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I'm throwing a costume/cosplay party for my birthday, since not all of my friends like anime. My biggest concern is making it to where my friends who aren't really into anime, enjoy themselves. Also, if you have any ideas about games we could play, and food and decoration ideas, that would help.
Most of my friends aren't into cosplay, but I always make themed birthday parties that include costumes. In my experience, if you make the theme "easy" enough, even people who don't care about costumes will enjoy them.
As example, you could do pirates (any person can slap a patch over the eye or put on a captain's hat and a ripped t-shirt) or heroes and villains (cloak from a table cloth, or paper masks). Actually, even my non-cosplay friends were very into the heroes and villains theme and bought costumes for the occasion.
As for food and decorations, if you have a theme, it's way easier to decide on those. I found it super easy to find inspiration for things for pirate party.
Games... I know less about, as I'm 25 and my friends generally prefer to just hang out, dance and talk. But we did play charades, which was a lot of fun, karaoke, Twister etc. And I had a pirate pinata at my pirate party :)
A very VERY good way to make sure everyone is happy is not call it a cosplay party. Non cosplayers will feel excluded the entire time. Call it a "Costume Party". These people have probably dressed up for halloween at least once, so it's not as "weird" to them as cosplay to just get a cheap costume and wear it, or use and old halloween one if they still have it. That way they can do that, and the cosplayers can have their cosplays as well. As for games, I wouldn't keep it to a normal party. Maybe have a few anime references like "pin the tail on the Len Kagamine head" (where you'd pin the ponytail of Len's hair onto a picture of him. Other stuff that's pretty normal but with anime references will be good enough. The problem here is that with non cosplayers being part of the party, it's no longer a "cosplay party" becasue a "Cosplay Party" would entail that there are only cosplayers there..No one else..In which case you could have sewing contests where you see who sews a piece the fastest, or who can paint a small prop the best, or other stuff like that, but having non cosplayers as a normal part of the party, they are going to be extremly left out and it won't be fair to them and they most likely will either just be upset all night, or just straight up leave becasue "why stay at a party that have nothing for someone like me to do".
I agree with both Jei-Cos and Skymone. Cosplay events are seen as "weird" by a lot of non-cosplayers, but costume parties aren't too unusual. And by keeping the theme simple, (Gatsby, 50's, hippies, superheros, etc.) or by having no theme at all, that will keep non-cosplayers' options open. You can have fandom-themed stuff, but make sure it's not anything so deep into the fandom that it won't be any fun for people not in it.
I'd say make it a general costumed theme party, so that if they're not into anime to get themselves a different costume of a different character or whatever they want.
And...games...well there are all kinds of card deck games, some of them are even roleplay-based. For example, Mafia: [URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mafia_%28party_game%29"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mafia_%28party_game%29[/URL]
It's a card game I play with all my friends and we have a lot of fun over it since I tend to spice up the game with dumb scenarios, we even play it at cons.
Also Macau is pretty nice: [URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macau_%28card_game%29"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macau_%28card_game%29[/URL]
On the New Years Eve I threw a huge cosplay party and apart from card games we also played drinking games but I'm not sure whether you and your friends are within the legal age, so I say that's not a very good idea (my friends who cosplay and myself are over 18).
Gonna agree with all of them. I've done both cosplay and non cosplay but costume themed parties and when I have other people besides just cosplayers or those who are into anime, it's easier to call it a costume party. You can make it themed (I've done masquerades, a dark circus, and even a pj themes one) or just have it causal where they wear any type of costume (I did this for a tea party). Once you have an idea set it's easy to pick games and activities from there. I don't know how old you are so it really will depend on your age what the other people will want to do. My parties were since I was 16 so there's always been dancing and food. Usually the girls stay later and we watch movies and talk and stuff. For the tea party we all had tea and the such but went out afterwards to play laser tag. If you want games, I would look into funny things like a scavenger hunt or twister or cards against humanity etc.
Food would also depend if you have a theme or not. If you have a theme think what types of food could be there. My masquerade theme we did pasta cause it kinda was Victorian. Tea party was tea sandwiches. Pizza and salad and pasta are always good party foods and are easy to please with. Your cake should be themed to your birthday but maybe you want an ice cream bar too.
Decor really depends on the space..... I've done streamers and balloons to graveyards and smoke to just really funky lights! Just depends on the area you want to have it in and the theme!