One of life’s most underrated joys is the massive, out of control house party that you will definitely need the ‘oh well, deal with that tomorrow’ attitude to enjoy (if you’re hosting). Back when we were young and dumb we yearned to go out to the pub or club on a Thursday night but instead were limited to drink at people’s houses when there was an 18th, usually accompanied with a note our “parents” wrote for us saying we were allowed “consume alcohol” (honestly, what kind of parent would have actually written that). Alas, as you hit your low 20s and now restricted to the pub, bar or club to booze with your mates, you eventually find yourself beginning to realise the folly of your ways because now no one is willing to have a house party and deal with the stress or clean up. Enter mid-20s, now you’re all moving out of home and you can now make the decisions your parents never would have allowed at their homes. You decide that you’re going to invite your closest 200 friends to come and tear your new share-house a new one.
This is my 6 step guide to throwing a completely unnecessary house party, the best kind.
The first and most important item on this list is of course music. Music sets the tone and pacing of your shindig. Think about what is most conducive for the different stages of a party. Start slow and let your guests mingle and have a chat with everyone and slowly bring the tempo up as the night goes on. Maybe don’t let old mate benny get on the decks and blast Domino by Oxia as your first track, people just aren’t ready for it. At the start of your party let DJ Spotify (your phone) take the wheel and play your favourite tracks and save your DJs for later on the night when the dance floor starts heating up. Now not everyone is blessed to have a plethora of mates who are keen music enthusiasts who will be able to DJ the event for free. If its in your budget, I would definitely recommend hiring someone to play later on in the night, it will give your party more ambience and a focal point where everyone can dance and interact with the music.
The lighting of your party will really make it feel like a party, coloured lights or a strobe will get everyone in the mood and send your party into the next stratosphere. No one wants to be boogying to the harsh white light of your porch downlight or in your kitchen, but at the same time you can’t have everyone in complete darkness. That’s definitely a recipe for disaster, people can trip over eskies, wires or into the urine soaked corners of your backyard and that’s just not good for anybody. Again, if budget permits, many DJ hire shops hire out light bars that are super simple to set up and have coloured lights and lasers that will show all your mates you’re the real deal. Don’t be scared to be a little extra, no ones going to complain that a house party’s light show was TOO good. However, that doesn’t mean that a party on a shoestring can’t pop. Get down to Kmart and get some solar panel fairy lights ($20 well spent) and fling those bad boys all over your trees and back fence. If you need some more, rummage into your mum’s closet and get those Christmas lights out and get those going too. Trust me, it’ll make all the difference to your mates when they can actually see who they’re talking to, find the bottle opener or light their cigarette without lighting a few eyebrows on fire.
Probably the most stressful thing about a house party is the guestlist, who’s making the cut and what are the social ramifications? When you move into a sharehouse, this gets about 100 times harder because now you can only invite a portion of the guestlist and you have to be even more ruthless. That just comes with the territory, but my golden rule of thumb (borrowed from Meredith and Golden Plains Festivals) is the No Dickheads Policy. Don’t invite people who are going to get aggressive and start fights nor the type of people that think terrorising your neighbours or kicking a hole in your wall is a fun party trick. Remember, it’s your bond on the line and you’ve got everything to lose. People will forgive and forget about not being invited to a party, you can’t invite everybody, they’ll understand.
This isn’t so much a hard and fast rule as it is a reminder and a checklist. There are a lot of balls to juggle when you’re planning a party so you’re bound to forget something! Some of the most important things to remember are; plastic cups, people will break your mugs and glass, there’ll be glass everywhere and you’ll be in for a bad time; snacks, it’s always best to leave some nibbles out for your mates, getting drunk on an empty stomach is always a recipe for disaster; toilet paper, I can not stress this enough, no matter how much toilet paper you have, buy more. It will run out.
Set up zones in your house/garden so that your guests can enjoy your party at their own pace. Whether this be having some seating around a fire pit or just a quieter part of the house with a couple of couches, have specific places where people can chat and relax when they want to get away from the lunatics cutting shapes on the d-floor.
Be responsible when you’re planning the party, think about the safety of your mates and your neighbours so that after all is said and done you won’t be added to the AFP black list and never be able to host a party again. Put letters into your neighbours letter boxes a week prior to the party to warn them and let them make plans to get away from the noise and mayhem if they so choose. If you’re worried about noise complaints in your quiet little suburb, register your party with the police (no, this doesn’t put a target on your back), the police prefer it and if they do get a complaint they will give you warning call to turn down the music rather than have to actually come down to your house. Moreover, the best thing is to just play by the rules and move the speakers in side when it hits 11.30pm, people will get the message and just move inside if they want to have a dance.
And there you have it, some of those tips may seem elementary but if you follow them, I can promise you that you’ll have an amazing party which you’ll need the aid of Instagram to remember the next day. Now all there’s left to do is clean up…
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