These are the cosplay rules I was given when I first began cosplaying as a way to figure out where I stood as a cosplayer and where to put myself as far as competing went. I am passing these on to you.
Anyone younger who has made his/her own costume. There is no guideline for the age of such persons. There is no guideline for the name of this division. It is suggested that a child model an adult-made costume either out of competition or at the adult's level. Directors are encouraged to place entries containing younger participants near the beginning of the masquerade regardless of what division they're entered in. A "Junior/Youth" is encouraged to seek counsel when deciding what adult division they should enter in.
The Novice division is to encourage beginners. You may not enter if you are a professional, or are above Journeyman in regional competition, or have accomplished any of the following in international competition: have won in a higher division, have won "Best-in-Show" or have won in the Novice division a number of awards to be determined by the masquerade director. There is no guideline on the number of Novice division awards a person may win and continue to compete in this division.
Journeyman is an interim division to allow further development of costuming skills. You may not enter if you are a professional or have accomplished any of the following in international competition: have won three times in the Journeyman division, have won in Master, or have won "Best in Show."
The master division is an open class. Anyone may enter.
Supplements Applicable to All International Competitions
Award names or quotas must not be mandated. Excellence deserves award.
Any major award given in international competition counts towards moving up. Minor awards include Honorable Mention. Minor awards do not include such other awards as "Honored for Excellence", numbered places such as "second", etc., and awards such as "workmanship" that are not given by an entire panel of judges.
Counting minor awards is left to the individual costumer's discretion.
A costume that has won a major award at the international level is no longer eligible to compete at any level. A win at international level should be taken into account when determining your regional status.
Costumers are encouraged to, and may always, enter at a higher level if they so wish, including "Junior/Youth". A person who chooses to compete up a level and wins must then compete at that level. However, if a person competes up and does not win, in the future they are free to compete at their original level.
The level of the people playing a major part in the design and making of the costumes determines the level at which a group competes. The group should decide ahead of time how credit for a win is to be awarded. If you are eligible to compete at a lower level than the groups is competing at, and the group wins, you may apply it as a win at your normal level or as a win at the higher level, at your discretion.
A professional is someone whom the masquerade director judges to be a professional. There is no guideline for determining "professional" status.