Party hosting safety

Ain’t No Party Like a Safe Party!

When you’re hosting a party, whether it’s toasting a milestone or celebrating the holidays, there are some things to consider besides how many bags of chips to buy — things that can keep guests safe and happy and help keep you out of a lawsuit.

DRINKING, THE HOLIDAYS, AND YOU

During the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, almost all drinkers — from the most moderate to DUI offenders — increase their intake. In fact, according to The Distilled Spirits Council, almost a quarter of the liquor industry’s profits come during this time.

In fact, holidays year-round trigger higher alcohol intake. Fourth of July is one of the most dangerous holidays to drive, and other boozy holidays like Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, and Cinco de Mayo are so notorious that police deploy extra patrols.

With a larger number of cars on the road, poor weather conditions during the winter season, increased drinking patterns, and late-night driving, a fun celebration can become a trip to the ER.

This goes for teens, too, who are especially at risk given their inexperience and other factors. For more facts on teen drinking and driving, check out our tips.

Drinking, driving, and your teen

MAKE IT EASY FOR YOUR GUESTS TO GET HOME

Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) offers lots of tips for hosting a good, safe party.

  • Make it clear on your invitations that guests need a designated driver. As they RSVP, reiterate the requirement.
  • Offer alternatives to driving. Invite guests to stay over, offer to call a rideshare service or taxi, or drive them home yourself if you’ve abstained. You can even consider hiring a driver to be on call during certain hours.
  • Keep the food coming.  Offer lots of filling foods to help slow the alcohol’s absorption rate. Chips and dips are easy and popular, but provide some heartier options, like chili or build-your-own sandwiches. Keep some emergency pizzas in the freezer for backup.
  • Have plenty of non-alcoholic options available. A beverage dispenser filled with water or cooler full of bottled water in plain sight is a good start. Stock up on some interesting craft sodas or flavored sparkling waters to pique interest in the non-booze options.
  • Encourage 1:1 drinking. For every alcoholic beverage your guests drink, encourage them to follow it up with a glass of water. Don’t even ask if they want water — just hand it to them.  
  • Curb binge drinking. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08. This typically happens by around 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men in 2 hours, so encourage guests to pace themselves.
  • Offer some activities. If sitting and drinking are the only activities available, that’s what people will do. Hold drawings for door prizes, set up a game or puzzle table, or get a group game going.

FALL-PROOF YOUR HOME

On top of helping your guests stay safe on the roads, help them stay safe in your home. Nothing puts a damper on a party like someone cracking a rib on your icy sidewalk or tripping on an abandoned beverage cup.

  • Check outside paths. Make sure your walkways and driveway are free of ice and other tripping hazards. Shovel regularly and spread ice melt as an extra precaution.
  • Use lots of light. If you don’t have a bright porchlight, consider lining your walk with electric candles or lanterns.
  • Keep the party on one level. Don’t make guests go up and downstairs to replenish their plates or cups.
  • Tidy up throughout the party. Make sure empty (or worse, full) glasses and plates aren’t lying around where someone could trip over them. Set out plenty of trash and recycling receptacles in visible places.
  • Clean up spills right away. Have your favorite cleaning wipes and sprays ready to go.
  • Create easy traffic flow. Consider rearranging the furniture to open up the space and reduce the number of roadblocks your guests have to navigate.
  • Put away throw rugs. You might be tempted to add more throw rugs to protect floors and carpet, but resist. A wrinkled rug, especially if it’s not nonskid, is a tripping hazard.

KNOW WHEN TO CALL FOR HELP

According to the Centers for Disease Control, six people die each day in the U.S. from alcohol poisoning. Don’t let a party become a nightmare — call 9-1-1 if someone is presenting any of these signs:

  • Difficulties breathing
  • Bluish tinge to the skin
  • Low body temperature
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Inability to wake up
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Weak pulse
  • Nausea and vomiting

A PARTY PLANNER’S BEST FRIEND

The best guest you can invite to a party is personal umbrella insurance, which could help cover you if you’re liable for an accident or injury. If you’re really pulling all the stops out, ask your agent about special event coverage through Grinnell Specialty Agency.

Umbrella coverages