Hanging at the House Party

By Jill Brown | Photography by Nick Gould and Julie Miller
June 2020

For entertaining at home, activities are key, according to Heather Colosi, a 15-year event planner and owner of Will Do For You Concierge. Keep the fun inexpensive and tidy, she advises. “I set up glow bowling in our basement or entry hall,” she explains. “If you have a group of kids of all ages, line the ‘alley’ with glow sticks, make pins out of large beverage cups with glow sticks taped to the inside, turn the lights out and bowl ‘em down with a small rubber ball.” A portable chalk or white board records the scores.

At Kaci’s annual New Year’s Eve house party, the younger guests get to pop balloons at the top of every hour, counting down to midnight. Inside each balloon is a paper naming the activity they may do for the next hour. “This is great for the countdown to midnight, but it can also be used throughout the year,” she says.

When parties move outdoors in the summer months, Heather sets up a kid-dedicated food and beverage station that keeps the younger guests from continuously interrupting the adults or running in and out of the house. Ages seven and up typically can serve themselves. Heather also makes sure there are options on the buffet for everyone’s tastes (pre-checked with the parents). Using disposables and putting trash and recycling bins near the buffet table make it easy to keep things tidy.

Dave recommends pouring beverages into plastic glasses and not making cans available. “They’ll lose the can, set it down and forget it, and that invites insects to the party,” he says. The tactic also ensures against sharing germs should a child pick up a can that belongs to someone else.

It’s best to let your guests know what you have in mind ahead of the party. “Make sure all guests – kids and parents alike – are prepared for your planned activities before they arrive,” Heather recommends. “If you intend to send them outside to play ‘capture the flag,’ everyone should have athletic clothes and sneakers with them. If you’re doing a video game station, everyone should bring their headphones and controllers. If you’re planning a bike and scooter derby, have them bring bikes and helmets.”

Planning lawn games for the grown-ups? Always have a kid-sized version of the same game, says Dave.

Before the party, preparations should include establishing ground rules for your own children – before any guests arrive. “Our two major rules are no closed bedroom doors and no food or drinks upstairs,” says Heather. “These rules are easy for the kids to share with their guests, easy for young guests to understand, and they help keep chaos and spilled drinks to a minimum,” says the experienced mother of two.

“You can pay attention to the kids’ needs without going over the top,” says Dave, who suggests a strategy such as an ice cream bar or a mocktail such as raspberry lemonade or Sprite with a splash of orange juice. (Just switch out the Sprite for vodka to make it a grown-up’s cocktail.) “Something as simple as a root beer float can be a home run for kids,” he adds. For graduation parties, a separate mocktail bar gives the kids a place of their own to hang out.

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Partying with the Kids And Still Having a Blast!

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