Hosting a New Year’s Party?
10 Tips for Getting Everyone Home Safely

December 26, 2016

So you’re having people over for New Year’s! That’s great! Have fun! And also make sure everyone makes it home safely afterward. Now more than ever, our society is holding hosts and drinking establishments responsible for the safety of guests and patrons. Here’s some advice on how to keep your guests—and yourself—safe this year.

Ten tips to get everyone home safely on New Year’s Eve

1. Consider holding a non-alcoholic event this year. Of course, you’ll need to announce it to your guests ahead of time. Stock the supplies for a variety of “mocktails” and assign the job of mocktail bartender to someone who will learn the recipes. Here’s some websites offering a wide variety of choices.

With these drinks, you can welcome pregnant or underage guests as well as non-drinkers.

For Parties where Alcohol will be Served

2. Always have non-alcoholic alternatives available alongside the alcoholic ones. The more varied and creative, the better.

3. Serve plenty of food as it will slow the absorption of alcohol.

4. Stop serving alcohol an hour before the party can be expected to disperse. Offer non-alcoholic alternatives during this time.

5. Have a plan for how you will prevent anyone from driving impaired. It’s not the most fun in the world but you could prevent a tragedy. Choose one or two people who will responsibly monitor the group for problems. These people (in addition to staying pretty sober themselves) must be prepared to ask for keys and offer alternate transportation.

6. Prepare a list with phone numbers for taxi services. In some areas, AAA offers towing service to get a partygoer and his (or her) vehicle home safely.

7. Can you afford a limo to get your guests and take them home? This is ultimate in caring for your guests.

8. NEVER serve minors. It might be legal in your state to provide a family member with alcohol in your own home but it is not legal to serve any non-family member alcohol. Even if it is legal to serve a family member, you could be in a world of trouble if an injury or accident results.
Many states are adding “social host” laws to their books to define penalties for parents who host alcoholic parties for youth. NOTE: These laws apply even if underage guests bring their own alcohol! In some areas, a social host violation can result in a $1,000 fine and jail time. A violation resulting in injury or death would be treated even more severely.

9. If you invite guests with a history of excessive drinking, a private conversation with them ahead of time enables you to set ground rules for drinking in your home or at your party.

10. One more tip! If young family members are going out to a party, remind them to NEVER get in a car with a driver who has been drinking. Offer to come and get them, no questions asked, any time they need it. Then make sure there’s a phone at your bedside that night so you can get their call.

Let’s face it—it’s not the most popular activity to get between an individual and his alcohol. The more people object to this type of care, the most they are likely to need the support. It might be the right time to offer a friend help to get themselves into recovery.

But by hosting a safeor even non-alcoholic party—you are placing yourself and your family in a leadership position as opposing senseless and preventable alcohol-related loss of life. People notice and it will make some of them think about their drinking. While it could feel like an unpopular move, you could actually be winning the respect of your friends and family while you keep your community safe. 


Karen Hadley

For more than a decade, Karen has been researching and writing about drug trafficking, drug abuse, addiction and recovery. She has also studied and written about policy issues related to drug treatment.