COVID-19 Updates and Information

Party Tips

The State of Maryland has several “social host” laws on the books that pertain to civil and criminal responsibilities involved in serving alcohol to others. A person may place themselves at significant risk if they are serving alcohol to minors or if they are charging others to consume alcohol at their residence. Unfortunately, we often have the notion that “bad things won't happen to me.” This is really an irrational thought, because when participating in high-risk activities like serving alcohol to others, individual behaviors often become very unpredictable. Bad things happen frequently when high-risk drinking occurs. Therefore, when hosting a party, we really need to think about creating an environment where our guests are making low-risk choices about alcohol consumption. Here are some party tips:

  • Serve food throughout the entire party. This will add some expense, but you can often ask your guests to bring a dish. Snacks like chips are fine, but actual prepared food will help your guests in slowing down the absorption rate of alcohol and reduce the overall focus of the party on drinking.
  • Create an environment where people are moving around to mingle or participating in activities as opposed to simply sitting around drinking.
  • Plan when your party will start and when it will be over. This is an important strategy to stick to because it will help avoid pre-gaming or extending the party into overtime.
  • Have non-alcoholic beverages readily available for guests who choose to not drink and for encouraging guests to consume other non-alcoholic fluids.
  • If you are serving drinks, serve non-alcoholic drinks in between alcoholic drinks.
  • Avoid large volume distribution devices like kegs. Beer may be cheaper by the volume, but guests tend to drink more quickly when serving from cups as opposed to bottles or cans.
  • Resist the idea that encouraging drinking games will make for a better party. Drinking games will increase the likelihood that one or more of your guests will get out of control and ruin the party for others. Drinking games are always high-risk.
  • If drinking games are unavoidable, modify the drinking rules to reflect moderation. Avoid games that require shots of liquor. This creates two potential problems: ingesting alcohol rapidly and ingesting alcohol with high liquor content. Both problems will lead to impairment.
  • Demonstrate good-host practices by avoiding intoxication. Model the behaviors that you want your guests to emulate.
  • Monitor guests who show the signs or cues of the early stages of intoxication and encourage them to reduce their drinking by establishing limits.
  • Make it clear to your invited guests that they must let you know in advance if they are bringing a guest with them.
  • Only allow invited guests to attend your party. Large parties in student housing areas often become unmanageable because hosts allow uninvited guests to attend. Therefore, keep your guest list manageable. Anything over 20 guests will become unmanageable and your living area is probably not suited for more people inside or out anyway. Ten or less guests are usually preferable.
  • Allowing guests that you don’t personally know may create many party-related problems like someone stealing from you, assaulting your guests, or damaging your property.
  • Never serve alcohol to minors or charge admission to guests. This increases your civil and criminal liability if something goes wrong.
  • Avoid serving drinks with high alcohol content like jungle juice (grain alcohol) or hard liquor. The risk of impairment from consuming high alcohol content beverages will increase the likelihood of your guests using poor judgment.
  • Avoid pushing drinks on your guests. Make sure their glass is empty before refilling and avoid mixing drinks that have heavy amounts of alcohol.
  • If your guests are bringing alcohol to the party, recommending guests only bring beer/wine can be an appropriate request on your part as the host.
  • Be a good neighbor and let your neighbors know in advance when you are having a party. Give them your cell phone number and ask them to call you if there are any problems.
  • Keep your noise and music levels appropriate and make sure your guests are parking in designated areas to avoid conflicts with neighbors.
  • Remember, the purpose of the party is to socialize and enjoy the company of friends, not to simply consume alcohol.
  • Frostburg is a wonderful community where students and full-time residents co-exist in one of Maryland's finest small towns. Embrace your role as a member of this distinct community and allow your neighbors who are permanent residents to see the true personal values and character that you will carry throughout your life.