How to Hold a Kickass Room Party!

bathytub filled with beer 


OK, so you've decided to hold a room party at a science fiction convention.  What are you, nuts or something?  Seriously, it's a huge drain on your resources.  You will be stuck at your own party, and won't be able to roam other parties..  You are practically asking for trouble at some point with the hotel.  And you have to deal with the cleanup afterward.

A bot of personal advice: if a woman offers to stay behind and help you clean up afterward, she is there for more than just helping to clean up, if you get my drift.  As in goshwowboyohboy!

But, if you insist, here's some advice from a party pro who has held several room parties over the years.

If your party draws in enough people, it will also draw in prostitutes.  Please be aware of this.  Typical prostitute behavior: they come into a party, secure a customer, and leave.  Most SF fans can't afford their services, so they stick around for a while, get disheartened, and leave.  They are attractive women, so while they are at your party they will draw people in.

Hotels are very agreeable about things like ice.  You can have room service deliver a couple of large bags of ice to your door.

First off, how many people do you think will come to your party? Most folks go from room party to room party, grabbing something to drink or some snacks from each one before going on to the next. Rather than do something like "OK, each person will eat so and so many snacks, down so and so many beers, and..." Just load up on stuff. You are going to have to bring a load of it back home, and live off of soda and snacks for a few weeks, but so what? If people see that you have a lot of stuff there, many will stay because-- hey, free food!

Anything that can be purchased from Dollar Tree is marked with a (DT)

Checklist for room party

* DVDs
* DVD player
You need to have something for the grazers to watch. I recommend the Mill Creek Science Fiction 50 film collection, and just playing those.

* extra DVDs (DT)
* Books, toys, and so on (DT)
I like to offer prizes at my room parties.  Chances are that Dollar Tree has a ton of science fiction related films, toys, and so on.  Have an hourly drawing, or just give them out to everyone that comes in.  Whatever, people like free stuff.

* 5 gallon bucket
* Three 1.5 liter bottles vodka
* 10 pks favorite flavor kool aid
* long stirring stick or spoon
* 5 pounds sugar
* drinking cups (DT)
* punch ladle (DT)
This is all for The Punch. This is cheap to make, and very, very popular.
The Punch:
Grab the material for punch. You need a 5 gallon bucket, something (a big stick?) to stir it all, a ladle, a bunch of cups, 10 packets of your favorite flavor Kool Aid, 5 pounds of sugar, and three 1 1/2 liter bottles of the cheapest vodka you can find. Prepare your bucket by filling it with 3 gallons of water. Use a Sharpie to mark the 3 gallon mark. Then add 2 more gallons of water and mark the 5 gallon mark. At the evening of the party, put the sugar, Kool Aid mix and the vodka in the bucket. Stir together. Add cold water to the 3 gallon mark. Add ice to the 5 gallon mark, and stir.

* 2 cases cheap beer (try to have a variety-- say 4-12 packs of different cheap brands) Why cheap beer? Because these are not sophisticated beer drinkers. Any brand will do, as long as it has fizz and alcohol.
* 1 case cheap diet soda (again, go for a variety)
* 1 case cheap sugar soda (variety, again)
You need to have a bathtub filled with ice, canned soda and canned beer. It is a science fiction con party tradition.


hippy crackers



* OPTIONAL: Healthy stuff.  Some fans do eat real food.  Get some of the following:
cut up vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, celery, and so on) (or get a vegetable platter)
cut up  pieces of cheese (or get a cheese platter)
crackers (Ritz or those hippy crackers they have at Dollar Tree)
Large loaf of rye bread, cut into pieces

You need a dip for the vegetables and rye bread.  Here is a popular one:

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
3=4 TBS dried dill weed

* big bowls for snacks (DT)
Put the bowls at random places through the room and fill them with snacks. And speaking of snacks...

chex party mix
5 gallons of Chex party mix. That's just barely enough for a room party.


* Chex party mix (make your own or buy it)  Walgreen's sells a good imitation
The only thing wrong with the Chex party mix you buy is that it doesn't have any nuts in it. Get a couple of the biggest bags you can find, mix them together in a large container, such as a canning kettle, and then mix in 2-4 pounds of dry roasted peanuts. Then put the mix back into large Ziploc bags and you will be ready.

* caramel corn (make your own or buy it)
Don't bother with Cracker Jack. You can get caramel corn at just about any supermarket. Get it in bulk if you can.  A lot of the time, it doesn't come with nuts. Again, add a pound or two of nuts, mix with the caramel corn, and re bag in Ziploc bags.

* tiny smoked sausages, or meatballs, or even cut up hot dogs
* barbecue sauce (DT)
* crock pot
* toothpicks (DT)
* napkins (DT)
* small plates (DT)
* tongs (DT)
Put the barbecue sauce in the crock pot. Put the sausages, meatballs or cut up hot dogs in there. Have toothpicks, napkins and plates by the crock pot. They can use the tongs to fish out the meat. You need to make this ahead.

* a second crock pot
* a couple large cans of chili
* a second plastic ladle (DT)
* 1 can beer
* Styrofoam bowls (DT)
*plastic spoons (DT)
I like to advertise "real food" at my parties.  Pop the cans of chili in the crock pot.  Pour in 1 can of beer.  Stir together, and turn it on high.

* bulk hard candy (DT)
You need to have candy. Candy draws the people in.

* tiny stick pretzels
* potato chips
* peanuts
* popcorn
You need snacks, period. A lot of science fiction fens live on nothing but snacks.

* cheap chocolate cupcakes.Swiss rolls, cookies-- anything sweet with chocolate in it
Chocolate-- even imitation chocolate-- draws the grazers in.

* large disposable plates
The grazers might want to make a meal out of the sort-of food you're offering for them.

* mayonnaise
* sour cream 
dip for chips
The two best dips:
1 quart sour cream
1 quart mayonnaise
Mix together. Divide into two portions
Portion #1: add 2 envelopes onion soup mix
Portion #2: add 1/2 cup salsa
Put into 4 small bowls and distribute among the chips

* Be sure to make up a flyer
Enclosed is a sample flyer


party poster





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