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RULES & ANNOUNCEMENTS: 2023 Halloween Avatar Contest

Jo Marshall

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Join our 13th Annual Halloween Avatar Contest!

Here's the quick-and-spooky: Each crew chooses a theme – like "Nightmare Before Christmas," or "Mugshots," or "Sesame Street" – then, each person on the crew is assigned a character and changes their forum avatar to an image of that character. A panel of judges (one person from each ship) helps decide the winners!


  • Each crew must pick a theme. (You should already have an OOC email thread about it!) 
  • For a member of the crew to be considered part of the team, they must:
    1. change their avatar here on the forums
    2. check in to crew's official thread in this forum (more on that below) with a funny quote, quip, or greeting. (i.e.- "Trick or treat!"). Please keep any other extraneous posts out of this thread as it will be used to count the ship's participants.
  • Regarding check-in threads:
    • The second post in the check-in thread must an announcement of the ship's theme AND confirm that all rules have been followed.
    • Participants must be checked-in to their ship's thread in this forum by Monday, October 23rd at 11:59pm Pacific Time.
  • Avatars must remain in their costumed forms until at least Tuesday, October 31st at 11:59pm Pacific Time.
  • Each crew entering the contest must upload their avatars to the wiki following this tutorial to the letter. Please follow each instructions closely and exactly – your crew will be disqualified if you do not follow the instructions! 


    • We've made changes to judging as of the 2021 contest: There are now two winning crews – one each in Originality and Design. 
    • Originality of Theme category: Judging in this category is looking for new, fun, creative, inventive, and imaginative ideas. Is this something exciting, adventurous, and inspired? Or has it been done before? Does your theme have unique style and substance? A winning crew will think outside of the box when deciding on their theme and avatar concepts, with a fresh and new approach to the challenge.
      • Important note on eligibility: Crews may not choose a theme that simply mirrors a Starfleet crew we've seen onscreen or in beta canon with your characters faces subbed in – so no "SB118 Ops as the Enterprise crew," for example. You are welcome, however, to create a theme where your characters are drawn in the style of a 
    • Design quality of avatars: For this category, we're looking for the technique in the design and how it comes together. How hard was it to create the avatars, and how good is the execution? Did the crew a theme where they had to do a lot of work to create the avatars? If names are present on the avatar, how readable are they? How do the avatars look – is it easy to discern what the characters look like when they appear on the forum? Check out past entrants and winners for inspiration and ideas of what wins here.
      • Important note on design: Avatar designers should ensure that the avatars, as they appear on each person's check-in post, works best. Many ships create a "unified graphic" with all the characters on it, and then just slice that up. But this often leaves text unreadable once each person puts the avatar onto their profile. So focus more on making the avatar appear correctly on the forums.
      • Keep in mind that the unified graphic is not judged or required, so while it's a bit of fun to bring all the avatars together and show the theme, don't assume that unified graphic will win you the contest! 
    • Number of crew members checked in: This is a multiplier to the previous two qualifications that discounts your overall score. For example, if the official crew roster (maintained by the ship CO and FO) says there are 12 crew members, but only 5 people are checked-in to the thread, then your multiplier is 42%. This can easily drop you out of first place! 
    • We'll ask each ship to send a volunteer – they can't be the ship's CO, and they must not have a character on more than one ship. 
    • Each judge will rank every ship's entry on the originality and design quality per above.
    • Judges will not be able to rank their own ship in the first position. 
    • We'll use Ranked Choice Voting to determine the winner for each category. 
    • Once we have the scores for each of the two categories, we'll multiply by the number of crew members checked in, per above.
    • The crew with the highest score in each category will be announced as the winners. 


  • How do I change my avatar? A detailed tutorial is found here.
  • What's the deal with the funny quote, quip, or greeting required on the check-in thread? It could be a quote from the character you're using, or something funny that you just make up on the fly. But make it good -- ask your teammates for help if you need inspiration! 
  • Can my team use a theme that's previously been used? Yes, as long as you use new images.
  • Where do we get avatar images if none of us on my team are good at graphics? Check out the graphics request forum. Ask nicely for best results!
  • Do the avatars have to look like the characters? No.
  • How is participation counted? What about secondaries and disabled members? The number of possible participants will be pulled from the official ship roster (maintained by CO and FO) on Monday, October 23. We will discount properly marked secondaries and any members who are disabled and cannot access the forums, as per the CO of the ship.
  • When will winners be announced? As close to the last day of October as possible. 
  • What do the winners get? Everyone from the winning crews gets the Winner badge
  • What if I have other questions? Head to Discord and ask them in "🎃pre-halloween" channel. 
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Congratulations everyone!


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This was a great year, and a strong showing from every participating ship. Really well done, everyone!

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Congrats to everyone! Was such a fun event and enjoyed the fact that everyone’s avatars were updated throughout the forum.

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Fantastic avatars this year!!  Congratulations everyone!!

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Congratulations! Lots of fun this year!

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I love the Pokémon and Futurama themes. So much fun.

@Jo Marshall you're right, Grand Theft Starship legit needs to be a mission. Now @Tony, aka VAiru, @Etan Iljor where's that mission submission form at? 😅

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Congratulations guys! Happy Halloween!

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Some incredible, incredible work this year (and every year)! I want to give a huge thank-you to Jared @Lt Aine Olive Sherlock, who spearheaded the 'Oumuamua's entries from conception to creation to categorization on the wiki. I really appreciate it, and I know everyone else did as well! Huge congratulations to the winners this year -- I love seeing characters in different art styles, and Futurama AND early gen Pokemon are a couple of dreams come true.

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Haha! I am tickled pink that Gogi-Wan Kenobi got an honourable mention! Thanks to @Karen Stendhal for the fantastic image. 😊

And of course - congratulations to the worthy winners of the contest! 🥳

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