How to Judge a Halloween Costume Contest

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Announce divisions and categories to the public to ensure diverse participation.
Announce divisions and categories to the public to ensure diverse participation. (Image: Julie Birch/iStock/Getty Images)

Halloween costume contests may be challenging to judge because of the diversity of participants, range of costume themes and multiple ways of comparing a costume’s effectiveness. To make judging easier, establish contest divisions, then narrow those down to categories based on costume characteristics such as scariest or best homemade outfit.

Costume Contest Divisions

One division may be based on participants’ ages, so you can judge children against other children and not against adults. You may want to have a division based on sex, especially if you do not want to judge adult witch outfits against detailed superhero costumes. Pet divisions are another option since no human wants to compete against a bulldog in a bumblebee costume. You might have divisions for costumes designed for two or more individuals to wear together or a division for couples who wear complementary costumes. The broad divisions you choose for your contest depend on who you anticipate will participate.

Costume Contest Categories

Whether you choose to have participant divisions or not, you need categories. Establish categories such as scariest, funniest, best superhero or most unique costume. Within each of those categories, award points based on specific criteria such as originality so your judgments have some objective measure. These criteria are helpful when multiple judges need to reach a consensus on a winner; their scores for each criterion can be added to determine who wins.

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