Tab Guide to House Parties

CHRISTINA SWEENEY-BAIRD guides you through throwing a house party based on some less palatable personal experiences.

being grounded Broken window byob Facebook House Party parents party robbery

Ah the humble house party. Way back when it was the best way to have a good time without spending too much money, get drunk and hopefully not get caught by your parents. Now you’re in Cambridge the only thing that’s really changed is that it’s porters instead of your parents you dread seeing at the window.

I have a certain…history…with house parties having pretty much trashed my house not once but twice in my teenage years. Imagine coming downstairs on the 1st January and finding that not only was the house a tip and that someone had gone nuts with hair dye (it’s a long story) but that you’d been robbed. Happy New Year!

Now in a weird sense this train wreck of an event is kind of why I’m here in Cambridge at all. My punishment? Being grounded for 6 months. As in half a year. As in I literally only went to school or studied in my house for 2.8% of my life.  

So with hard fought experience here are some guidelines as to how not to ruin your house/life.

1. NEVER BREAK A WINDOW. Also do not go near broken windows. This may seem obvious. I have a scar on my thumb to prove that when caught up in the hoopla of a house party it’s not as crystal clear as it may seem in the cold light of day. Actually just stay away from all windows. Or anything made out of glass or a vaguely breakable material.

Step Away!

2. DON’T WORRY ABOUT CLEAN UP UNTIL THE NEXT MORNING. I’m told that at 4 in the morning of my extravaganza a concerned friend asked me ‘seriously how are you going to clean all of this up?’ My response- ‘it’s cool. Have you heard of febreze?’ Ah the innocence of youth. Live in blissful ignorance as long as vodka will allow it.

3. DON’T LEAVE THE DOORS UNLOCKED AT THE END OF THE NIGHT. Again, you might think this is obvious. YOU’D BE SURPRISED. Double check and triple check. And then maybe check again just in case. Funnily enough robbers find it really easy to find houses which have unlocked front doors. And insurance companies are weirdly unsympathetic. Funny that.

4. DO NOT PUT IT ON FACEBOOK. I hear you thinking, ‘well obviously you moron.’ Clearly posting a status is just inviting stupidity. But avoid a facebook event. It becomes all too easy for it to snowball. People ask to be added to the event and you don’t want to be churlish, god forbid. If anyone questions your lack of facebook event just act mysterious and tell them you’re ‘over the whole facebook thing.’ Failing this change the subject or feign sudden onset deafness or narcolepsy.

Turn back now!!

5. DO NOT HIDE YOUR STUFF FROM YOURSELF. I once spent three hours looking for my phone which I had hidden in order to not lose it. In the manner of Dory from Finding Nemo I quickly forgot this minor detail and thought I’d lost my phone. Further point, if you must hide stuff from yourself don’t hide it at the bottom of your wardrobe. It is literally the last place you will look.

6. DON’T MAKE EVERYONE GO HOME. It’s surprisingly easy to guilt trip hung-over people into helping with the clean up. If they really complain, just try a glare so icy Medusa will be demanding it back. Or look like you’re about to cry. Or actually cry. Any of these will provoke acute fear/concern for your mental health/guilt at having taken advantage of your hospitality. Failing that bribe them with pancakes (which they have to make).

7. DON’T PROVIDE BOOZE. BYOB is the way to go. You’re providing your house. You are literally making the party happen by allowing people into the space you call home. You have done more than enough. People can bring their own cheap wine. You’ll need your money to buy yourself booze – for every drink your guests drink you’ll need 2.3.

Simple enough

8. OCCASIONALLY TURN THE MUSIC OFF. People will in the course of the evening incrementally make their voices louder and turn the music up until even the dubstep kids are thinking ‘Jesus Christ, this is bad for our ears.’ Every once in a while turn the music off momentarily and make an ‘announcement.’ The public speaking element of this really isn’t important. Suggestions for announcements: ‘Everybody Drink!’ ‘Has anyone seen (insert names of two people who are secretly getting together).’ Simple but effective.