LOL but it's good blathering, Eleryth.
tis true, not every sci-fi con is on the ball either. But there, you have the difference between a small local or regional con where the only hall costumes you see are maybe a couple of TOS Trek uniforms and a random Jedi, and the larger regional to national cons where costumes of all shapes, sizes, and colors are parading around the convention space all day. The better the hall cosplay, the better potential for a decent masquerade. Which is why anime cons really CAN do better - hall cosplay at an anime con is like breathing. It's getting to the point where newbs are afraid to show up not in a costume. It leaves the door wide open to show the difference between what people enjoy wearing in the halls for comfort or fandom, and what they should start thinking about taking to the stage.
grandis - I did bring up not wearing your masquerade costume in the halls. Most people seem baffled by that yet. I concede to Danzikumaru that maybe it would be harsh to make that a RULE, yet you and I come from the circles where that IS taken as an unwritten rule and to see someone come into the green room in the same costume they've had on all day is rare and provokes boggled looks.
If we are returning to that topic, let me mention this. I didn't see it myself, but I heard about it from a friend. At Archon, last year, there were some anime costumes in the masquerade, but the people doing them had only ever been to little anime cons, never a big sci-fi con like Archon, and weren't aware of its masquerade traditions and rules. My friend who was competing said they really stood out in the green room in a not-so-nice way, because they had been wearing their Naruto duds all day and were just competing them against three classes worth of costumers who brought out their most stunning apparel from all sources, sci-fi, fantasy, anime, and original. In my friend's opinion, those anime kids looked like rank amateurs next to the sci-fi people, and their work paled because people had gotten used to seeing it throughout the course of the day.
It isn't always about the surprise factor, just that the audience is expecting something impressive, worth the wait to get in for good seats. But if they've seen all those costumes in the hall already, and already got pictures of them, then it can come across as a letdown. There doesn't seem to be much point to putting them on stage when the entire con has already gotten more than an eyeful of them. Especially if we're talking about emphasizing walk-on performance instead of skit - then you really lose a lot of impact of your presentation.
I still lean on the practical side, that being costumes you wouldn't want to be in all day, but there's the rub. Are the kinds of costumes you would feel comfortable wearing all day in panels and the dealers room the kinds of costumes that deserve to be on stage? CAN they compete against the costumes that are not good for the halls, with complex designs and difficult construction methods?