Dead Dog Party
|Synonyms:||Dead Cow Party, Dead Dog Dance|
|See also:||Dead Dog Panel, Meetup|
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A Dead Dog Party (or Dead Cow Party) is an informal gathering held on the last day of a con (usually a Sunday afternoon), after official functions are over. It is often held at the con hotel, but sometimes in a different locale.
The con committee members are the main participants and were joined by other fans. Sometimes the party is by word-of-mouth, invitation only, and sometimes it is listed in the programming. It is a time to hang out, unwind and rehash the convention.
"Dead Dog Parties" are generally fan-run con events, rather than procon events. Sometimes dead dog parties are official events organized by and for staff. In these cases, the party is generally open only to staff members and volunteers.
Similar gatherings, but without food and frivolity, are Dead Dog Panels and Convention Business Meetings. The distinction between a Dead Dog Panel and Dead Dog Party is sometimes blurred especially when the speaker/writer only refers to "The Dead Dog".
Refreshments usually consist of "whatever munchies the consuite hasn't finished," but sometimes the convention will contract for a cake decorated in a fannish theme, or depicting a dead dog made out of frosting. According to WikiFur, the furry convention FurFright ran an official "Dead Fur Party" organised by staff, where pizza was provided for attendees.
The Eastercon Wiki notes that a Dead Dog Party can sometimes involve an auctioning off of equipment that was purchased for the con and is no longer needed:
A lot of equipment and supplies are needed to run a convention. Some are hired in and returned, some are borrowed and returned. But some equipment and supplies are bought to use at the con and sometimes the leftovers are auctioned off at the end of the convention during the Dead Dog Party. This may include unused paper for the newsletter, coffee/tea supplies from Green Room, stationery from Ops, props for programme items etc.
A less common variant is the post-convention banquet, a meal organized by the convention with seats usually sold for an additional fee above the price of membership. For example, Britain's annual Novacon convention usually ends on Sunday evening with a catered meal and beer-tasting, attended by a majority of the remaining fans at the con, with the general type of food to be served selected by the Guest of Honour (e.g. Indian, Italian, etc.)
Dead Dog Parties - or at least the use of the term - are particularly common in Furry fandom. This may be due to the association of dogs and furries. In the community the party may also be called the "Dead Dog Dance" The convention FurFright runs an official Dead Fur Party organized by the staff.
Many vlogs of dead dog parties at furry conventions are shared on YouTube.
Some Fan Comments
Nancy Kippax writing in 2008:
I specifically remember two fans who joined us that summer of 1980 at the Shore Leave convention in July. Both joined us at the Dead Dog party on Sunday afternoon when the convention was over. Bev and I were hosting the party at Bev's house, with many of the tired, hot committee making use of the pool in the back yard.
As more and more conventions were held over the years, the Dead Dog Party often took on a more serious tone with the convention organizers offering elaborate and lengthy thanks to fellow convention organizers and the volunteers and soliciting live feedback from the attendees.
A fan in 1975 wrote:
There is a part of Contention that moat patrons do not get to see. After the hoopla and the havoc, the madness and hard work of putting this madness together, is an institution know as the DEAD-DOG PARTY. It's a cross between Red Hour and a wake. Depending on the convention, it can be an affair 'honoring' the staff or an intimate association of friends releasing steam. In either case, the results are zany. After X-number of days of close association, nerves are frayed and raw, bodies exhausted from the work and fun.The Dead-Dog Party is the pressure valve that allows these individuals to be able to work in harmony the next year. 
Sunday - Dead Dog Party (Convention Suite) For those who stay until the last dog is hanged and even for the funeral. - Westercon 2 (1969) Schedule
But the best part of the entire weekend was the "dead dog party," held for all the con workers, and including all remaining guests. This function begins after the con has ofﬁcially closed, and gains its name from the fact that the physical condition of the workers most closely resembles that of the aforementioned deceased canine. This is the time the workers have the guests to themselves, and in many larger cons it is often the ONLY opportunity they get to talk with the guests. It is a time for reliving the good times and trying to ignore the bad, for good-byes to seldom-seen friends, and for a last exchange of mementoes. For me, the most treasured of these is a photocopy of a drawing I did of George, which he signed "To Vel, who talent, strength, faith and tenacity have brought us to this point - George Takei." THAT is what makes bells chime!" - Convention review posted in TREKISM#12, talking about ConvAdven Florida Space Fest Tampa 1980
Blake's Wake is our "dead dog" party; that end of the con event that's usually for the convention workers only. Well, ORAC held a "Dead Travis" party with the whole convention invited and we had a great time, so we thought we'd do the same thing (monkey see, monkey do). The winners of all our games will be announced during this event. Food and drink will be served at no extra charge, and for your viewing pleasure, Blake's 7 and other music videos will be screened. This event starts at 5pm on the Flight Deck. 1989 Revelcon Program Guide
- Anime Boston - Staff FAQ
- Dead Dog Party, Fancyclopedia.
- Cakes gear up for Baycon!, accessed Apr 17 2011
- Dead dog party, WikiFur. Accessed March 25, 2019.
- Dead Dog Party, Eastercon Wiki. Accessed March 25, 2019.
- Dead dog party on Wiki Fur
- from Nancy Kippax/Reminisce With Me/1980
- from Tetrumbriant #7, the fan was commenting specifically on the 1975's Star Trek Lives! convention