How To Win A Costume Contest: 7 Easy Steps

Whether Halloween or Christmas, a costume contest is a great way to showcase your creativity and have fun. But with so many creative costumes, how can you ensure yours stands out? In this guide, I’ll go over 7 easy steps to win a costume contest.

Win a costume contest

How to Win a Costume Contest: 7 Easy Steps

It’s time to win a costume contest like a pro!

Step 1: Choose a Unique Theme

Choosing a unique theme can set you apart from the crowd and put you one step closer to winning a costume contest. The key is to think outside of the box. 

For instance, rather than dressing up as a famous character from a recent movie, why not take inspiration from a classic painting or an obscure indie video game? Alternatively, consider a theme that plays on words or puns. 

One example could be “The Ghostwriter” – you could dress up like a ghost and carry around a typewriter. Or perhaps “French Toast” – wear a striped shirt like a stereotypical Frenchman, a beret, and carry a giant foam toast. A unique and clever theme can make a strong impression and keep you in the judges’ minds.

Read also: Costume contest ideas

Step 2: Research and Plan Your Costume

Good planning and research are fundamental to creating a winning costume. Start by researching your chosen theme thoroughly. If it’s a character, study their mannerisms, attire, and distinct characteristics. If it’s a play on words or a pun, look for visual elements that can help translate the wordplay into a tangible costume. 

For instance, study images of classic French attire and toast if you’re going with the “French Toast” theme. You might make a giant foam toast and wear a thin, horizontal-striped T-shirt with a beret to portray the ‘French’ part.

Next, plan out how you’ll create each element of your costume. Will you need to buy items, or can you make them yourself? Do you need to learn new skills, like sewing or makeup application? Time management is crucial here. 

Ensure you give yourself enough time to gather materials and assemble the costume. Remember, a well-planned and researched costume looks good and shows judges that you’ve put significant thought and effort into your creation, which could give you an edge in a contest.

Step 3: Incorporate Details and Accessories

Details and accessories can take your costume to the next level, adding depth and visual interest. They show your attention to detail and can further emphasize your theme.

For example, in the “French Toast” costume, consider adding a fake mustache for a touch of humor or a red scarf to enhance the French aesthetic. You could also paint your foam toast a golden-brown color and add texture to make it look more realistic.

For character-based costumes, accessories can help you embody the character more fully. Suppose you’re dressing up as a character from a book or movie. 

In that case, think about what objects or items are associated with them and could help make your costume more recognizable. This could be anything from a particular piece of jewelry to a prop, like a wand for a wizard character. The key is to be as accurate and detailed as possible.

But remember, while details and accessories can enhance your costume, they should not overwhelm it or make it uncomfortable to wear. After all, you want to enjoy the event without being bogged down by your costume elements.

Step 4: Make Your Costume Stand Out 

Regarding costume contests, the more eye-catching and unique your outfit is, the better. You want to capture people’s attention as soon as you enter the room. Consider adding special effects or elements that add a wow factor to your costume.

For instance, you could incorporate lights or sounds into your costume. If you’re going with a “Ghostwriter” theme, you could light up your ghostly costume or emit spooky sounds. 

Alternatively, consider adding elements that mimic their unique abilities or powers if you’re doing a character-based costume. This could be anything from fake fire for a dragon costume to detachable limbs for a robot outfit.

The key is to get creative and think outside of the box. Just ensure that any special effects are safe and won’t harm others or your costume.

Step 5: Focus on Fit and Comfort

While a winning costume should look impressive, ensuring it is comfortable and fits well is also essential. After all, you’ll likely wear it for several hours at the event. Ensure your costume isn’t too tight or restrictive, and you can move around comfortably. 

If your costume includes a mask or headpiece, ensure it isn’t too heavy or obstructs your vision. You don’t want to trip or bump into things because you can’t see properly.

Additionally, consider the weather when planning your costume. If it will be hot at the event, avoid heavy or layered costumes that could make you overheat. On the other hand, if it’s going to be cold, ensure your costume is warm enough or can accommodate layers underneath.

Step 6: Pay Attention to Hair and Makeup

Hair and makeup are crucial elements that can elevate your costume. They enhance your overall look and help bring your character or theme to life. 

For character-based costumes, research and practice hairstyles and makeup looks that best suit the character’s appearance. This could involve styling your hair in a particular way, wearing colored contacts, or applying prosthetics to change your features.

If you’re going with a play-on-words or pun theme, think about how you can incorporate hair and makeup into your costume design. For example, for the “Ghostwriter” theme, you could do ghostly white face paint and dark circles under your eyes to make it look like you’ve been writing all night.

Practice your hair and makeup beforehand to ensure a polished and professional look on the event day. 

Step 7: Have Fun and Be Confident

The most important step in creating a winning costume is to have fun and be confident. The more you enjoy the process, the more likely your passion will show in your final product. 

On the event day, embrace your costume and fully embody the character or theme. Don’t be afraid to strike a pose or interact with others in character. Confidence is key in impressing judges and standing out from the crowd.

You may check out the below video content for detail.

Additional Tips to Win Online Costume Contest

If you are participating in an online costume contest, there are a few additional tips you can follow to increase your chances of winning:

#1. Read the entry Guidelines Carefully

Every online contest will have rules and guidelines that participants must follow. Not adhering to these can potentially lead to disqualification. For example, some contests might restrict the type of costumes allowed, while others might specify certain dimensions for the photos to be submitted. 

Take, for instance, a hypothetical Halloween costume contest. The guidelines may outline that costumes should be ‘family-friendly’ and not include excessive gore or controversial themes. 

Photos submitted must be in JPEG format, with dimensions of 800×800 pixels. If you fail to meet any of these requirements, your entry may be disqualified, regardless of the quality of your costume. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to carefully read and understand all the rules provided before beginning your costume creation process. This way, you can ensure your time and effort are not wasted and increase your chances of being considered for the prize.

#2. Take High-Quality Photos

Quality photography can greatly enhance your costume’s appeal in an online contest. To capture your costume in the best light, use a high-resolution camera and ensure adequate lighting. Taking your photo against a neutral background can help your costume stand out. 

Moreover, try taking pictures from different angles to showcase the various elements of your costume – a front view, a side view, and even a back view if it has interesting details. 

Don’t forget to include close-ups of intricate details or accessories that add to your costume’s uniqueness. Plus, ensure the picture is clear and focused, with your costume taking center stage. 

For example, if you are participating in a Halloween costume contest, check out the tips on how to photograph Halloween costumes.

#3. Share Your Costume on Social Media 

As with most online contests, the more exposure your costume has, the better. Sharing your costume on social media can help garner attention and increase votes. Ask your friends and family to like and share your entry or join groups or forums related to the contest’s theme to reach a wider audience.

Also, don’t forget to tag the contest’s official page or use relevant hashtags when sharing your costume. This will make it easier for the organizers to find and consider your entry.

Read also: Social media contest ideas

#4. Engage with Other Participants

Engaging with other participants in an online costume contest isn’t just about fostering a sense of community; it can also boost your chances of winning. When you comment on and interact with other participants’ posts, you draw attention to your entry. 

Try to provide positive feedback or friendly banter, always maintaining respect and decorum. By creating a positive rapport with your fellow contestants, you may encourage reciprocal interactions, increasing the visibility of your entry in the process. However, remember that every interaction should be genuine and not solely for self-promotion.

#5. Ask your Friends and Family to Vote

In most online contests, public voting plays a significant role in determining the winner. Therefore, it’s crucial to leverage your network to gain votes. Contact your friends, family, and colleagues, and ask them to vote for your entry. You can do this through personal messages, social media posts, or emails. 

It’s important to make voting as easy as possible for them. Provide clear instructions on voting and share direct links to the voting page. Remember, every vote counts, so don’t hesitate to ask for support. However, always maintain etiquette and avoid spamming or pressuring people to vote.

#6. Buy Contest Votes

You can buy some contest votes from a reliable and reputable vote-selling service provider (e.g. Royal Votes) to get a boost. These services can provide many votes quickly, increasing your chances of winning. 

However, thoroughly research the service before purchasing to avoid scams or false promises. Also, remember that buying votes may go against the rules set by the contest organizers, so proceed with caution.

#7. Promote Creativity and Originality

Many online contests have a specific theme, such as Halloween or cosplay. While it may be tempting to replicate a popular character or costume, showcasing your creativity and originality can help you stand out from the crowd. 

Experiment with different materials and techniques to make your costume unique. Incorporate personal touches or elements that reflect your personality or interests. Judges are often impressed by creative and original ideas, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box.


Whether online or offline, costume contests are a fun and exciting way to showcase your creativity and potentially win prizes. By following these additional tips, you can increase your chances of winning an online costume contest and stand out in the competition. 

Remember to always follow the guidelines provided by the organizers, promote your entry on social media, engage with other participants respectfully, and be confident in yourself and your creation.

Julia Nancy
Julia Nancy

I have vast experience arranging online voting contests for hundreds of clients worldwide in the last 8 years. I also helped countless clients to win their online competitions. Here, on, I am just sharing knowledge from my experiences. If you need any help regarding the online contest, email me at