I love the element of surprise. I will never wear a competition piece - that I created specifically to be competed, shown on stage - in the halls before a masquerade. Which is also why I really dislike any competition that holds all-day judging for which you have to be in the costume, because it means either getting into it, then out of it, then into it again, or ruining the surprise.
But then, my competition pieces are not really appropriate to be worn as hall costumes anyway. They're too big, too cumbersome, too hot, take too long to do the makeup, etc. It's not worth the hassle to wear them in the halls anyway, at least not until after the competition is over, the awards have been won, and I can re-engineer it or rethink it to make it more comfortable for the halls. The bigger and flashier the costume is, the harder it is to just wear in the halls for fun.
Founder and Vice-President, Madison Area Costuming Society, a chapter of the International Costumer's Guild
Strange Land Costuming - www.strangelandcostumes.com