This year, the costume contests were run quite differently than they were in the past.
Since MHC’s early days, the Ms Scary Midwest contestants had always been pre-selected, weeks before the convention, from a large pool of applicants. During the contest, the chosen elite performed live on stage, in front of a panel of judges and the large crowd of party attendees. Also, during the past couple of years, contestants even provided their own music soundtrack to perform to.
The Scariest Character contestants had also been pre-selected. Throughout the evening, MHC's roaming panel of judges would hand out invitations to party attendees with the scariest costumes, so they could participate in the contest.
For both contests, the actors performed on stage and later in the evening, the winners would be announced and brought back on stage to receive their prizes.
This year, that all changed.
Removing much of the “pomp and circumstance”, Transworld Trade Shows, LLC decided to combine the Ms Scary Midwest & Scariest Character competitions, along with two new categories “Best Zombie” and “Best Couple Costume”, into one single contest with multiple categories. The idea was to remove the pre-selection aspect of the contests so that anyone, even those who were unaware of the contests prior to the party, could fill out entry forms and be judged as they walked by the registration table.
While running the contest this way allowed more people to participate, it was less entertaining for me personally. Absent was the actual performance aspect of the competition, which I always enjoyed so much. In the past, applause was a measure of who the crowd liked best and it made the audience feel like they were part of the selection process. That also was gone. With these new changes, there was no time for anticipation between the actual performances and the winner announcements. The winners were selected before anyone even walked out on stage. As the contest started, costumed characters were brought up on stage, in assembly line fashion and immediately afterward the winners were announced. After that group left the stage, the process repeated and the next category of contestants was hastily brought up. It was done quickly enough that one time I actually lost track of which costume category was being announced.
Don’t get me wrong… it was still fun and more people were able to participate, but I can’t say that it was an improvement over how previous years’ contests were run.
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