9 Essentials for a House Party
Here are 9 essential details I’ve learned about hosting a house party. And by a house party I mean that the primary function of the party is to drink with your friends and anyone else who shows up.
- Provide All the Alcohol: If you’re hosting parties every weekend, this rule should be disregarded. But if you host a big bash once a year, those people are coming to you, for you. Your part of the social contract is to provide the drinks. If guest want to bring something special, they certainly can.
- Provide Food: I don’t really eat at house parties, so for the longest time I didn’t provide food. Then I learned that drunk people really love food. So I’ve started providing food. I went with Seinfeld themed foods at Festivus 2010, a theme that worked really well.
- Clean your floors and vacuum after the party, not before: Your guests are just going to dirty the floors, and once the place gets crowded, they won’t even be able to see the floor anyway. Clean the countertops and bathrooms, but leave the rest until after the party.
- Invite a few close friends over for a preparty: The worst thing about hosting a party is waiting for a critical mass of people to show up so you’re not standing around awkwardly with three people you don’t even know all that well. Instead, give a few friends a good reason to come over early (cat tricks, home videos, line dancing) so you have people with you when random guests start to arrive.
- Turn Off the TV: If you’re at a bar or restaurant and there’s a TV on, your attention will continuously shift from your friends over to the TV. You can’t help it. It’s in your DNA to look at the shiniest object in the room. Prevent a distraction like that from getting in the way of good old fashioned conversation.
- Open your house as much as possible: I used to think that a party would seem more successful if people were forced to stand really close to one another. So I’d close off all the bedrooms and force people into the living room. This worked–the place felt packed–but people were uncomfortable. So now I open up all rooms and even take apart my bed so there’s as much standing room as possible.
- Put away the chairs:You want to make someone uncomfortable? Put a chair between them and the wall and stand really close to them. They’ll have no choice to back into the chair, buckling their knees. That’s wasted space at a crowded house party–people are much more comfortable if they can lean against the wall. I’d suggest putting all your chairs in a designated room where people have no choice but to sit down so that you don’t have people backing into furniture.
- Don’t stop the party: Other than to thank people for coming–which you can do individually, never stop the party for an official announcement. It interrupts conversation, and it’s so impersonal. Take the time to say hi to everyone who shows up, face to face.
- Anticipate logjams: I always look for trouble spots in my condo where people could clog up the space and prevent others from walking by. People tend to drift to some of the smallest contained areas (like the kitchen), so eliminate those areas as much as possible.
Any suggestions for missing essentials? You might notice that music is missing from this list. I put conversation above all else at a house party, so if people are having to shout over music, you’re getting in the way of good conversation. You can have music on at a medium level, but people probably aren’t going to hear it if you have a room full of people talking.