The HNS Conference’s dare-we-say legendary Costume Pageant will have a brand new format for HNS2017 in Portland


The costume pageant and contest will kick off the first evening of conference festivities at the cocktail party on Thursday evening, June 22, 2017, with a splash of icebreaking historical flair.

ALL conference attendees are invited to participate and ALL conference attendees may vote for the TWO costumes they feel best represent these two categories:

1) Best evocation of an actual historical figure or fictional character
2) Most historically accurate costumemedieval lady

During the cocktail party, while all conference attendees meet and mingle, the costumed attendees are encouraged to discuss their ensembles with others, and noncostumed attendees are encouraged to ask about the ensembles. What makes the outfit special, does it have a specific purpose (dress uniform, afternoon walking dress, bridal gown, etc.), what era/year it is from, is it handmade (one of a kind or rented for the occasion), how were the garments constructed, and are there any unusual details or accessories?

For those costumed attendees portraying a fictional character, we encourage you to speak in character, e.g., “This was my wedding dress—I haven’t removed it since I was jilted at the altar by Mr. Compeyson. I trust you’ll disregard the moth holes when you judge me. It’s why I like to sit in the dark and refuse to let Estella or Pip open the drapes of Satis House. If you sit with me at dinner, please be sure my veil doesn’t get near the candles!”

If you are portraying an actual historical figure, these are the things you may choose to discuss with those who ask about your costume; or, conversely the questions you should be prepared to answer:

What are you best known for?
What are some highlights from your life or story?
How would your friends describe you?
How would your enemies describe you?

king arthurCostumed attendees will also wear an identifying badge on their costumes, taking the guesswork out of who they are portraying. The badge will also indicate which category the attendee is competing in, so that ballots can be placed in the appropriate ballot box.

When you register for the conference, you’ll be asked to check a box reflecting your intention to participate in costume at the Thursday night cocktail party, so we can have an idea of how many will arrive in costume. Should you desire to wear a costume to the cocktail party, but do not wish to participate in the contest, you do not need to check this box. However, at the cocktail party, please indicate on your sticker telling everyone who you are, that you do not wish to compete (e.g. “Leslie Carroll: Helen of Troy, not competing tonight, please don’t judge me.”)

During the Thursday evening cocktail party, we’ll have a pair of ballot boxes available, with pens and stacks of blank ballots beside them. Attendees must complete ballots, writing down their top selection in each category and votes must be cast in the respective ballot boxes before the cocktail party ends. Ballot box monitors will tally the votes, and the respective winners of the two categories will be announced at the end of the cocktail reception.

We hope to have a celebrity presenter reward the two prizes. Stay tuned!

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