Dead Dog Party

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Synonyms: Dead Cow Party
See also: Dead Dog Panel
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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 weekend.

"Dead Dog Parties" are fan-run con events, not procon events.

Similar gatherings, but without food and frivolity, are Dead Dog Panels and Convention Business Meetings.

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.[1]

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. [2]


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[3], or depicting a dead dog made out of frosting.

Steampunk Cake for BayCon 2009

Post-Convention Banquet

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.)


  1. from Nancy Kippax/Reminisce With Me/1980
  2. from Tetrumbriant #7, the fan was commenting specifically on the 1975's Star Trek Lives! convention
  3. Cakes gear up for Baycon!, accessed Apr 17 2011