Parties for Grown-Ups (and Kids too)

March 19, 2011

When I asked for advice from my nearest and dearest about what bit of wisdom to share with the blogging world today, a common response was, “write about all of the fun parties you have.”  I think a common misconception in the blogging world is that fun parties need to be perfect.  I always see pictures of beautiful homes with just-right decorations, coordinated dishes, beautifully arranged food, etc.  All of these elements are nice, but in my opinion, not necessary for success.  Today, I'm going to tell you about some fun and simple parties, that anyone can pull off.

Traditional Holidays –New Year's Eve, Christmas, Halloween...
This seems pretty self-explanatory. Invite people over, tell them to bring food, and play a few games related to the holiday. One New Year's Eve we played a version of the game hedbanz. Each person was given the name of a big news maker for the dying year, and then had to guess who they were. Our New Year's Eve party was kid friendly - we counted down the New Year in the London time zone, and had all of the kiddies to bed on time.  For Christmas, we played a guess that Christmas Carol game found here.  Halloween games usually involve lots of candy and other junk food.
Lining all of your friends up and telling them to eat a
licorice string really, really fast constitutes a good time.
Invented Holidays
For a few years, my friends and I had a good run of a holiday we called “Sunday Sundaes.” Sunday Sundaes were held on the second Sunday of the month. The host provided ice cream, and guests brought ice cream toppings. This was basically an excuse to get together, and indulge our collective sweet tooths. I've seen some other fun ideas like an ultra sound reveal party, or a pi party.
Murder Mystery
Participants are given a role in advance, and asked to prepare by dressing and acting their part. During the party guests are given clues and then asked to discover who the murderer was. The game costs $20, and can only be used once, however, it can only be used once, so many people will loan or give their used game to you. When I hosted a murder mystery party, I found my game via freecyle.
Spouse Olympics
One summer when I was away, my friends had an awesome party, and I plan to imitate it sometime soon.  The event was called "Spouse Olympics."  Each couple had to do a series of different lifts and acrobatic feats using each other as the weight.  For example, the lean-in-kiss, the turtle carry, bench press and a wheel-barrow race.  The couple that won the most events was the winner!  There may or may not have been a home-made trophy involved. 
Minute to Win It

There is a game show on NBC called Minute to Win It.  On the show, participants are given ten challenges using household items.  If all of the challenges are completed successfully, the winner receives a million dollar prize.  We have had a lot of fun completing the challenges with our friends, competing as teams (no prize money involved).  Go here for a list of the challenges.  For our events (and my husband and I have done this a few times with a few different groups), we downloaded the blueprints from youtube and saved them to our laptop to play at the party.  We divided the group into two teams, and had one person from each team complete the challenge.  This was repeated until one or both teams was sucessful.  Some challenges work best if you have a big space (like a church gym), but many can be done in your living room.
Penny Hose
The Nutstacker

Stack Attack

Free PartyHere is the email that I sent to my friends a while ago about my "free party." 

Come to my Free Party!

What: A chance to bring stuff that you don't need or use anymore and share it with the others at the party.  The idea is not just to get rid of junk, but to get something new (and free!)  Some ideas of things to bring include: books, movies, toys, games, kitchen stuff, clothes...

When: Saturday, Feb. 19th
Time: 5pm
Place: My house

Requirements: Come with food to share for the potluck, something to give away for free, and take something home with you when you leave the party.

This party was so much fun!  I got rid of so much stuff and was happy to see it go to good homes.  We also got some pretty cool things too.  One fun thing that we added, was to have everyone tell the story of one of their items: how they got it, if they used it, and why they were parting with it.

Final Tips

In my opinion, all parties should be potlucks.  Most people want to bring something when they come to your house.  Potlucks are a great way to share the work, and also try all the great food that your friends bring.  One of Carlee's favourite potluck food is this pecan pie.  I tried it at Christmas time and have been dreaming of it ever since. 
Chocolate-Pecan Tart
Picture from Martha Stewart
Something else that I've learned in the past few years, is that if I want something to happen, I should make it happen.  If I want to have a fun party, I need to do some inviting.  My policy is that I invite everyone who I think might possibly enjoy the party.  If everyone I invite comes, it will probably be a tight squeeze, but I'd rather have too many people than too little.  Even (or especially) when my house is full, I have a great time.

What about you?  Do you have any tips for parties?  What fun things have you seen or done in the past?

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