So, it’s almost Halloween; the holiday that once meant cruising your neighborhood with a pillowcase full of candy and that now, at least for me and my friends, means a party; dressing up, having drinks, and letting loose! In my opinion, a successful party doesn’t have to have extensive decorations, elaborate menus, expensive drinks, or an “agenda” of party activities. Why not find out what your friends are doing and combine all your efforts to host one big party with the main theme (other than killer costumes) being enjoying each other’s company? A good party is: drinks with friends, upbeat music, plenty of snacks, and an opportunity to wear a wig; no bobbing for apples required. Though Halloween is on a Wednesday this year, shoot for Friday or Saturday night for your party
Invite friends. Do this the week of the party. Any earlier and plans will likely change. Start with Facebook invites, but since many people, including myself, often ignore the innumerable invites and notification with which we are constantly bombarded, I usually send additional group (or better yet, individual) text messages to the people that I really want to come to the party. Get your housemates to invite their friends too. In my experience, invite more girls than guys to end up with an even distribution. Tell them to come earlier than you want so that they arrive “on time”. The last party that I had, I told my friends 10 p.m…the majority of people showed up after midnight!
Talk to the neighbors. If you live in close proximity to your neighbors it might be wise to let them know that you are having a party and tell them to let you know if there are any problems. Doing this could save you from having an aborted party due to a noise complaint and visit from the local police.
Buy snacks and drinks. The best food for a party is food that isn’t messy or served hot. Bite-sized is a good rule of thumb. Chips, pretzels, popcorn, cheese, cured/smoked meats, bread, crackers, nuts, grapes, and candy (of course!). Unless you are having a “dinner party”, most party guests will not likely show up with a huge appetite.
– We usually buy a couple 30-packs of relatively inexpensive beer and leave the rest of the booze up to the preference of whatever the guests want to bring. A “B.Y.O.B” party will definitely save you money, and your friends get to drink what they like. For those that don’t bring anything (god forbid), or to avoid running out of beer, that $30-$40 dollars worth of beer should cover it.
– If you buy hard alcohol, don’t leave the bottle out on the counter, especially if it’s nice. Save it until the party is under way and offer drinks or shots when the time is right. If it’s out from the start it will be gone before you know it.
– If you have carpeting, don’t serve red wine, cranberry juice, or anything else that will result in a forfeit of your security deposit.
– If you purchase at least 3 beers per guest attending you will be able to offer them the drinks, cover those who are without, and compensate for the inevitable phenomenon of the barely-drunk beer cans (wounded soldiers) that will likely begin to multiple on your kitchen counter as the night progresses.
For a fun drink special I like these “Candy-Corn” jello shots that layer Cointreau liquor and coconut milk (and uses real orange peels as molds!)
Buy other supplies. Party lights, plastic cups, napkins, paper plates, paper towels, toilet paper, and heavy-duty trash bags. Hang a trash bag from a door knob/cabinet handle in your kitchen so that you can clean as you go (instead of all afternoon the next day!). If you don’t have a mop, you might want to get one.
Prepare the house. Start with a clean house. You and your housemates should clean the day of the party and put away anything breakable/valuable that could get damaged. You might need to rearrange your furniture, get more chairs, hang your party lights, and take out the trash. Don’t forget to charge your camera!
Make a playlist. Or ask a qualified friend to be your D.J. If making a playlist, however, find songs that have upbeat energy throughout the entire track. You could also go for a theme: 80s music, 90s music, hip-hop, Top 40 pop music, latin music, electronica, dub-step, etc. Just make sure that the music is fun and put a few in there for people to sing along to. I like to put the playlist on my iPod, then lock the screen so that my drunk friends don’t end up changing the song every 30 seconds. If someone tries to plug their phone in to play a song and you don’t want them to, just put your music back on (it’s YOUR party, remember?).
Relax and enjoy. Don’t worry if people aren’t there right when your party starts. Your closest friends will probably be the first to show up, so have a drink, play a game, eat dinner, whatever. Once the party is underway, don’t spend the whole time passing out coasters and checking the decibel level of the stereo; a good host should be having the most fun at the party, not the least!