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2017 DIY Costume Judging Criteria

All entries will be scored on a scale of 1 to 10 and judged based on the following formula.  The entries in each category with the highest, second highest and third highest scores will win:

  • 50% (max 5 points) on originality and creativity of the DIY costume idea.  At least half of the costume must be created from materials other than a commercially available Halloween costume. Store bought accessories, makeup, masks, hats, components, etc. however are acceptable.
  • 25% (max of 2.5 points) on the execution.  How well the costume idea was translated into a real costume.
  • 25% (max of 2.5 points) on the written story behind the costume. We want the full scoop including details of how you came up with the idea, how it was made and the reaction you got from wearing it. Feel free to share any additional information about your entry.

All photos must be original and taken during the 2017 Halloween season which for this contest is the period of September 1  to November 5,  2017. Sorry, you can’t reuse costume contest photos from prior years.  We’re looking for fresh, new ideas! (you can however use a DIY costume made before this time period — the photo however needs to be taken during the contest period with the person entering the contest wearing it). Note too we’re looking for costume entries from amateur, do-it-yourselfer’s. Not professional costumers. The judging criteria has been specifically setup not to favor one particular skill set for this reason.

The same person in the same costume cannot win in multiple categories.  We want to spread the wealth so you can only submit an entry into one category. It’s only fair. Let’s give everyone a chance!

Entries must be submitted by 12:01am eastern November 6, 2017.  Winners will be announced by or before December 6, 2017 (just in time to spend the cash for Christmas!) Of course there are some rules so make sure you review them.


  1. Make sure the photo you’re submitting is a good representation of your entire costume (head to toe) and the photo is a quality photo (e.g. in focus, enough light, costume features are clearly visible, etc.).
  2. We strongly suggest you submit three photos to make sure you are giving the judges the best possible look at your creation. Details matter here. And again, we have to remind folks that we accept PHOTOS ONLY. No exceptions.
  3. If you are submitting a photo that contains other people or other items in the photo that aren’t part of the contest make sure it’s obvious what the focus of your photo is.
  4. While makeup can certainly play an important role in creating the total costume look, submitting a photo that is only about a makeup look isn’t what we’re looking for. Makeup only photos absolutely will not win in any category. They may be cool looking but this is a costume contest.
  5. The essay part of this contest is important. We encourage all contestants to take the time to craft an essay that not only explains how you made the costume but also what gave you the idea along with the reactions you received from wearing it. The reality is that we receive a lot of the same types of costume entries for each category. One way to make sure your costume entry gets noticed is to take the time to write a proper essay about the costume you created.