Ideas for a housewide party
September 9, 2009 12:37 AM   Subscribe

I am a college student living in a co-op (house with 38 people). I need to arrange a party; preferably a costume party. The themes I have come up with so far are: 1) Time Traveler's Ball 2) Alice in Wonderland 3)Mad Science Night Question: What are good ideas for entertainment/activites for those themes?

Some ideas I already have to get the brainstorm started:
*Time Traveler's Ball (costume competition; music/food from different time periods)
*Alice (Put mirrors on the front door; cake for unbirthdays; magic berries that turn sour food sweet)
*Mad Science (Dry ice, Van de Graff generator, making ice cream)
posted by Mayhembob to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Mad Science: Petri dish jello shots!
posted by grouse at 12:51 AM on September 9, 2009

Drink whiskey out of beakers.
posted by clearly at 1:38 AM on September 9, 2009

Alice: Croquet, cards
posted by purlgurly at 2:47 AM on September 9, 2009

Crazy Straws would fit any of these themes.
posted by not_on_display at 4:21 AM on September 9, 2009

All parties, and I mean ALL parties need a giant punchbowl with some kind of drinkable liquid (color is theme-dependent) and dry ice.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:05 AM on September 9, 2009

Best answer: I am all for the Alice theme and think you should invite me if this is in the DC area.

If you wanted, you could include Alice Through the Looking Glass (lots of people don't know which stuff is from which book anyway).

For food, you could have:
  • Unbirthday cake, as you say
  • Oysters (from "The Walrus and the Carpenter")
  • Tea/bread/jam(from the Mad Tea Party)
  • Little cakes that say things like "eat me"
  • Something with treacle (from the little girls in the dormouse's story)
  • Tarts (as made by the Queen of Hearts)
  • Mock Turtle Soup, if you were up for it
  • Soup with too much pepper in it (from the Duchess' house)
  • Mushrooms (one half of the mushroom will make you grow larger, and the other half will make you grow smaller)
  • If you want to go the giant punchbowl route (which is not a bad idea) you could put a sign by it that says "drink me" which would definitely make it more Alice-y
  • Plum Cake, from "The Lion and the Unicorn"
For decorations, you could have, as you suggest, a mirror on the door (or possibly a rabbit hole), grins without faces posted on the wall, set up chessboards, have lines from some of the poems written up and posted on the wall, have a figure of the Red King sleeping somewhere, if there will be a cat around put a collar or something that says "Dinah" on it (I'm afraid I don't know much about cats), and have a selection of clocks and pocket watches around.

If you wanted stuff to do, you could have a caucus race (and perhaps find some way to make it interesting), croquet and cards as purlgurly suggests, a "make your own crazy hat" area with cheap cardboard hats and sequins, markers &c., have chessboards around and available, put out a bunch of stuff to make things ("It's My Own Invention"), and occasionally shout "change places!" and have everyone run around (I respect that my suggestions on this front might sound kind of dippy).

If it's a costume party, you could also have a selection of hats available at the door for anyone who shows up without a costume.

It is likely I will keep coming up with increasingly ridiculous ideas so I will leave this here but I am more than happy to MeFi mail them to you if you would like. Best of luck whatever theme you choose!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:03 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Time Traveler's: "Cave"-painting, phrenology or fortune-telling, dancing to music from different periods (swing, reel, line)

Alice: Tea Party, cookies, Mad Hat-making, outsized decorations, pin-the-grin-on-the-Cheshire-Cat

Mad Scientist: Rube Goldberg machine-making, plasma balls, flux capacitor hunt (treasure hunt)
posted by notashroom at 6:19 AM on September 9, 2009

I was in a similar living situation in college (but with way fewer people!), and we threw a lot of costume parties. Cost was a big factor for us, and with that in mind, the Time Traveler party sounds like the most bang for your buck.

But then again, my house also threw an Alice in Wonderland party that was a big hit. Wall decorations that play with proportions (very big/very small) are a good way to do this.

I'd advise against magic fruit (the berry you're talking about) if you're serving alcohol, though-- a friend of mine, while on magic fruit, inadvertently got a bit too drunk because straight gin was the only thing she could stomach (everything else was sickly sweet). Sounds like a recipe for disaster with a large group of people.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:03 AM on September 9, 2009

Best answer: All of the above ideas are good but they are geared towards a more mature crowd. The asker is a college student. Trust me if I learned anything from college it is how to get drunk, enjoy a party, and end up with a large red hand print on my face in the morning. (I kid)

Not a lot of the people showing up are going to be there for the theme. Ladies will be there because it is something to do and guys will be there for the booze and the ladies. (just saying it straight up). If you want to throw a theme party then I would keep the invite list smaller to just close friends that will enjoy themselves and then use the above ideas. However you said that 38 people live with you. (I take it this does not include mooching friends.) So you would have to figure on about 60 to 80 people give or take being there. This is not a small get together by any means. If this is the case then I would not make any food what so ever. Cooking for that many people is an ordeal and something that I doubt you are prepared to do. It is expensive and honestly not too many people will appreciate the effort. If you want to put something out I would keep is simple: pretzels, chips, peanuts, munchies. (try to keep it simple so you can just vacuum it up in the morning).

For drinks: Keg and a huge gator aid cooler full of Sangria. Sangria is fast, sweet, everyone loves it, and easy. Buy two Carlo Rossi big jugs of Sangria, one Riesling, and a Pisano. Put in 3 types of fruit, strawberry, grapes, and raspberry works fine. Let it sit for a day in the fridge and tada. As for a keg... you are a college student. I should not have to tell you where to find one of these. I would make everything else BYOB/L/whatever. If you get into buying liquor you are going to spend some serious cash and end up with more party drunks than you really want to deal with.

As for a theme: If a toga party is too cliche then I would go with a pirate party, a viking party, or a football party (everyone wears a jersey). It is simple and easy and everyone can get into the party themed mood. Save the really good themes for you and your close friends. Trust me you can then put the effort into the small details and have a fun time doing it. But as for a bigger party, keep it simple. A simple theme with simple details will make sure that you are not running around a week before, you are not spending tons of cash, and you are not cleaning up a federal disaster area in the morning.

As for security: There is always going to be that asshole at any party that gets too drunk and tries to fight someone, or gets sick, or tries to steal from you, or is underage. To combat this unnamed asshole:

1 - Lock your rooms.

2 - Have trash cans everywhere

3 - Have someone that lives there stay sober to handle any drunks.

4 - Check IDs at the door.

Morning cleanup: Anyone that helped throw the party should help clean up after it. Also anyone stupid enough to pass out on your floor should be shanghaied into helping you as well.

As for yourself: I would not get stupid drunk. You are the host after all. I'm not saying do not have fun but try to keep somewhat sober to deal with any issues that might occur ( keg needs tapped, more chips, etc).

I hope this helps you. Enjoy your bash.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 8:14 AM on September 9, 2009 [4 favorites]

Madscience: jungle juice (grain alcohol punch usually in an exciting colour) with dry ice.

There are safety caveats for this: do not give anyone a drink with dry ice in it. They can get burnt. Do not tightly cap anything that has dry ice in it because it can build up pressure and cause its container to explode. Do not use lots of dry ice in an enclosed space: you need oxygen to live.

Corn starch and water (non-newtonian fluid) in bowls to play with.
posted by sciencegeek at 9:05 AM on September 9, 2009 [2 favorites]

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