Room Parties 201: Themes!
Ok, so when last we met I gave you the basic tools you need to throw a good room party. Now let’s talk about things you can do to make that good party into a great party! A good room party people will chat about the next day, but a great room party is one that will be remembered all year round. It’s the one that people will remember when the next con comes around. A really amazing room party may even be part of the reason people come back to a con. Now, how do you go about planning that?
You’re best tool is your own imagination. Take something you love, take whatever it is you want out of hosting a party and turn it sideways just a twitch and see what happens. Here a few ideas that you can use as a starting point.
The Salon: In this case I don’t mean the place you get hair done, or a sitting room in a fancy house. This is a gathering of guests in one place for the purpose of conversation and socializing. It evokes a genteel image. People nattily dressed, spread about a room chatting about this and that. For this type of room party a more intimate atmosphere is good. Move the furniture around so that people can sit and stand where they can easily talk with each other. Dim the lights a smidge, just to soften the air. (In fact in pretty much any room party bright and harsh lighting is a no go.) Have a little music on, something soft and suitable for background sounds. In fact, you can match the music to the event (good tip for parties of all themes.) Keep the music quiet, it should be a hint of noise, and be easy to talk over. Serve light finger foods. A salon is a great theme for a dry event, as well. This party is all about your guests being able to chat the night away. This is a great party for you, as host, to be able to really socialize with your guests in a more intimate setting.
Pettipants Party: Try having a lingerie party, more specifically a Victorian/Edwardian undies party. There are a lot of neat clothes that go on under all those skirts and why not show them off? This party is one that can lead to a bit more ribald behavior. Turn the lights down low, but not too low. You want your guests to be able to enjoy looking at each other, but with the lights a bit dimmer it allows your more shy guests to feel a bit more comfy with parading about in their bloomers and boxers. At this party serve light snacks, preferably dry snacks and foods that won’t stain. Most of your guests are likely to be lighter colors that show stains and no one wants to get their petticoats all gunked up. I’d suggest a selection of sodas and wines for beverages. Let’s make this genteel with a touch of ribaldry. Some good activities for a party like this might include a limerick contest, poetry readings, and even “pin the tail on the whatever.” Again, music should be kept low enough to not impede conversation…or find a filker to perform here.
The Space Blast: Let’s face it; chances are this room party is going to be at a con with heavy SF elements (like Pandoracon of course.) So play with it. Have a Star Trek or Star Wars party. Heck, Pandoracon would be a great opportunity to have a Babylon 5 or Doctor Who party! Or just make it a more generalized SF theme. Go to a party store, buy space themed stuff and decorate your room (keeping in mind the regulations and rules about how to treat your room of course.) Play spacey music (its fun to use soundtracks from the various SF shows you may be paying homage to in the party.) The music at this party can be a little louder. Try serving themed food and drinks. Bust out that secret recipe for a Pangalactic Gargleblaster, whip out some Romulan Ale, or create your very own drinks (my next article will include tips and tricks for doing just that.) You’ll need your minions for this one to help monitor the guests and ensure that everyone enjoys themselves.
The Second Circle Party: Lust… lewd and lascivious behavior. Debauchery. Good times for some, not so much for others. You get a bunch of like minded people in close quarters, high from the excitement of the day, booze, dim lights and throbbing music. This can create an atmosphere that can lead to questionable behaviors, immodest comments, and downright randy actions. This is not a bad thing… if that is the kind of party you are throwing. We’re not talking about an orgy here, that’s a whole other topic; we’re not even talking about nudity or sex. We’re talking about heavy flirting, hugging, touching, kissing and at the most, heavy making out. Let’s keep this party “R” rated. Yes, it’s all right to plan this kind of thing. Just make sure you let people know. This is a good party to keep numbers down, so I don’t recommend plastering flyers all over the hotel. Keep the music sensual and a little louder, but not so much you kill conversation. Bust out the sexy foods, foods that people can feed to each other are cool. Stick to wine and beer; keep the hard liquor out of this one. You don’t want people so drunk they do more than they might want to sober; also you want people to remember your party the next day. Just enough wine and such to lower inhibitions. Try an ice breaker like the cloved orange. (It’s an orange that you’ve stuck bunches of cloves into. Hand it to someone, if they remove a clove with their lips you are duty bound to smooch them soundly. If they remove a clove with their hand, kiss their hand. That person then hands the cloved orange to someone else.)
Ok. So, there are a few ideas you can riff off of. There’s really no end to what you can do. Well, that is there’s no end to it, once you’ve accounted for all the things that will keep you from getting banned from the con, kicked out of the hotel, and/or in jail. Remember when throwing a party with booze and/or adult themes to make sure your guests are of age! Don’t be afraid to card someone, if they don’t have ID and you just can’t be sure they’re old enough, don’t serve ‘em, don’t let ‘em in. You have final say on who is allowed to party with you. And lastly, have fun!