So, you’ve decided to host a house party?
ARE YOU MAD????
I know, it seemed like a great idea at the time, but where do you start?
If you’ve never organised a house party before, it can seem a bit daunting, so, as a magician who’s performed at a few parties (and I’ve seen the good, bad and the Shane McGowan of them all), I thought I would help you out with a few of the basics.
Let’s start with….
Who to invite
The most important people to invite are the people you actually like, and, if you’re single, the people that you fancy. That’s pretty much a given.
What isn’t quite so obvious is the idea of inviting people that you DON’T get on with. If your party is likely to piss people off, due to loud music, going on until the early hours or mass homicides, make sure you invite close (proximity wise) neighbours. They’re far less likely to phone the Police if they’re downing shots of Tequila off the chest of Michelle from accounts.
You can also invite people because of their likely usefulness to you too.
Invite the OCD freak that will help you tidy as you go, and the HUUUUUGGGEEE muscly guy you know, just to keep things in order, or as someone to go to when things get a bit rowdy. Also, if you know a funny, outgoing guy, invite him to keep the laughter going.
I learned this the hard way, through being a magician. I got invited to lots of parties, usually using something like this:
“It would be fab to have you there John….it wouldn’t be the same without you…”.
I would feel great; until…
“…oh, and you could bring your cards and do some tricks!”
and there it is. The REAL reason. They want monkey boy to do some tricks.
How To Invite People
Almost as important as who to invite is HOW to invite them.
The how is very important because you don’t want to mess this up. If you don’t know anything about Facebook, DO NOT set up a Facebook page for your party. You’ll end up inviting everyone on your friends list (including those people that you are only friends with so you can keep tabs on them), and you’ll accidentally set the event to “public”, so everyone on Facebook will see it and, before you know it, you’ll find 800 people descending on your house, all hell-bent on causing destruction and chaos.
Play it safe; send individual messages to each invitee, via phone or text. They’re also more likely to respond this way (and quicker too!), as it’s a more personal form of communication.
This individual approach has an added advantage. If your party starts at 9 pm and you know that one of your friends always arrives late, you can invite them at 8 pm, and they’ll be on time. If you have one of your friends that you despise, feel free to tell them it’s fancy dress, and that they have to come as their favourite 19th Century Portuguese philosopher.
Or “accidentally” put the wrong date on the invite. 🙂
With food, there are only two things that can go wrong: you don’t have enough, or you don’t have enough of a selection.
Not having enough is an easy problem to solve…buy more food.
The variety problem is a little more difficult, as you always want to give your guests what they want. Your Uncle Bob may be easy to please. He’ll eat anything that’s put in front of him, but Aunt Gladys…she’s another matter. She’s a diabetic, intermittent fasting, gluten intolerant, carb cycling, Slimming-World-on-a-Tuesday-Thursday-and-Sunday-Weight-Watchers-on-every-other-day-kinda-girl. Oh and she’s a level 17 vegan too, meaning that she can’t eat anything that is spelt with any of the letters contained in the word “ANIMAL”.
Don’t beat yourself up over putting on a huge variety of food. Get plenty and get different types to suit the major allergies and be done with it.
I’m teetotal, so what do I know about drink?
If you have an ample supply of Diet Coke and coffee at your party, I’ll be there.
Other people are far pickier/annoying, so ask them what they want, or better yet, tell them to bring their own drinks.
Still buy some Diet Coke and coffee for me though, obvs.
With music, there are a few options, and I’ll put them in order of desirability.
- Your best friend is Jason Derulo. He’s heard about your party and is gagging bring his gear down and bang out a few sets for you. BOOM! Job done. Chances of this happening: REMOTE.
- You have a friend who is a DJ, has a simple laptop and speaker set up, which he’s happy to bring to your party. You can email him a list of songs. He can make a playlist and set up the system when he arrives. All he has to do is fire it off, and everyone (including him) can boogie the night away (god, I’m old). Chances of this happening: 7.5%.
- You have a friend with a laptop and a huge amount of illegal music on it. Email him your song choices and ask him to stick it in a playlist. Hire, or borrow, a PA to feed it through, and you’re golden (I have no idea what that means). Chances of this happening: 40%
- Grab yourself a free trial of Spotify Premium (to remove the adverts because, let’s face it, no one wants to be trying to cop off with that tasty blonde while listening to a Ronseal Woodstain commercial  ) and make your own playlist. Chances of this happening: 50%. (Chances of you getting with that tasty blonde: 0.06%)
- You drag your Hi-Fi system out from the garage, dust down the Black Lace and Bucks Fizz LPs (if you have to ask what an LP is, know that I hate you right now) and spend the night explaining to people what a Hi-Fi is. Chance of this happening: 33 RPM.
Break the ice
Early on in the party, make introductions. This is your main job as host. Unless your circle of family and friends is particularly well inbred (Norfolk folk can skip to the next section), the likelihood is that some people will be meeting at your party for the first time, so point them out, make introductions; find common interests.
“Hey Alan, meet Tony, he enjoys watching animal pornography while wearing a leotard too!”
Once you’ve done this, whatever happens is up to them (in the case of Alan and Tony though, it’s up to them and the local authorities).
Keep things interesting
You don’t have to fully timetable the entire evening, crammed full of events and activities for everyone…
“Who’s for another round of charades? Best of 29?”
…but you do have to plan some things to keep your guests happy, just in case the conversation runs dry and guests start getting antsy.
You can book entertainers to mix and mingle with your guests, such as magicians, close up magicians, table magicians or…
Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Of course, you can book entertainers and this may be something that you want to do, but things like: having a games console out (and, preferably, plugged in), the football on the telly, giant garden games, a deck of cards on the table, musical instruments, and some of the more fun, easier and quicker board games out in the open can be more than enough.
Give guests options, but don’t force them to sit down to play Pictionary at 22:17, because everyone knows that 22:17 is
I heard a great story about an architect who designed a building for a university but didn’t build any paths linking it to the other buildings. When asked about it, he said that he was waiting to see the natural path people would take. He watched how they chose to move between the buildings and then built the path there.
He gave them the opportunity to make their own path.
That’s your job at the party, give them the tools to have a great night, but don’t dictate how they should use them.
Time to go home now
We all know one of those people that can’t take a hint. You’re sat there in your PJ’s, demonstrating your most impressive yawning skills, saying
“….well, it’s 3am, I’m shattered and I’ve got a heart bypass to do on the President at 7am tomorrow…”
and they still won’t take the hint.
It’s important that your guests realise that this isn’t a sleepover or an all-night rave. You love them, but at some point, you’ll be wanting them to get the hell out of your house so you can tidy up and enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Here are some helpful tips to avoid hangers-on (I’ll warn you now, your definition of “helpful” may vary):
- When you invite them to the party, let them know it won’t be a late one. “It won’t be too late, as I’m being investigated by Customs and Excise at the moment, so I have to go into work early the next day to shred some documents…” should do it.
- When one of your party guests leaves at the appropriate time, thank them exceptionally loudly, so that others see and hear him leave and take the hint.
- Grab a black bin bag and start clearing up (this should get rid of the workshy).
- Remove all the alcohol from the house (this will clear the drinkers).
- Before the party, Sky Plus an episode of the Andrew Marr show and, when you want your guests to leave, sneakily fire it up when no-one’s looking. “Oh my god! Is it 8 am on Sunday morning ALREADY?”.
- Grab a bowl, get some car keys and toss them in, so everyone can see. Look expectant.
- When only the last, most stubborn, guest remains, go upstairs and change into an outfit made entirely of rubber, come down and say “I’m glad he’s gone, now we can get the REAL party started.” 
So, there you have a nearly complete guide on how to throw an awesome house party. The most important thing, of course, is to forget how much chaos organising a house party brought to your life, so that you can do it again next year!
If you’ve got any tips you’d like to share, feel free to do so in the comments below. I also shan’t be offended if you ever want to share, like, retweet or whatever the hell you do on Instagram the blog post.
 – Yes, there’s definitely a “wood” joke there somewhere, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to be the one that goes there.
 – Only do this if you’re really desperate, as you can learn some amazingly honest truths about your friends while wearing rubber. 
 – No, you cannot ask me how I know this.
f you’re having a house party in the near future, and don’t fancy doing the entertaining yourself, don’t worry, because you don’t have to!
I can help…
*** WARNING!! THERE’S A SALES MESSAGE COMING!!! THERE’S A SALES MESSAGE COMING!!! ***
I’m a party magician and entertainer who specialises in putting smiles on guests faces.
I can get your guests laughing and having a fabulous time at YOUR party, allowing you to relax and enjoy yourself!
“Thank you for helping make our wedding day stress free and being exceptionally entertaining“
“He was hugely entertaining, with a real sense of mischievous fun! Our guests loved him!“
Fill in the form below to see if I’m available for your next party!