Cosplay event ideas!
If you’re anything like me, you love to be surrounded by cosplay! Whether it’s being at an Anime or cosplay convention, or being with the people in the cosplay community (if you want to learn more about the cosplay community, click here), then you’d want more conventions to take place in your area. But unfortunately, you may live in an area where only 1 or 2 big conventions happen once a year. And while you can always try to find related events in your local area (click here if you want to read how to find cosplay events in your area), sometimes there are may be really nothing to do while waiting for the next Anime convention.
However, there is a great solution to this; hosting your own cosplay events!
What type of cosplay events can you do?
Having hosted a bunch of cosplay events myself over the years, there are many types of activities you can hold; some of them you can do for free. Whether it’s holding a cosplay gathering at a park or public place, or doing a more casual get-together at a bar or restaurant, there are many places you can bring cosplayers together to socialize and enjoy the same hobby as everyone. Each venue has their own pros and cons, so you should choose a place depending on your circumstances.
In this post, I’ll give you 10 cosplay event ideas you can do in your area! Because we all need an excuse to socialize and cosplay while we wait for the next big convention to happen.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Our first cosplay event ideas is at at a park! Getting together at a park is by far the most popular way to bring cosplayers together. It’s really good to be honest: you get to enjoy yourselves at a park, there’s tons of space for everyone to move around and the park itself is great for getting cosplay photos! Depending on the bylaws in your area, you may or may not need to buy a permit in order to host a cosplay event at a park. It’s not that expensive to purchase one, so it’s not a big deal. And if your cosplay group is small, then you likely don’t need a permit.
One downside of hosting a cosplay event at a park is the weather. If you live in a cold climate like I do, then going to a park is not going to be doable (unless you guys want to freeze in -30C weather). And even during Spring/Summer/Autumn, you might get unlucky and have a rainy day or in some cases, a thunderstorm where you’ll have to cancel due to safety reasons. But other than that, a cosplay event at a park is a superb option!
Pros of a cosplay event at a park
- Beautiful place to cosplay
- Cosplay photo opportunities at a park
- Easiest to host (free or valid with a park permit
Cons of a cosplay event at a park
- Unable to do in the winter
- Vulnerable to weather conditions out of your control
2. Karaoke night (one of the most fun cosplay event ideas!)
I love doing cosplay karaoke nights at a cafe or bar! They are so much fun to host and EVERYONE loves singing a good song or two. And unlike outdoor events like parks, you don’t have to worry about the weather as much.
So what you do is find a bar or cafe in your area that has a setup for karaoke, book a date and time with them and you’re all set. Luckily for me, I had at least 2 venues in my city where I could hold a karaoke night for free. As long as I brought cosplayers who were willing to buy food and drinks, the venue owners were more than happy to host my cosplay event.
One huge advantage of karaoke night is that you always have something to do your attendees. Whether it’s mingling with others or getting up on stage, your attendees won’t definitely be bored! Probably the biggest issue is the karaoke itself. Because it’s so popular and everyone loves to sing on stage, in my experience you’ll find that people will try to cut in line to sing next. Or they’ll put their name on the karaoke list multiple times, without letting others try. So definitely make sure you lay down some ground rules for karaoke, such as having a sign-up list and only 1 turn allowed per round (e.g. you can only sing once per 10 songs).
Pros of cosplay karaoke night
- Very popular with cosplayers
- Karaoke is super fun!
- Attendees have opportunities to mingle, cosplay and do a bunch of activities
Cons of cosplay karaoke night
- Finding a venue with karaoke may be difficult in your area
- People WILL try to hog the karaoke machine, so you’ll need to monitor and make sure everyone gets a turn
3. Cosplay beach party
While a cosplay beach party isn’t exactly like your typical Anime beach filler episode, it can be just as fun! Not everyone has the opportunity to attend summer Anime conventions like Colossalcon, so why not bring the cosplay summer gatherings right at home?
A cosplay beach party works pretty much like a cosplay park meet up, except you meet at the water park or beach in your area. What’s unique about a cosplay beach party are the cosplays; everyone dresses up differently for it. And it makes for unique cosplay opportunities. Like the cosplay park gathering, beach parties are easy to hold and fun for everyone. But it’s also prone to bad weather conditions. On top of that, you need to remind your attendees that they should stay protected from the sun and stay hydrated during hot summer weather.
Pros of cosplay beach party
- Beach/Summer cosplays!
- Opportunity to get unique photos on the beach
Cons of a cosplay beach party
- Weather can definitely spoil things
- Need to be more careful with hot weather; stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun!
4. Restaurant meet up
Do you ever enjoy those moments when you’re taking a break at a convention (or after a convention is over), and you’re having a nice meal with your cosplay friends at the restaurant nearby? It’s a great way to wind down, socialize and enjoy some food after a long day.
Well, you can recreate that experience by hosting a cosplay gathering at a restaurant! It’s as simple as booking a reservation for your favorite restaurant and making plans to cosplay for the occasion. I certainly have done this myself and it made things easy to plan on my end. The restaurant will take care of setting up the tables for you. All you have to do is show up and you’re good to go. The ease of doing a cafe or restaurant meet up is why this is a good option.
However, one big disadvantage is that while it’s easy to do, not everyone wants to meet at a restaurant. If someone wants to leave or finds themselves not wanting to be there, it’s hard to exit while sitting at a table. You can’t just get up and go without having paid for your food and drinks. On top of that, social mingling is limited because everyone is sitting at a certain spot at the table. Maybe you want to talk to a cosplayer at the other end of the table, but it won’t be easy (unless you get up).
For these reasons, I normally don’t do cosplay cafe or restaurants meetups as my main thing to do. I usually save for them for after an event happens.
Pros of holding a cosplay event at a restaurant
- Very easy to do; just book a reservation!
- Casual setting means it’s easy and not much planning is involved
Cons of holding a cosplay event at a restaurant
- Because it’s hard for attendees to “leave” a restaurant, it’s less attractive as a public event
- Difficult to mingle and socialize with everyone because everyone sits at a certain point at the table
5. Outdoor cosplay skating
While not quite as dramatic as Yuri On Ice, I’ve hosted cosplay skating events outside in the winter with a lot of success and people showing up. If you live in an area with an outdoor public area to skate, then use that opportunity to hold a cosplay gathering for skating! While not everyone will want to go skating, most cosplayers just want to show up and hang out just for the fun of it.
An outdoor cosplay skate is a great way to get cosplayers together during the winter. And since it doesn’t require any permits or bookings, it’s really easy to host one! On the downside however, the cosplay potential will be limited due to the cold winter (although I’ve seen some great cosplays for my skating events). And it’s going to be cold regardless, so bundle up!
Pros of an outdoor cosplay skating event
- It’s usually free
- Gives you something to do during winter
Cons of an outdoor cosplay skating event
- Not as easy to cosplay due to the weather
- It can be really cold outside!
6. Cosplay photoshoot gathering
If you and your cosplay attendees are just looking to take some photos in your cosplays, then why not host a photoshoot gathering? I know some of my cosplay friends have done this; they rent out a studio room for an hour and get some awesome photos together! With a photoshoot gathering, you’re guaranteed to get some photos you can use for your social media or portfolio. With that said, not everyone wants to do a cosplay photoshoot, so you’ll be limiting your attendee potential by doing so.
Pros of cosplay photoshoot gatherings
- Guaranteed some cosplay photos to use
- Potential to learn from others
Cons of cosplay photoshoot gatherings
- Not everyone wants to take photos of themselves
- Limited attendee potential
Click here if you want to learn how to prepare for a cosplay photoshoot and here if you want a bunch of useful cosplay photoshoot tips!
7. Board game night
Similar to cosplay karaoke night, you can hold a board game night at a board game cafe in your area. This one I would recommend just dressing up casually, as you don’t need to go all out for playing some Monopoly or Settler of Catan together! I’ve done some board game meetups with my cosplay group, with some success.
Playing board games is definitely fun and interactive and it’s easy to book a reservation with the cafe. With that said however, board game cafes aren’t that large usually, so you’ll have to keep your attendee count low as well. And much like with the restaurant gathering, there is no easy way for someone to leave, so it’s less attractive as an open event.
Pros of board game night
- Board games are fun!
- Easy to host and book a reservation
Cons of board game night
- Limited capacity in most board game cafes
- Not everyone wants to play board games
8. Getting together for a big event or festival
Hey, who says you can’t piggyback off another event or festival? I certainly have! When appropriate, it’s totally okay to host a cosplay gathering at another big event happening in your area. I have hosted cosplay gatherings at things during cherry tree blossom season and during Japanese cultural festivals. If anything, some of them have welcomed my cosplay group with open arms! So don’t be afraid to do so.
I would recommend cosplaying casually for something like this. If you want some casual or closet cosplay ideas, click here to see a list of them.
9. Anime/video game session
Who doesn’t love watching Anime or playing video games? Why not bring some cosplayers together to do this? I’ve booked video rooms inside community centres for this to be possible, and they can be fun! I’ve lost count of how many video game meetups I’ve done. On one hand, watching Anime or playing video games is always going to be fun. But again, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
10. Cosplay dance party!
This is one of those cosplay event ideas that you may not think about, but hear me out. You don’t have to wait until the night of an Anime convention to get your dancing and raving on; you can host your own Anime parties! My good friend Epikuro, the founder of Kawaii Bass, actually hosts a bunch of Anime parties all over North America. So it’s definitely possible and a lot of fun. This is a good opportunity to also cosplay. However, much like the dance parties at conventions, dance nights are not for everyone.
But if you love raving and dancing, then definitely consider holding your own cosplay dance party in your area! At my own cosplay events at bars, I sometimes will bring a DJ to play some awesome tracks so people can dance and party to the music. 🙂
Bonus: Maid Cafe
Last but not for our cosplay event ideas list, we have the maid cafe! While many maid cafes don’t involve any cosplaying, it certainly can. I’ve seen maid cafes where the maid dress up from a certain Anime series, so it’s definitely possible.
So I saved this one as a bonus because to me, this is by far the most difficult one to do. I hosted maid cafes in the past myself, and there is a LOT of planning involved when hosting one. You (or the head maid) have to plan and find matching costumes for each maid member. If you’re going to do any dancing, you’ll have to practice for that. And you’ll have to find a cafe or bar willing to host your maid cafe event. And unlike hosting a simple karaoke or bar night, venue owners are far less likely to let you host one (for good reason though).
Who knows, maybe one day I’ll make a guide on how to host a maid cafe. If you guys would like that, let me know in the comments!
But if you can pull it off, it’s great! Everyone at the event is always super happy and fun, and everyone has a good time at them.
To summarize, here are the 10 cosplay event ideas you should try:
- Cosplay social gathering at a park
- Karaoke night
- Cosplay beach party
- Restaurant meet up
- Outdoor cosplay skating
- Cosplay photoshoot gathering
- Board game night
- Getting together for a big event or festival
- Anime/video game session
- Cosplay dance party!
And there you have it; 10 cosplay events ideas you can do while waiting for the next convention!
I hope you found this useful. It certainly helped me get over having to wait for the next Anime convention that was happening months ahead. And it helped other cosplayers meet new people as well. So good things happen when you host your own cosplay events. If you need more help on how to host a cosplay event, click here to check out my guide on it.
Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!