Come, sit by me. Let’s talk parties. You have a birthday coming up? What about the season finale of your favorite television show? Well, I’ve been told I have a Type A personality when it comes to only two things: traveling and throwing parties. If I host a shindig, I turn into a crazed perfectionist who makes to-do lists and calendars that important executives can only dream of. I research, research, research until the contacts in my eyes dry out. But don’t be afraid. I am here to help you. I’m going to give you some tips on how to become the hostess with the mostest without having to blow all of your cash because let’s get real—this ain’t no Sweet Sixteen.
Now hand me the Visine.
You can turn a casual hangout into a totally awesome party with three simple things: music, food, and props. Give me a Hulk Hogan mask, a pizza, and Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” and there will be a dance-off in a matter of minutes. I promise you dat. Of course, there are times when you are going to want to go hardcore and pre-plan, so let’s break it down to essentials.
Come up with one that’s unique and memorable. Seriously, how many ’80s-themed parties do you think you’ll attend in your life? An obscene amount, trust me. Think outside the box. Start with something you’re obsessed with. Do you like miniature things? Throw a party where everything is teeny-tiny and your guests wear little hats! Is Weetzie Bat your girl gang’s favorite book? Have your friends dress up like Dirk, Witch Baby, and the whole crew. Wait. HOLD THE PHONE: what if you threw a psychic party where everyone came dressed as a famous medium?? You can go as Miss Cleo or Sylvia Browne (which, as you can see, only requires Lee Press-On Nails). Dudes can come as Edgar Cayce or, if they have an impressive beard, Nostradamus. I would definitely be the fabulous Walter Mercado.
Decorations can make an otherwise normal space look really, really special. This is where 99-cent stores, craft boutiques, and color printers will come in handy. Check the sales bin at your local fabric store. Maybe you’ll come across some purple velvet on clearance to use as a tablecloth for the psychic party. If you don’t have tarot cards, draw some yourself and scatter them around. Type up some lines from the Weetzie Bat books and print them out, decorate with glitter, laminate, and use as coasters. Also, I will find any reason to print out a picture of someone’s face and make a popsicle mask out of it.
Good music is the heartbeat of every party, so make sure you have that shit locked down ASAP. Ask someone whose taste you trust to DJ. Do you know an awesome chick band? Are you in one? If you can throw a party and also be the entertainment–oooh, girl. It’s also pretty easy to make mixes these days. Instead of burning CDs like our ancestors did, you can create a playlist on Spotify or iTunes. And if you are truly dedicated to your theme, make sure you pick songs that go along with it. For the psychic party, I’d choose Neon Indian’s “Psychic Chasms,” YACHT’s “Psychic City,” Scorpions’ “Fortune Teller,” the Killers’s “Read My Mind,” and “The Future” by the Drums. I believe no party is complete without Biggie Smalls and Michael Jackson, but whatever you do, make sure to end the night with Pulp’s “Common People.”
I’m sorry, but I hate a party where there isn’t food. Are the hosts trying to starve me? If they expect me to bust a move on the dance floor to Crystal Waters’s “100% Pure Love,” they better be providing me with some fuel. For the teeny-tiny party, you can make mini-burgers! Or mini-doughnuts! Recipes of all kinds are easy to find. These cotton candy cupcakes look super cute AND delicious. And “devils on horseback” have an awesome name, so you have to try them. My friends threw a “balls party” once where everything was shaped like a ball (cochinos, I know) and I made these. There are also books (you can find them at a library) to aide in your journey. For example, my favorite comedienne ever, Amy Sedaris, came out with a really beautiful-slash-weird book called I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence that any aspiring hostess should take a gander at if she wants to become a legend. Related: one of my future get-togethers is going to be a Midnight Cartoon Sandwich Party, where my friends and I will attempt to make one of those preposterous sandwiches that result when Garfield or Scooby fixes a “midnight snack.”
Most people don’t bother thinking of ways to keep their guests entertained since everyone will be socializing anyway, but it’s always fun to force people to interact. I love a craft corner. Get some supplies and make some of Jamie’s amazing crafts! Or candy collars and cute crowns! That way, the guests will have something to take home that will always remind them of your INFAMOUS SUPER RAD PARTY and it’s way less of an ordeal than goody bags. And if you’re into playing games, might I suggest Apples to Apples? Or, for the more adventurous, exquisite corpse, which is an adaptable parlor game, but mainly involves writing a sentence on a piece of paper, passing it to the person next to you, asking them to make a drawing based on your sentence and then passing that drawing along to the guests to write their own interpretations (folding the paper to conceal each answer). It sounds confusing, but the results are hilarious!
You muthas don’t fool me. I know everyone will be using their iPhones and uploading photos immediately to Instagram and Facebook. But photos that you can HOLD are even cooler! Get a Polaroid or some disposable cameras. Set up a makeshift photobooth. Decorate a little corner of the room to go along with your theme. You can get low-budget crazy with some cardboard and spray paint or print out a bunch of photos and make a collage. Have some props ready. No, not like a can of corn, but the inflatable guitar and crazy glasses that you bought at the 99-cent store.
OK! I hope some of the above ideas will inspire the BEST PARTY EVER. Just remember, you don’t have to be a perfectionist to host a great soiree. The only thing that matters is having fun with your friends. Well, that and making sure nobody spikes the punch. We don’t want anyone doing “The Urkel.” ♦