How to have a cosplay party!
If you’re searching or reading this post, you’ve probably seen all the fun stories about cosplayers having some fun at parties, most at conventions. And maybe you yourself are interested on holding one at the next convention you stay at. You may be wondering, “How do I have a successful cosplay party? Are there things I need to know? What can I do to ensure people have a good time?
Well, today I am here to answer those questions for you!
How do you have a cosplay party?
Whether you’re planning a cosplay party at a convention hotel, at a bar in your own home, the most important thing is that you need to plan ahead. Figure out how many people will attend, so you can decide what how much stuff you need for the event. Be sure to set clear rules and boundaries at your cosplay party so that your attendees can have a fun and safe time.
In this guide, I’ll give you 5 things you NEED to know on how to host a cosplay party. Wherever you decide to hold one, these tips will ensure you and your guests will have an awesome time!
Without further ado, let’s get started!
1. Where to hold a cosplay party.
As an event organizer and someone who attends a lot of conventions, I myself have held cosplay parties at all sorts of venues. Therefore, I would categorize 3 main places where you would hold a cosplay party:
- In your private home (or someone else’s house)
- At your convention hotel
- At an event venue (at a bar, restaurant or nightclub)
In terms of similarities and differences between hosting a cosplay party, there are only a few. Let’s start with the differences.
At a private home and convention hotel, the vibes are going to be less formal and more casual. And depending how old you are, even less so if alcohol is involved. I would say at a convention hotel, you need to more mindful of your attendees because things can get crazy at cosplay parties at conventions; us Weebs love to party at cons! When you’re hosting a cosplay party at a venue, it’s definitely a lot more formal because you’re holding the event at an establishment. So you and your attendees need to follow the rules to avoid any issues with the venue owners and even city bylaw officers.
With that said, hosting a cosplay party has some commonalities, which I will cover in the next sections.
2. Figure out how many people are coming.
No matter where you decide to hold your cosplay party, you need to know how many people will be showing up. That way, you can plan ahead and see how far in advance you need to prepare.
It’s pretty easy to see how many people will attend your cosplay party.
If it’s a cosplay hotel party or a party in your home, then you’ll be the ones sending out the invites to people, so you’ll be the one keeping track of the attendee list. Your guests may want to bring their friends along, but you can easily keep track of that as well.
If it’s a cosplay party at an event venue, then you can keep track by using an online ticket sales website like Eventbrite. That’s what I used when I hosted cosplay events at a bar! And even if you don’t plan on charging money for your cosplay party, Eventbrite allows you to sell “free” tickets to easily keep track of how many people are showing up. If you have a lot of space left, then you can allow people to show up at the door (if it’s a public cosplay party). But if venue space is limited, then you should make it clear that walk-ins are not allowed.
Wherever you decide to hold your cosplay party, you definitely need to know a good estimate of how many people will show up.
3. How much stuff you will need?
Once you know the precise or relative amount of attendees showing up, you can better prepare on the list of items and materials you’ll need for the cosplay party.
Here is a sample list of items you’ll need for your cosplay party if it’s being held at your house or in a convention hotel:
- Plastic cups, plates, utensils
- Paper towels (someone always spills stuff, so paper towels always come in handy!)
- Garbage bag (great for compiling trash)
- Entertainment (board games, video games)
- Music (optional)
Depending on how many people are showing up, I will buy the right amount of food/drinks/plastic items with an adequate amount of entertainment. If it’s less than 20 people, then I don’t mind buying everything out of my own pocket (unless it’s my own cosplay birthday party)! However, if you have a bigger group than this, then I recommend asking your guests to pitch in like $10-$20 USD to help pay for everything. Cosplay parties can get expensive when they involve a lot of people!
Now if you’re hosting your cosplay party at a venue, then it’s different. The venue will provide almost all of the items and materials you’ll need. In my experience, I only needed to bring a few things such as my documents that show the list of attendees that bought or registered for tickets. And I would bring random prizes such as plushees or posters for attendees. But the most important thing you bring for the venue: paying customers!
Fortunately for me, I only worked with venues who allowed me to host a cosplay party free of charge. After all, if I’m bringing people who will buy their food and drinks, why would they charge me? However, there are venues that will want you to pay an upfront fee so you guarantee them revenue for their using their space. For example, they want you to pay $500 first before allowing you to hold a cosplay party at their location. I avoided these venues because I personally didn’t want to spend that much money, but it’s up to you.
Alright, onto the next section…
4. Set your rules and boundaries for the cosplay party.
No matter where you decide to hold your cosplay party, you need to set the rules and boundaries to everyone that’s attending. This is especially true if the cosplay party is being held at a public venue; you don’t want to get in trouble or be on bad terms with the venue owners. While most people in my experience behave very well and follow the rules, there will be a select few who may do bad things. You’ll need to take care of them and remind them of the rules, or just kick them out.
What type of rules and boundaries should you set for the cosplay party? Here are some things you should definitely set:
- Treat everyone with respect; no disrespectful words or harassment
- Mark the places that people are allowed/not allowed to walk around. You should let your guests/attendees know which areas of the home, hotel or venue where people cannot go. So for example, when I hosted cosplay parties at a hotel, I did not allow anyone to go in our bedroom and our closet (that’s where we stored our cosplay and props). And no one could go into the washroom unless they got permission from us first; we just didn’t want a bunch of people going into the washroom.
- Cosplays are fragile, so remind people to ask permission first before touching handling any cosplay materials. At cosplay parties, this is definitely important!
- Be respectful when going for food or drinks. Don’t hog the food and definitely don’t steal any drink; that’s just not cool!
- No inviting other people to your cosplay party unless they tell you in advance. I would highly recommend you tell everyone that they cannot just invite whoever they want to your cosplay party. Since you cannot vet them, all it takes is for one bad +1 guest to ruin a party (I’ve seen this happen). Not saying they cannot, but they have to ask you first. Of course, this doesn’t apply at a public venue, only for parties in your home or hotel room.
- Minimum purchase of 1 drink or beverage at a venue. Support the venue that’s allowing YOU to use THEIR building to host YOUR cosplay party! I highly recommend making it a requirement for everyone to purchase at least 1 drink or food at the venue. It goes a long way with supporting the venue financially, and you’ll build a good relationship with them.
I usually post it on the event page to buy something to support the venue’s business. Most people are wonderful and understand this, so you won’t need even need to mention this.
However, when I hosted cosplay parties at public venues, I’ve had quite a few people that tried to sneak in without paying for a ticket, use the venue’s facilities such as the video games and not buy anything from the venue.
The worst thing that ever happened; during my cosplay party event, a group of people snuck in their own alcoholic drinks to the bar (a BIG no-no), drank their own booze and left their booze on the table for the bartenders to clean up. The bartender was (rightfully) pissed and nearly threatened to shut down my event for that happening. Freeloaders suck, but it comes with the territory when hosting cosplay parties at a public place.
5. Keeping an eye on the cosplay party.
As the cosplay party host, you always have to watch your attendees during the entire event. This is especially so when you’re doing a cosplay party at a public venue. But even if the party is in your home or in your hotel room, you should always keep an eye out for everyone and make sure everyone is okay and/or having a good time!
If you don’t have many people at your cosplay event (i.e. less than 20), then you can probably manage the party on your own. However, if you have a lot more than that, you might want to get some friends or family members to help you out. They can do things such as watch over areas of the cosplay party, take over when you need a break, be the “DJ” of the party by managing the music, help you setup things and more.
Some other things to do while being a host of a cosplay party:
- Make sure everyone is okay, especially if someone has had one too many drinks 😉
- Helping someone out if they have any questions
- Ordering/managing the food and drinks
- Take care of any issues
- Making sure everyone is attended to (this is optional, but I personally make sure everyone is taken care of and having a good time, to the best of my ability. :))
I go into more detail on how to be a great cosplay host here in this article (click to read).
Bonus: Cosplay party ideas
Now that we’ve covered the main points on how to host a cosplay party, I wanted to give you some cosplay party ideas before we end this article.
In terms of ideas, there are so many ways you can pull off a cosplay party! Here are some other ideas:
You could just simply get some cosplayers together at a convention for a hotel party or at bar.
Cosplay Karaoke night (what can I say, cosplayers looove karaoke)!
Cosplay photoshoots in your home
A cosplay party for a specific series (e.g. I’ve seen Overwatch cosplay parties)
Cosplay pool party with summer cosplays
It’s really up to you and what your friends/guests want to do in terms of a cosplay party. Either way, you can follow the same structure and rules that I’ve outlined in this post.
To summarize, here are the 5 things you need to know on how to host a cosplay party:
Where to hold a cosplay party.
Figure out how many people are coming.
How much stuff you will need?
Set your rules and boundaries for the cosplay party.
Keeping an eye on the cosplay party.
And there you have it; a complete on how to host a cosplay party! I hope you found this post useful and motivated you to host your own. 🙂
What type of cosplay party do you have in mind? Let me know in the comments below!
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!