go a more digital route, you may bring a thumb drive with MP3 or WAV files on it. Please do not bring your phone or laptop to tech rehearsal… we don’t have the time to copy your files for you!

If my friends and I do a skit at the Archon Masquerade, can we have live microphones?

No. We ask that you lip-synch to recorded material, as most of the skits in the past have bombed due to microphone problems. The contestants either stood too far from the mic, or held it too low, and the audience couldn’t hear a thing. To avoid this embarrassing situation, we have decided to banish live microphones from our stage.

What can I do on the Archon Masquerade stage during my presentation? What can’t I do?

In the past, contestants have acted, danced, posed, sang, performed on various musical instruments, engaged in mock battles, and used puppets and scenery to showcase their entries. All of those are welcome on our stage. Above all, however, we want YOU, the wearer, to feel comfortable. If you want to show your costume at Archon, we will work together to find the right combination of music and lights to surround you even if you just walk across the stage.

All entrants in the Archon Masquerade must abide by the rules of Archon, or be disqualified. Surprise the audience… not the Tech Crew! Entrants must appear onstage and be seen by the judges in order to compete. Entrants may not approach the stage judges during the show. No real weapons may appear on stage without prior approval of the stage crew. For a more complete list of rules, click here.

More Information

Masquerade Director
Sheila Lenkman