Party Smart Info

As the host of a party, it is your responsibility to lookout for the safety of your guests.  While you may not be able to monitor every guests drinking, as a host there are a number of things you can do to limit the negative outcomes and still have a fun and safe party. 

Food and Drink

Serve Food

  • Be sure to serve food at your party. While food does not prevent intoxication, it does slow down the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the body.
  • Consider foods high in protein and carbohydrates such as cheese, dips, crackers, chips, raw vegetables and seafood.
  • Avoid serving too many salty snacks, as this may encourage guests to drink more.

Serve non-alcoholic beverages

  • Be sure to have non-alcoholic beverage available to your guests, such as non-alcoholic punch, mocktails, fruit juice or soft drinks.  This allows them to alternate non-alcoholic beverages with alcoholic ones. 
  • Having water on hand will also help keeps your guests hydrated.  This may help reduce the effects of hangovers.

Alcohol

Serve low content alcoholic beverages

  • If you have low content alcoholic beverages on hand, your guest will not become as intoxicated as quickly.
  • You could also limit the amount of high content alcoholic beverages.

Open containers/drinking games = high risk

  • Serving WHOP or another type of open container is a high-risk behavior; your guests are not able to determine how much alcohol it contains, which can lead to overconsumption.
  • Drinking games, while popular at house parties, can lead to over consumption.  Participants may drink more than they were planning on, and consume much faster.  Drinking large quantities quickly can easily lead to bad decision-making. 

Kegs & taps usually require a deposit, which can make buying a keg expensive.  Some cities and states also require a keg permit, to allow the keg to be traced to an individual or location.

As a host, it’s important to be aware of your guests’ drinking. Guests can be significantly impaired even if they don’t “look drunk.” For example, they may be impaired without slurring their words or being unusually loud.

  • Since injuries from falls, fights, and vehicle crashes increase when someone drinks too much alcohol, planning ahead and serving alcohol responsibly will give you a better chance of keeping your guests and other people in your community safe.

Guests

Create a guest list

  • Having a list can help limit uninvited guests.
  • People who you don’t know may have less respect for your property.  Be sure to lock up your valuables.

If serving alcohol, check ID’s of attendees

  • You may be held responsible for serving alcohol to minors (see Social Host Ordinance)
  • If you know that some of your guests will be under 21, it is safest to not serve alcohol at all. 

Do not let guest leave the house with open alcohol containers; remember generally it is illegal to consume alcohol in public places.

Transportation

  • Make sure that your guests have safe ways to get home.
  • Know the DD’s- Are they sober?
  • If the guests do not have a designated driver, it is good to have the number of local taxi companies on hand. See our list here.
  • You may also consider the St. Cloud Metro Bus.  For routes and schedules, please visit the link.

Neighbors and Noise

Let your neighbors know you are hosting a party, and give them your number, this way, if there is a problem they can call you first instead of the police

Consider your neighborhood, don’t let the noise get out of control; could ruin your night

Post-Party

Cleaning up

  • Make sure that you clean up any trash after the party.  If you keep the neighborhood clean, your neighbors are less likely to have problems with future parties.

Talking to neighbors

  • After the party, talk to your neighbors.  This may allow you to discover if there were any problems. 

Lease/Property

Know what your lease says about throwing parties or noise violations

  • Does it limit the number of people in your apartment?
  • If a noise complaint or violation occurs, what kind of consequences will there be? Eviction? Fines?
  • Do not allow smoking inside the house, as this will drastically reduce the chance of a fire. Section off an outdoors area for smokers; most guests will be happy to step outside to smoke and cool off.

Property damage

  • What kinds of fines or costs will be associated with damage to your property? 

Social Host Ordinance

Background

  • The Social Host Ordinance was enacted to deter underage drinking parties and hold the hosts of such parties accountable since many underage persons obtain alcohol through social sources such as older friends, siblings, parents and/or strangers they encounter in party situations. Alcohol is student’s number one drug of choice and underage drinkers are more likely to be victims of crime, including sexual assault.

What is the Social Host Ordinance?

  • The Social Host Ordinance would hold individuals (social hosts) criminally responsible for hosting or permitting an event or gathering on private or public property where persons under 21 years of age possess or consume alcohol, regardless of who supplied the alcohol.
  • This ordinance applies to situations in which the social host knows or has reason to know that alcohol is being possessed or consumed by persons under 21 years of age at their gathering.
  • Under this ordinance, the social host does not have to be present at the party, event or gathering to be criminally responsible.
  • The ordinance does not apply to conduct solely between an underage person and his/ her parents in the parent’s household and legally protected religious observances.

What is the penalty for violation?

  • A violation of this ordinance is a misdemeanor, subject to a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

How to be a Responsible Host 

  • If you are hosting a party where persons under 21 years of age are present, to protect your guests, yourself, and others and to reduce your exposure to alcohol‐related liability you should…
  • Verify the age of guests.
  • Control access to alcohol.
  • Control the quantity of alcohol.
  • Insure individuals under 21 years of age are not consuming alcohol.
  • Be courteous to your neighbors and keep the party noise down.
  • Refuse entrance to uninvited people, especially the ones who arrive at the door with alcohol or are already intoxicated.
  • Call the Police for assistance with uninvited people.

Common Questions

Will I be held liable if I’m away for the weekend and my kids have a party at my home?

The answer is no if you did not know about the party, event or gathering. The answer is yes you knew about the party or had reason to know that underage drinking was occurring and did nothing to prevent it.

 

If my housemate hosts a party in our apartment while I am away, can I still be held criminally liable?

Maybe. It depends on what knowledge you have about the party and if you took any steps to assist in hosting the gathering.

 

I thought providing alcohol to a minor was already illegal. How is a Social Host Ordinance different than what already exists?

It is illegal for adults to furnish alcohol to individuals under the age of 21. However, when law enforcement officials arrive on the scene of an underage drinking party, youth typically don’t “rat” anyone out, so it is often difficult to determine who actually provided the alcohol. A Social Host Ordinance allows law enforcement to cite the individual who hosts or provides a setting for underage drinking to take place.

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