Location: A house or apartment big enough to hold 100 of your closest friends (and their closest friends) is essential for Little 500 week. The location should also be large enough and have enough couches to host any out-of-town friends that stop by for the weekend. Some sort of outside area like a porch or small lawn offers your guests a chance to move around and provides more space for essential party games.
Atmosphere: Once you have a location, it’s time to decorate. Christmas lights, floor lamps or colored bulbs are a great way to set the mood, since no one really wants to dance under full-on fluorescent ceiling lights.
Music: If people really want a stream of Top-40 songs sprinkled with “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Livin’ On a Prayer” all night, they can go to Brother’s. So don’t stream the Lady Gaga station on Pandora Radio and think that will suffice. Take some time to create a varied playlist. Add some soul, punk, classic ’80s (ignore the two aforementioned songs), house music — whatever will get people dancing and not wanting to leave. I know I wouldn’t want a bunch of drunk girls singing “Party in the U.S.A.” in my house.
Games: Parties are a social event and few things get people socializing like competition. So bust out your best beer-pong table and set up a game. Kings and flippy cup work better for large parties, since they require more people. Make sure to have enough cups for a variety of drinking games.
Drinks: Since you’re going to provide and encourage drinking games (or just social drinking), it’s good to get a variety of alcohols. Unless guests are paying per cup, which is not a bad idea in this economy, stick with the cheapest. Keystone or Natural Light are good money savers. Encourage people to bring their own beer if these beverage choices make them feel like freshmen again. Buying mixers is also a good idea, especially since people are more likely to carry a discreet bottle of rum to the party than a giant two-liter of Diet Coke.
Guest limit: It’s Little 500, so the more, the merrier, right? Not exactly. Having too many people at your shindig can make your place feel like a humid and crowded weekend at Kilroy’s instead of a fun night with friends. It’s not a party if you can’t move without spilling your beer on someone.
Final tips: Remember to let go. If someone spills their drink on your carpet, don’t worry about it then. There are some risks you have to take when hosting an event during Little 500. It’s supposed to be the world’s greatest college weekend, so don’t ruin it by supplying everyone with coasters.
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