Birthdays, anniversaries, the last day of school, a sporting event, the end of a year — the reasons to host a party are as varied as the food, drink and entertainment you might provide. But as fun as a party can be, you also have a responsibility to avoid house-party dangers. COVID-19 has made get-togethers a bit trickier, and it’s important to be sure everyone coming is informed and comfortable with the party details. Use this party planning checklist to help keep you and others safe.
Mind the rules and regulations
Check your lease or homeowner’s association rules about hosting gatherings in your home and/or out on the lawn. If you don’t own your home, you need to know the answer to “Can renters throw a party?” before you even consider inviting anyone over.
Also, consider the latest official guidance for gatherings from the Centers for Disease Control, plus any state or county regulations that may be in force.
Check your insurance coverage
Even a quiet gathering can sometimes lead to an accident, such as a guest injury or property damage. If you’re serving alcohol, your liability can be even greater. Be familiar with the house party laws and regulations in your state, and contact your State Farm® agent for details about liability insurance.
Be a good neighbor
Let your neighbors know in advance about the event and talk about any issues it could cause with parking. Share your number so they can contact you first with any concerns. Try to confine the meet-and-greet to indoors or the backyard. Let guests know where they should park, and make sure any garbage left in your or your neighbors’ yards, or public spaces like hallways, is cleaned up right away. Monitor music and the crowd so you stay within the limits of noise level/control laws and ordinances.
Protect your pets
Strangers and loud noises in a usually quiet home may frighten pets. Help reduce their anxiety by crating your pup or putting your cat behind a closed door — especially while guests are arriving and leaving. Make sure guests know there are pets on the premises and any closed doors should remain closed.
Food safety tips
Take special care with the food you provide: Wash your hands before and during prepping. Keep raw meat away from other foods, cook foods to proper temperatures and keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. It’s a good idea to let guests know in advance if food will be catered or homemade, and what COVID-19 safety precautions will be taken during preparation and presentation, so they can feel comfortable attending.
Care for the kids
Unless it’s a family focused soiree, consider hiring someone to keep an eye on any little ones. And be sure to take additional safety precautions if you have a swimming pool. If your area is following social-distancing guidelines, you may want to consider limiting your party to adults. Children can have a harder time remembering and following through on rules.
Play it safe: Lock up prescription medications and any electronics or valuables. Also, safely stash guests’ belongings (coats, bags) during the party.
Monitor the drive home
At least one hour before the party wraps up, stop serving alcohol and serve additional snacks. Organize rides or ride shares, as necessary.