Hosting a party – safety tips

If you're having a party you want to have fun, but you'll want to avoid trouble as well. As a host it is your responsibility to make sure drinking doesn't get out of hand and your party doesn't get out of control.

Alcohol can be served to young people under 18 at a private party if they have express consent from a parent or guardian and it is served in a safe and responsible manner. Express consent is such that it leaves the adult in no doubt that they can supply alcohol in a responsible manner.  If these conditions are not met, the person supplying the alcohol can be fined up to $2000. To be a private party, guests need to have been personally invited and no alcohol can be sold.

Planning the party

If you are planning to host a party, especially one that could attract a lot of people, there are a number of things you can do to prevent it becoming a nightmare.

  • Tell Police (ask for your district Alcohol Harm Prevention Officer) your plans – they can help with crime prevention and safety advice
  • Don't announce your party by way of social media or bulk texting. You could easily end up with unwanted guests.
  • Plan what you will do with any gatecrashers.
  • Arrange adult supervision and plan in advance what you will do in case of trouble.
  • Only invite people you know will be sensible and not cause trouble.
  • If any guests are going to be under 18 years old, let their parents know if you are going to serve alcohol.
  • Plan what you are going to do about alcohol brought by guests.
  • Tell neighbours what you are planning.
  • Arrange for friends to stay over or ensure they can get home safely.
  • Set a finish time and stick to it.

At the party

  • Provide plenty of snacks/food and non-alcoholic drinks.
  • If drinking becomes excessive or starts to get out of hand, call the police before it escalates out-of-control.
  • Keep an eye on your guests, especially those who are drinking. Do what you can to prevent excessive alcohol consumption - make their welfare a priority.
  • Help guests get a bus, taxi or dial-a-driver if necessary.

Adult supervision is critical at teenage parties. Make sure it is visible but not intrusive. For example, the teenagers could be in the garage while the adults are in the lounge. You could get all the guests to come through the front door first so that you know who is there. To prevent gatecrashers, some parents hire security staff or ask a responsible and sober adult relative to deal with uninvited guests. Set a finish time for the party and have a group of adults work together to wind it up – this can involve other parents coming to pick up their own kids.