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« Theme ideas - Back to School | Main
Wednesday
Jul022008

Party killers

Way back in my days as an aspiring hostess I made a lot of mistakes. By my sophomore year of high school, however (what can I say, I was an early bloomer with the party-planning) I developed a small yet highly accurate list of party killers - Light, Space, and TV.

Since that revelation in 1992, I can honestly say that the list still holds true. Of course, it does not apply to backyard barbeques, Guitar Hero tournaments, or Superbowl Sunday bashes. It's more for your average cocktail-type party. Here they are, broken down for you:

Too much light: Dark equals mystery. Mystery equals sexy. When it's dark, people feel less self-conscious and inhibited. I'm not saying it should be so dark that you can't make out the hors d'oeuvre you're about to eat, but it should be dark enough that you can't read the small print on a beer bottle. Use dimmer switches or replace bright bulbs with lower wattage. Experiment with a mix of dim bulbs, colored bulbs, and candlelight. A night or two before, do a lighting run through - you'll be glad you did.

Too much space. If people are spread out, they're not socializing. Again, it shouldn't be so cramped that you can't move, but you shouldn't be able to roll a beach ball down the center of the space, either. Having your guests in close quarters encourages conversation ("I couldn't help but overhearing you're also a big fan of Siouxsie & the Banshees, pre John McGeoch"). If you don't want the party spilling over into certain rooms, make them uninviting with a lack of seating, and zero light (especially no candlelight...partygoers are attracted to candlelight like moths to a flame).

Television. Obviously, the exception for this is any sort of viewing party. If you're not getting together with the implicit purpose of watching something, then there is NO REASON FOR TV TO BE ON. Let me repeat - TURN IT OFF. Nothing will kill a party faster. The main reason for having a party is for people to have fun and talk to each other. If the TV's on, you'll get a handful of wallflowers who will sit there glued to the tube, and from there it's a slippery slope into No Interaction Land.


Halloween bash, nary a party killer in sight

Of course, it's still up to you to provide good music, libations, and friends, but avoiding the Party Killers is the first step to throwing a memorable party!

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Reader Comments (6)

Was there a tv in the room where you held the party? What do you suggest doing with the tv if it's a main part of the room's decor? There's always one guy who will want to turn it on!

August 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

What about music?? Music is such an important part of any party but my husband and I always go back and forth between classic rock that everyone loves, top 40 and dance/club music.

Sometimes, we turn the TV and tune to one of the music stations. What are your thoughts on this?

August 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDeanna

Ah yes Hannah - that guy. You have to fend him off at the pass. Hide your remotes, disconnect your cable box (and then hide the cable) and set seating up so that the TV isn't easily visable. Putting chairs directly in front of it, with the back of the chairs against the screen, is the easiest way.

Deanna, I think using the TV music stations is just fine, if the imagine on the screen is fairly unobtrusive. If it's not, turn the contrast setting down as low possible, or if your set-up allows it, turn off the TV screen but still allow the sound to broadcast.

August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJen

[...] you spot the Party Killers? No?  Well that’s because there are [...]

One exception to the TV rule is you have a large screen TV is to run movies silently that fit the theme. Horror movies for a Halloween party for example to provide a little extra atmosphere.

September 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobyn Bruns

Robyn, great minds think alike! That very scenario is suggested for this "Hitchcock Halloween" party: http://www.secondcitysoiree.com/index/2010/10/27/creepy-and-retro-hitchcock-halloween-party-with-free-printab.html

September 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterJen @ SecondCitySoiree

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