College is the time in life when many of us are invited to our first dorm party, and while they can be a ton of fun — they can also be a lot of work. You need to figure out who you’re inviting, what you’re serving, how many people are coming, and how you’ll keep things safe and clean.
Here are some great tips for planning the perfect collage dorm party.
First and foremost, when you’re inviting people to your dorm party, it’s important to keep in mind that some of your guests might be underaged. If that’s the case, you should avoid having alcoholic beverages around — but still, make sure there are plenty of things for your partygoers to do. Instead of a keg, supply the following:
Music. Have a great selection of CDs so that your friends can enjoy themselves with or without alcohol.
Games. If you’re expecting a lot of underaged guests, never have any actual drinking games at your collage dorm party. You should have plenty of video and card games available though, like poker and Blackjack. Just make sure you skip the real money — and the real drinking!
Drinks. If you’re having an adult party, make sure you have plenty of soft drinks so everyone can enjoy themselves comfortably. If you have a punch bowl, only serve punch, not beer or hard liquor.
Charities. If you’re planning a party that can be a fund-raiser for charity, make sure there are no hard drinks and no alcohol at all at your party — keep this in mind when picking out the games and music. You probably want to avoid games that use money as well.
Invitations. Make sure to include the name of your charity at the bottom of the invitation or on another piece of paper that can be handed out at the party. Also, send a handwritten note to each person inviting them — make it special and personal so people will get a real kick out of getting it in the mail!
Party Decorations. Consider the theme of your party and decorate accordingly. For example, if you’re having a Halloween party, you can have Halloween decorations everywhere. If you’re having a Christmas party, consider having Christmas decorations or place lights around the room to spell out “CHRISTMAS!!”
Judging by my experience with hosting several dorm parties now, I’ve learned a few things about planning parties that work great and others that don’t. Here are the ones that don’t:
P.J.s. Never party in your pajamas — unless you want a bunch of people tripping over everything and falling down the stairs while you’re trying to have fun!
Loud music. If you host a party with music, keep the volume low unless it’s for an adult event. If you do, make sure it’s loud enough so that everyone can hear it, but not so loud that it’s blaring and annoying.
Eating and drinking. While you might be tempted to just stuff yourself with chips and dip, remember that those kinds of meals are awkward when eaten in groups — and all the wrappers can get messy very quickly. Try to offer finger food or foods that are easy to eat without making a mess.
Using the restroom alone. The last thing you want at a party is in a situation where one person is upstairs and has to wait for someone else to show them the way. Make sure there’s never one person standing around, waiting for another — and make sure there are plenty of restrooms so no one has to wait in line.
Party games. Games are great but only if guests are willing to do them. If you’re having a party with a lot of underage guests, you might want to stick to games that are fun and safe for kids as well.
With so many people coming to your dorm party, it’s important to have everything ready and organized before the event.
Here’s how I typically handle this:
A few days before the party I make sure there are plenty of extra cups and plates in case people bring their own. I also get new tablecloths, napkins, and other decorations just in case.
The day before the party, I clean everything up and make sure it’s ready — I make sure the music is there and that all the games are readily available.
I cook whatever I’m planning on serving for a few hours before the party to make sure it gets done in time. If you want to keep things simple, then cook some burgers or hot dogs on the grill outside.
When the party starts, I hand out the invitations and make sure each one has a name tag — sometimes, it’s hard to remember all of the people who are coming, but with name tags, you can keep track throughout the night.
I’ve always considered parties to be a lot of work — but there is something about them that makes them worth it. Parties are fun because they allow us to connect with friends especially. I’m looking forward to my next dorm party — and I hope many of you are as well!
What are your favorite aspects of hosting a college party? Let me know in the comments! And don’t forget to check back tomorrow for new articles