Party Basics

If you and your guests love charades, have at it. Otherwise, you might want to check out one of these other games, all suitable for adults:
  • Pictionary – Whether you make your own set or buy the game, Pictionary is a great group game just about anyone can play.
  • Twister – Yes, it's kitschy, but isn't that the point?
  • Taboo – This cheeky game is a great ice-breaker for adults who think they know one another. Don't take the game too seriously, and you'll have a great time.
  • Hide-and-seek – Best played outdoors, in a park or while camping, hide-and-seek, when played with adults (especially those who have been drinking just a little bit), can be just as fun as it was when you were a kid.
  • Trivial Pursuit – It's a classic, with good reason. Playing in teams allows to you match skills and knowledge, and players can have a great time arguing about their final answers.
  • "I Never" – This sorority-days holdover is actually quite fun in the right company. A drinking game, one person states something they profess never to have done, such as making out in public, and whoever has actually performed this feat takes a drink. Yes, this isn't a very mature game, but if begun at the right time, with the right group of people, you'll have a fabulous time.
  • Cranium – Another game marketed for adults, Cranium contains a little bit for everyone: trivia, acting skills, drawing, and modeling with clay. Best suited for smaller gatherings, Cranium is one of the more fun games to emerge in recent years.
Keep a variety of games on hand, perhaps a book on party games, and you'll be able to enliven a party that is dying prematurely.

Hiring Entertainment
If you have the inclination, consider hiring professional entertainment for your party. Although not every gathering – or budget! – is suited to this type of activity, a little creativity and effort on your part can make your evening's entertainment spectacular.

Instead of hiring your brother's garage band, why not explore one of these ideas?

  • Music – Quality performers are always welcome at any party, especially when they function more as ambience, rather than the central focus. Consider a string quartet, jazz trio, or even a harpist, all of whom can add wonderful atmosphere to your gathering without overpowering it. If you're working with a limited budget, but are dying for professional musicians at your party, contact a local university or music school, where you can often find talented students who are more than happy to play for the exposure and a small fee.
  • Live entertainment – A hypnotist, comedian, or balloon artist can add a lively, silly element to the right party, such as a barbecue, retirement or reunion party, children's party, or picnic. Before you dismiss this idea as childish, think about it: What could be more entertaining than a group of adults laughing their heads off at a professional clown?
  • Services – A really creative hostess will have fun planning special services for the right party: a psychic, a tarot card reader, or a palm-reader for a Halloween party; an esthetician for a Beauty Night; a 5-minute masseuse for a Happy Hour; or even a babysitter for a party at which several children will be present. Think about the theme of your party and your guests' needs and preferences, and then look through your local community paper to discover what kinds of services are available near you.
Although not every party will require or benefit from hired entertainment – a dinner party for six might be an odd place for a babysitter – many parties can be enhanced by such offerings. Be creative and ask your friends for feedback. You might be surprised by what you hear!

If you have the budget for a professional entertainer or service provider, don't skimp on quality. Ask for references, attend an event at which the persGive yourself plenty of time to research, evaluate, and select your entertainment. Because this is one task you can definitely perform far ahead of your party date, don't leave it to the last minute, or else you might find yourself settling for second-rate talent.

More on: Pop Culture

Reproduced from Plan a Fabulous Party In No Time, by Tamar Love, by permission of Pearson Education. Copyright © 2005 by Que Publishing.

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