Check out all the amazing costumes from Fan Faire this weekend.

I’m always impressed with the level of craftsmanship that goes into making the costumes people wear to conventions. I’ve made a habit of snapping photos at every major show I’ve been to in the last year or so, but I have to say that I was blown away with the number of amazing costumes at this year’s Fan Faire in Las Vegas. It was even cooler that I was asked to sit in as a guest judge for the annual Costume Contest and offer my insight as to which costume deserved to win in the following categories: Best in Show, Master Crafter, Most Humorous, and Most Terrifying.

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EverQuest isn’t one of the MMOs that soaks up my time, so I was a bit of an outsider to the lore. Perhaps that’s why the other-worldly characters shone so brightly for me. From the Ratonga mage to the Aviak couple married in real life, from the Mandalorian bounty hunter to the terrifying harpy and Goddess of Nightmares, Terris-Thule, all of these costumes made my first Fan Faire an experience to remember.

For those of you who couldn’t make it to Las Vegas this weekend, here are pictures of the winners of the Costume Contest from 2011, as well as a smattering of the best costumes I saw over the whole weekend.

Enjoy!

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Best in Show Winner. This Ratonga mage’s costume was completely accurate down to the runes on her robes.

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Another view of the Ratonga. It’s hard to tell from a static image but the mouth moved when she spoke.

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Master Crafter Winner. This harpy had it all down from the thousands of feathers on the hand built wings to the freaky false teeth inserts.

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The woman cosplaying the harpy definitely knew her role as she chased around the other contestants while screeching quite convincingly.

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Most Humorous Winners. This pair of Aviaks were just too precious to ignore. The couple was engaged on stage during last year’s Costume Contest. After they got married IRL, they quickly decided to attend as a mated pair of the bird people because the Aviak mate for life. Awww.

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Most Terrifying Winner. This person is cosplaying Terris-Thule, the Goddess of Nightmares and all the judges were freaked out by the long fingernails and the scary movements. The best part was the description written in the contestant’s application: “I’m a dude. Welcome to my nightmare!”

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Audience Choice Award Winner. This noble Kerra looked great but he received definite bonus points for ears that moved like a cat’s and a roar that sounded when the mouth opened.

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Audience Choice Award Runner-Up. The Mandolarian bounty may have purchased a lot of his pieces, but they were all designed and modified with tons of Bondo and elbow grease.

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A view of the Mandalorian’s custom-made cloak.

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Audience Choice Award 2nd Runner-Up. This wind dancer spirit was definitely playing the pretty girl card, but her bodypainting was exquisite.

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A self-described hungover wood elf. She didn’t really want to say much.

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Oddly enough, this wasn’t the only leopard-skinned outfit I saw in Vegas this weekend.

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I’m pretty sure this Iksar could cast a spell on me.

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Some Shadowknight cast Visage of Death on this guy before the competition.

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It’s rare for someone to cosplay a guild banner, so she gets props for that. She even handed out splinters.

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This dark elf’s thick German accent really sold the costume, in my opinion.

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A pretty standard fantasy wizard, but well realized.

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These guys took a wrong turn on Las Vegas Blvd. and missed the Renaissance Faire.

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According to Wookiepedia, Twi’lek are known for their powers of seduction.

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This guy knows how to play the part of the surly dwarf very well. He wouldn’t even get up.

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My researcher in The Escapist Magazine office (Steve Butts) tells me this is Idara, the hero of Qalia, from Vanguard. I have no idea how he knew that.

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Ok, technically this isn’t cosplay but this guy asked me to take a picture of his tattoos.

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Optimus Prime was the first costume I saw in Las Vegas, but he demanded that I give him money before I took his picture. That didn’t sound like the actions of a noble robot, so …

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