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How to throw a house party and not lose your sanity

Your guide to super night in!

Simon Hoare

Written by: Simon Hoare
Jun 10, 2020

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you are considering embarking on the courageous adventure that is to open your home to your friends and loved ones (and maybe even a couple of strangers) and throw a house party.

It may be because you’re about to get another year older and you feel compelled to invite people to celebrate the milestone with you. Perhaps you’ve got a new job, maybe it’s festival time or simply it’s the weekend (woo!).

Whatever the reason, we are pretty sure that you want three things from your house party:

  1. Give everyone a good time.
  2. Boost your reputation as a great party thrower.
  3. Not lose your sanity in the process.

Our handy guide to throwing the perfect house party will prove that you can achieve both: gain serious social points with your mates — stress-free!

Why choose a house party over a big night out?

Before even thinking about what you’re going to do, or who you’re going to invite, your first choice is actually whether to throw a house party at all or just to give in to temptation and head out the front door into the great outdoors.

Let’s face it - the latter is not short of options...

The pub

This is one of the safest options, tried and tested over centuries (if not millennia?) Everyone knows the rules and etiquette, you’re not responsible for the entertainment (or the washing up) and according to menshealth.com it can actually be good for your health, as their 10 reasons to head to the pub reveal (provided you don’t overdo it on the booze!) However, unless something crazy happens, how likely are people to remember the evening compared to the next and how long will your cred boost last?

Watch a show or live music

Whether you’re into hip hop, pop, grime, jazz, folk music or heavy metal, going to see your favourite band is always going to be a winning night out. Similarly, taking in a show is a great shout too, both options show support for real talent and the arts. However you may be worried about the cost; ticket prices seem to rise faster than Disney make movies and inviting your friends to join you can sometimes feel like making a big ask. “Hey, come and celebrate my birthday with me, it’ll cost you £100.” Help is at hand though, thanks to the popularity of Theatre Lotteries where you can apply for tickets to shows and win them - sometimes for free. Hamilton for £10? It’s not impossible! The cleverclogs at moneysavingexpert.com show you how with their handy guide The top theatre lotteries – how to grab £10-£25 tickets for Fleabag, Hamilton, Matilda and more West End shows (often the best seats). However you can’t really choose the date you go which makes party planning difficult and you may find you win tickets you can’t use - as I’ve done (twice!) for the great TV comedy show Live at the Apollo, sad times!

The cinema

We couldn’t write about night’s out without mentioning the classic Big Screen. All good cinema chains will list on their websites what films they are showing over the next couple of weeks, but if you want to be ahead of the game and find out when all future releases are due, check out the handy Coming Soon in Theaters guide provided by metacritic.com. Let’s be honest though, the Cinema is fun but not really that social, is it? You’ll get home and realise you never achieved Centre of Attention status.

Eating out

OK, so this one is pretty much always a winner. Everyone loves food and this one scores high on the social scales. You don’t even need to spend a lot of money if you can get a voucher for a meal deal somewhere local, as groupon.co.uk can help you to do with their Restaurants Near Me search function. However, are you prepared for the inevitable awkward bill-splitting moment that can often ruin the end of a great night out? Do you split it equally or do you each pay your own? What about the person who ordered the steak when you had the mac n’ cheese? Do you want to finish your event looking like an accountant working out what everyone should pay while half of your friend's chuck in a tenner and the other half-wave their cards? Well, it turns out there is an app for that! Tech.co reveal the Top 7 Apps for Splitting Bills With Friends. What fun, right? Rather you than me to be honest.

OK, so there’s a few ideas, but hey, nothing new there. What you really want is some ideas to guarantee that your party is the one everyone remembers and - more importantly - that they remember you were the host who threw it!

This brings you to the ultimate choice - to shun the pub, open your doors, swap your dancing shoes for slippers and get your mates round for a great night in. Throwing a house party needn’t be painful or stressful. You don’t have to lose sleep over it. Keep reading to find out how.

Involve everyone

Unless you are super social and can spend your entire evening relentlessly trying to talk to everyone at your party equally, it is inevitable that some people will dominate while others find a quiet corner to spend the evening stroking your cat.

The trick is to throw a party that gets everyone involved, from the loudest to the mutest, the laryest to the tamest. Simply opening your doors and providing alcohol doesn’t cut it anymore - especially if you want people to not only remember your party but talk about it (and not just because someone was playing with your cat in the corner).

Play a game

We think, by far, the best way to get everyone involved at a house party is to play a game. Now, party games are not a new thing (you probably remember bumping on the floor or freezing to music as a kid) but there are now some pretty awesome party games out there. The classics are drinking games which can provide lots of opportunities for capturing priceless photos to send to the prospective future partners of your friends. They don’t have to cost loads either, you can find plenty of good examples online if you head over to sites like menkind.co.uk.

Drinking games are overdone though, right? Equally fun yet equally uninventive are poker nights or evenings around a roulette table, heck, some people still like to play bingo. Whatever your flavour, if it’s table games of these sorts you’re after, there are some great ideas over at mastersofgames.com.

However, our vote goes for the timeless and unforgettable murder mystery nights (obvs!). A murder mystery involves giving each of your guests a character to come in (costumes and all) with scripts and questions to ask each other, then you spend the night playing detective while eating and drinking around the table. You have to try and beat your co-sleuths and guess whodunit? while trying to avoid rousing suspicion for your own character.

There are loads of box sets you can buy online, but thanks to You Dunnit 😉 you can now even build your own custom made murder mystery games. Imagine that... creating characters based on your own guests and then having fun hilariously playing each other.

You can have the game set in your own home town, in your own pub and even with your own choice of time period. We have created a murder mystery game builder where within the space of a few minutes you can create your own custom game. You enter all the little personalised details you want, and the builder takes care of the rest, creating your own unique custom game. You and your guests can all play using personal web links on their phones - no downloading, no printing, no waiting for the postman to arrive. You will literally be throwing a party that no one has EVER thrown before (and never will again). Everyone will be equally involved and with very little effort you will look like a creative genius.

Personalised murder mystery game builder

  • Create your game in less than 15 mins
  • Delivered instantly to your phone
  • Play with friends in real life or online
Build My Personalised Murder Mystery Game

Choose a Theme (You can still dress up for a house party!)

Themed parties always trump your standard ‘smart casual’ do’s. They give your guests an excuse to dress up (which is fodder for your Insta feed) and give you a reason to transform your home for the night. Theme nights are big business, think Halloween or Christmas and you know what we mean. No one forgets a good Christmas Jumper or when Billy came in that Joker outfit. If you’re stuck for theme ideas, a Youdunit custom murder mystery night is a great starting point as it gives everyone costume ideas as well as a choice of time period to set your game in (and stylise your home like). If you’ve not got what you need in your wardrobe, there’s an endless collection of costumes at fancydress.com.

Need a 90’s playlist? Spotify can help with that too.

Pick the right food

Picking the right food for your house party can be a make or break decision. It’s also possibly one of the most probable causes of you losing your sanity on the night. It doesn’t have to be stressful though; you can always cheat and use a delivery service like deliveroo.co.uk who can bring you exactly what you want, from wherever you want (almost) whenever you want. However if you are feeling bolder you might venture into your kitchen before your guests arrive.

If you’re looking for creative ideas that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, we don’t think you’ll find anyone better online to advise you than BBCgoodfood.com.

Check out their Top Ten Dinner Party Tips and you’re unlikely to go wrong!

Combining food with your theme and game is indeed the best recipe; for example, you could create your own custom murder mystery game to give you your starting point and then build your theme and menu choice around that.

Share your experience

The final piece in the puzzle to creating the most unforgettable house party is to make sure no one is allowed to forget it. Creating a hashtag for your party (such as #youdunit) means that everyone will be able to find all the pictures from your night in the same place. The more your guests share and post about your night, the higher your credibility and reputation rises as the ultimate party host. And of course, when the anniversary of your party comes around each year, everyone will be reminded of the great night they’ve had if they use an app like timehop which shows you your pictures of the same day from previous years.

If you follow these top tips you will be sure to throw an unforgettable house party that will keep your guests talking for a long time! Keep your coat hung up, stay indoors and do something fresh and exciting that no one has ever done before.