Violence & Substance Abuse Prevention
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House Party Guide
Here are some suggestions for how to have a great party and minimize the possible problems that could occur.
Before the party
During the party
When the party ends
Please note: we are not lawyers and this guide should not be taken as legal advice.
If you would like to read more, follow the links below.
- The most common reasons party hosts get in trouble with landlords, neighbors, the police or fire marshall
- Laws to be aware of
- How to work with police if they come to your party
- Protecting our friends
- Alcohol and Sexual Assault
- UCM Residence Hall Policies
- Important Numbers
- Tell your neighbors a few days before that you are planning to have a party, and exchange telephone numbers. Giving neighbors a head’s up ahead of time shows respect.
- Consider whether you want alcohol at your party or not. Planning a party without alcohol reduces many of the potential problems of house parties.
- Make your guest list and let people know upfront that you plan to have a great party while following the laws.
- Plan your exit strategy.
- Tell people who are coming to the party what time it will end.
- Plan for at least two ways out in case of an emergency, and identify these for your guests.
- Make a plan for how you will monitor your guests at your party.
- Make a plan for non-alcoholic beverages for minors and non-drinkers and food for everyone.
- Make a plan to ensure that all guests have a safe way to get home.
- Read your lease to know your responsibilities. Some leases limit the number of people who can be in your house at one time.
- For students who in local chapters of national organizations: check with the national policy on private parties and the liability chapter's can face. You should know how many members present may constitute a chapter function versus a private function.
- If you have renter’s insurance, read your policy to understand the stipulations. (Insurance may not cover damage that is incurred if illegal behavior is involved.)
- Protect your stuff.
- Cover or protect all items that can be tampered with.
- Lock places that you don’t want people to have access to.
- Put away all candles. Fire and alcohol don’t mix well.
- Clear desk and counter tops of mail, homework, or other personal items you don’t want lost or stolen.
- The best way to make sure things stay under control is to stay sober and monitor your party. The more people you have that are sober and checking on guests, the better your chances of having a hassle free party.
- Use a guest list so you’ll know who’s at your party. By knowing everyone in the house, the risk of damage, theft and loss of control is greatly minimized.
- Limit the number of people at the party to avoid overcrowding and to allow for easy exit in case of an emergency.
- Check driver’s licenses at the location where alcohol is served and monitor the premises to ensure that underage persons are not drinking.
- Keep an eye on things. Have designated sober persons watch doors, monitor guests and noise, and keep alcohol inside.
- Have food and non-alcoholic drinks available.
- Do not permit illegal drug use.
- Consider not allowing smoking inside the house. This will drastically reduce the chance of a fire breaking out. Open flames and fireworks should not be included in the party either, for the same reason.
- Cut off people who are drinking too fast or are getting out of control.
- Watch for signs of fights starting and possible sexual assaults.
- Take frequent walks around the outside of the house to check the parking, the noise level, and whether there is a line to get in, and to pick up trash.
- Use fans to keep the temperature cooler inside the house. This will reduce the need for people to stand outside to get cool, which will in turn decrease the noise outside.
- Keep the bathroom line moving so people don’t go outside.
- Be available to answer the phone during the party.
- Limit the number of people you allow on a porch above the first floor. Old porches and porch rails can collapse.
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When the party ends:
- Make sure all guests have a safe way home.
- Do not allow guests to wander off, drive, or walk home alone. If departing guests seem drunk, make sure they are not driving, and ask them if they told their friends where they were going so their friends aren’t looking for them. Remind them to touch base with those folks who may be watching out for them.
- Collect cans, cups and bottles at the door so nobody leaves with open containers.
- Clean up outside if needed.