Safe party planner
Using our safe party planner can help when having the conversation with your child about how their party will be organised and run on the night. Having a clear understanding about all the things listed on the planner can help make sure everyone has the same expectations about the party and has a good time on the night.
When filling in your planner, there are a number of things to consider, including whether you will provide alcohol or allow smoking and drugs at the party.
Print the Safe party planner for guidance on planning a fun and safe party for your teenager.
Discussing the following list of things with your child can help make sure everyone has the same expectations about the party and has a good time on the night.
Set a budget for the party, which will help decide the number of guests that can be invited, location, and type of entertainment and catering.
When thinking about the location, it’s a good idea to consider:
- Security – how will gatecrashers be prevented, will some locations be off limits and pets be safe if having the party at home?
- Insurance – find out about your liability insurance cover if having the party at home or ask the venue management about insurance terms if having the party elsewhere.
- Cleaning – who will clean up after the party?
- Neighbours – who needs to be told about the party beforehand?
Talk about the guest list including how many people you feel comfortable with, the ages of guests and whether known ‘trouble-makers’ will be invited.
Start and finish time
Agree on the start and finish time including when the music will be turned off and drinks stopped.
Party Registration with Police
It’s a good idea to contact the police to register your party with them. The police will be able to provide safe partying tips, let you know of noise regulations, and can help you if the party gets out of control.
Written invitations have many advantages:
- They are a first point of contact with other parents, you can request that parents RSVP on behalf of their child so you can talk with them and get their contact details.
- You can work out how many guests to plan for.
- Invitations send the message that the party is for invited guests only; you can request guests to show the invitation at the door.
- You can tell guests what you expect from them, e.g. dress code, whether alcohol will be allowed/provided, the finishing time.
It’s not recommended to invite guests by SMS, email or through social networking sites such as Facebook – you have more control of the guest list with written invitations. If you do use Facebook, ensure that the event is private and for invited guests only.
Making the party fun
The best way to hold a fun, safe party is to organise activities that will keep everyone entertained. Spend some time with your child planning activities like pool, table soccer, dance music, karaoke, games, and movies.
Having a theme for the party can also take the focus off alcohol. You can organise decorations, food, drinks and activities that tie in with the theme.
Alcohol and drugs
Providing alcohol or allowing young people to drink at a party carries a number of risks. As the legal host of the party, you are responsible for providing a safe environment. You could be held liable if anything goes wrong, even after the party if the guests leave drunk.
Making a decision
When deciding whether to serve alcohol consider the Australian alcohol guidelines, which recommend people under the age of 18 shouldn’t drink alcohol. If you do decide to serve alcohol, perhaps at an 18th birthday party, remember that most states and territories in Australia have secondary supply laws. These laws mean that it’s illegal for you to serve underage guests alcohol without their parent or legal guardian’s permission – even if the party is in your home. It’s also illegal for guests to pass underage guests alcohol without this permission. Hefty fines apply for both adults and minors.
If you do provide alcohol at the party it’s a good idea to:
- Tell parents ahead of time.
- Ensure no one under 18 years is served or given alcohol unless you have their parent’s explicit approval.
- Set up an agreement between yourself and your child about alcohol and adult supervision.
- Only make alcohol available from one area and have a responsible adult serving who is not drinking alcohol.
- Take special care to control how much alcohol is drunk and only serve low-alcohol drinks. Make sure good non-alcoholic options are on hand.
- Avoid drinks like punch that could be easily spiked.
- Ensure that food is readily available for all party guests. Try not to serve salty snacks as they make people thirsty and could cause them to drink more.
- Plan for guests sleeping over if no one is able to take them home.
Confiscating alcohol and drugs
Whether you decide to allow alcohol or not, you may have to deal with guests bringing alcohol and drugs to the party. Talk about whether you will confiscate alcohol and drugs with your child and think about what you will do with them. If you return them at the end of the night, you could be held liable for any accidents that happen after the guest leaves the party. You could consider returning the substance to the guest’s parent.
As part of setting the party rules, talk about what you will do if a guest becomes intoxicated. Intoxicated guests can ruin the party for others and cause dangerous situations. As the host, you have the right to send the guest home – although it’s a good idea to organise transport to make sure they can get home safely.
You may also want to set some ground rules about smoking, especially if the party is being held in your home. If you already have rules about smoking at home, they could also be used for the party.
Communicate party rules to guests
Once all of these rules have been discussed with your child, make guests aware of the rules. A good way of doing this is through a written invitation that requests the parent to RSVP on behalf of their child.
Gatecrashers and security
Gatecrashers are becoming an increasing problem at teenage parties, but there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the risk of them spoiling your party:
- If you are concerned about security, restrict the guest list.
- If you’re having a big party, consider hiring security.
- Have only one entrance to the party. Secure side or back gates if necessary.
- Ask other adults to help you supervise the party and organise for one to be on the door.
- Offer around food and drinks throughout the party so you can subtly keep an eye on things.
- Make sure that vehicle access is not blocked for emergencies.
- Phone police if gatecrashers arrive.
As a responsible host, you need to make sure your guests can get home safely
because young people may not be able to make this judgment call. It’s therefore
a good idea to:
- Find out how your guests are getting home and who is driving. If a guest has been drinking, they shouldn’t be driving.
- Encourage parents of younger children to pick them up at the end of the party.
- Encourage guests to come by taxi or with a driver who won’t be drinking.