House Party Etiquette

Slice Of Life
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I have a house party every year for the Rockaway Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Each year I say I am not going to have another party because I cannot believe how people do not know how to act in a house as opposed to a bar. I have even had cigarettes stomped out on both my front porch and back deck. During the party, people always see me running around picking up plates and empty cans and bottles and ask me what they can do to help. I always respond with: you can throw away your empties and your trash or I ask them to do a lap around and pick up trash.

I am sure many of us have been to more events at people’s houses the last few months. I know that I have. Instead of meeting for Happy Hour at a local watering hole, we have been meeting at a neighbor’s front porch or back deck and enjoying a few cocktails with friends. Even monumental occasions like graduation parties or baby and wedding showers that were once held at restaurants or catering halls are now being hosted at people’s homes. Some parties have even been elaborately held on the beach.

The main thing people need to realize that at many of the events I have attended, and have hosted, is that there are no bartenders, bar backs, waitresses or bus kids. No one is going to come and pick up your empty can of beer or seltzer. You should not just get up to get a fresh beverage without disposing of your previous beverage. Also, keep track of your beverage. Do not wander around talking and forget where you left your drink and go get a new one. I recently went to a party and did a lap for the hosts and a guest asked me if I was working the party. I replied that I was just being considerate. I was even told at a house party by a younger guest to just leave it, the guests will clean it the next day. At the time I was cleaning, you could not see an inch of the countertop due to empty cans.

Now according to my research, it is not illegal to vape in a bar. However, it is up to the owner of the establishment to determine whether they allow it. My house rule is the same: do not smoke an electronic cigarette in my house. I am not a smoker and I do not want e-cigarettes smoked in my home. According to the surgeon general, there are effects from the secondhand smoke that is emitted. I read a few blogs and some people do allow it in their home. If you are an e-smoker, ask before you do it. Do not try to hide it.

Never come to a house empty handed. My friend, Christine James, says she was taught to never be able to open a door of a house you are attending because your hands are full. Even if the host says that he or she does not need anything, every house party can use a bag of ice. This of course is different if you are attending an occasion party and you are bringing a gift for the honoree.

Anything I missed? Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Thank you for all of the emails. I also need ideas. If you have an idea, let me know! Have a great week everyone.

By Beth Hanning 

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