Whether it’s your first house party or one of your many triumphs in hosting, it’s always useful to seek out some new tips to up the festivity factor. Think of it as getting some more perspective for your party. Think of it as doing your due-diligence as a host. And think of it sooner rather than later. We all know what a pain it is to leave planning to the last minute.
1) Prep Work
Ever shown up at a house party and found the host half-dressed, running around in a harried frenzy doing last minute cleaning? It’s an awkward situation for everyone involved. While there are undeniably some things that have to be left until guests arrived – like mixing drinks and heating food – the best house parties should be ready to go an hour before the first guest arrives.
That’s right: an hour. This time gap isn’t because people might show up early (though they might), but because you – as host – won’t be frantically scrambling to get things done. A relaxed host is a happy host. And a happy host is a good host.
2) Lay Off the Sauce
During, but definitely before the party, stay clear of the bar. Consider it party hosting 101: the host should never be wasted, and certainly not before people arrive. You are the one who is supposed to take care of people who have over-imbibed.
You’re also the one who’s liable if anyone leaves your party and drives drunk, or decides to go for a swim in your pool drunk, or even falls on your property and gets hurt while drunk. Depending on the nature of your party, you may essentially be a glorified babysitter, but this is one of the only downfalls among the many perks of being a host. You need to have your wits about you, so either don’t drink or sip slowly.
3) Liability Smart
And speaking of your responsibility, when people are on your turf, your liable for any harm that befalls them. As unfair as this may seem, it’s the law, and it’s in place to make sure people take good care of their property.
Accidents happen, and 99% of your friends won’t sue you if they have one too many and take a little tumble, but if they take that tumble because you left the garden hose in the middle of the lawn, or didn’t have your step cleared, they could.
Pool safety, in particular, is serious business. To limit your liability, make the pool a booze-free zone, don’t allow anyone who’s been drinking in the pool, make sure all children are monitored at all times, and shut down swimming during times when visibility is limited, like when it’s raining or at night.
Oh, speaking of tipsy party-goers, make sure you have a place for people to crash if necessary, the number of a cab, and if possible, a friend who is willing to act as a DD. You shouldn’t be the one who has to run people home: you’re the host
4) Keep the Menu Simple
Now is not the time to try your hand at that retro and finicky Brandy Alexander Pie. Keep your menu super simple to make sure you don’t spend the whole party slaving away in the kitchen. Opt for as much cold finger food as possible, keep water visible and ample supply, and have a place for people to place plates when they are done.
5) Be Allergy Aware
Not just with the food – though there’s that too – but with all possible allergens in your house. Have guests that are allergic to pets? Keep your furry friends outside or send them to a kennel for the night. (This will also make it easier for you since you won’t have to worry about them during the party.)
Also be aware of scent allergies and keep the perfumes and fragrant candles to a minimum. In general, it’s never a good idea to have scented candles around food since the combination of smells can be overpowering – even nauseating.
And yes, be aware of food allergies and have options. Again, you want to keep the menu simple, but you can also make inclusive. It’s near impossible to account for or know about everyone’s sensitivities, but you can set yourself apart as a conscientious host by showing you’ve tired.
6) Stock the Loo
Your bathroom is going to be seeing a whole lot of action during your party, so make sure it’s clean and stocked with a ready and visible supply of toilet paper, fresh towels and hand soap. For extra hostess points, break out the big guns with fancy soaps, breath mints, rosewater for an instant refresh.
7) Clean Up
It’s not usually fun, but it’s unavoidable. Make the cleanup process easier – and guilt free – by using compostable disposable plates, cups and cutlery. It’s not declasse: this is a house party, not a dinner soiree. It’s smart and considerate.
Also, keep in mind that while you don’t have to get everything cleaned up before you turn in, you do need to put all perishable food in the fridge or freezer. If you’re planning on saving any of it, that is.
There you have it. Seven super simple tips to upping your game at your next party, by making the game a heck of a lot easier for you. Have fun!