The dorm room party is a vital part of most college experiences.
Those tiny rooms often provide the space where you will get to know your fellow students and establish life-long friendships. If you have been to any dorm parties, you likely know that they can be fun or boring, depending on how well-planned they are.
So, how to throw an epic college dorm party? Read on to learn what you need to do to have an amazing party in your dorm.
Know the Rules
This step is not much fun. However, knowing the particular rules of your campus and dorm can save you a headache later and allow your party to happen. Your dorm’s resident advisors (RAs) should communicate party rules and expectations at the beginning of the school year.
Beyond the general campus and dorm rules, if you have roommates, communicate with them about any restrictions they would like for your shared space.
There is no reason to destroy your relationship with someone you have to live with for a year because you dislike their party-related boundaries. It is also a good idea to warn or invite your neighbors so they are ready if your party gets loud.
A dorm party can only be truly epic if all the attendants feel safe. There are several simple ways to create a safe environment for all your guests.
If you will have alcohol at the party, ensure that you have a few safety measures. Many college students are inexperienced in drinking, so it is vital to keep an eye out for people drinking beyond their limits.
Offer easy ways for your guests to measure their alcohol and provide plenty of water. You should also have emergency numbers and a plan if someone gets sick. If someone gets very inebriated, you should have a plan for getting them safely back to their room.
Make Sure Everyone is Comfortable
Beyond alcohol safety, you should be sure to cover any other safety areas. If anyone looks uncomfortable talking to someone, make sure they are ok. As the host, you should also watch any unattended drinks. Do not invite anyone who is known as safe to be around.
If anyone unfamiliar is coming to the party, put away any valuables and ensure that your roommates do the same. You should also ensure that your dorm room setup allows for safety and is easily maneuverable.
Reason or Theme
When thinking about how to throw an epic dorm party, sometimes it’s fun to host a party around a specific theme, aside from the weekend being something to celebrate.
Birthdays are a fun and easy reason to have a party. Most of the features of such a party are known to everyone. Get a cake, some cheerful decorations, and some activities that the person with a birthday will enjoy.
Additional Reading: How To Plan A Surprise Birthday Party In 19 Steps
Inviting everyone to wear themed clothing to your party is an easy way to have a theme without getting too extravagant. For example, everyone can wear black and white or clothes with a plaid pattern.
Pick your favorite decade and throw a party with that theme! Whether you love the 1990s or the 1890s, you can convey the theme in several ways. Offer food and drinks inspired by the period and decorate with bright colors from the 1960s or art deco posters from the 1920s. Provide activities inspired by the period and encourage your guests to dress accordingly.
There are plenty of holidays during the school year that provides fantastic party themes. Some classic holiday-centric options are a costume party for Halloween or an ugly sweater party before the winter holidays.
A proper potluck is difficult in a dorm since people usually do not have kitchens. However, guests can sometimes use a communicable kitchen, or everyone can bring their favorite bagged snack.
Additional Reading: How To Throw a Beach Party Where Everyone Has a Blast
Not all parties need formal activities. In many cases, hanging out and getting to know people is sometimes all the activity you need. However, a game or other activity is a great way to keep people engaged and encourage people to interact with those who are unfamiliar with them.
There are plenty of fun drinking games that you can play at your party. Some games include:
- Beer pong
- Flip cup
- Never Have I Ever
- Truth or Dare.
Always ensure your guests know they do not have to drink during these games if they do not want to. Much fun can be had during a drinking game, even if you are drinking plain lemonade.
If you want to go for laid-back energy at your party, have a few board games on hand. These games provide an ideal environment for some friendly competition. You can choose games as intense or chill as you want. It is a good idea to err on the side of minimal instructions if you have a lot of people.
Depending on the theme of your party, you can add some theme-related activities to the party itinerary. These activities will look different for every theme. For example, if you have a holiday party, you can include a white elephant gift exchange or a secret Santa gift exchange. Provide craft supplies if you want to throw a crafting-themed party in your dorm.
Depending on your school or specific dorm, you may be able to serve alcohol at your party. If you can have alcohol, it is a good idea to have a good mix of offerings. Pick up some beers, wine, hard seltzers, and cocktail supplies. Always be conscious of if anyone under the legal drinking age shows up at your party.
If you are underage or can not have alcoholic beverages in your dorm, that does not mean you need to go without fun drinks. Plenty of mocktails or punch recipes are made in a large batch format. You can also get a variety of lemonade, juices, and sodas that appeal to a large audience.
Whether or not you serve alcohol at your party, it is always a good idea to have plenty of water on hand. Either provide some in your room or ensure guests know where to find the closest drinking fountains or sinks. Do not commit the critical error of forgetting cups and any needed flatware.
Snacks are a vital part of any party, and you can get as fancy or relaxed as you want! Whether you provide some chips and pizza bags or create a giant charcuterie spread, your guests will be very appreciative.
Music is an effective way to give your party some atmosphere and to reinforce any theme you have going on. Spend a bit of time creating a playlist that your guests will love.
Since dorm rooms are usually not particularly large, you do not need the most cutting-edge sound setup. In some cases, a small yet powerful speaker can be enough.
As for the exact music to have on your playlist will depend on your tastes and the vibe you want for your party. Current pop music hits and classic rock songs are a great way to provide upbeat energy for your party.
Since sharing music is a great way to get to know people, it makes it easy for others to play the music they like.
Dorm room parties are usually relaxed enough that you do not need to get too extravagant with your decorating. However, a few touches can help take your party to the next level and create opportunities for conversation.
Fairy lights are always a great addition to dorm room decor and can add a lot of flair to your party. Put some streamers in the party recipient’s favorite colors for a birthday. If you are hosting a party to watch a football game, get cups and plates with team logos and decorate with team colors.
As the party’s host, you should take a few steps to create and maintain a nice environment. Do some cleaning before people arrive and ensure that the space seems relatively orderly. Not only will this make clean-up after the party, but it will contribute to a safer environment.
Cleaning should include vacuuming, putting laundry and school supplies away, light dusting/wiping, and tidying surfaces. If you have a private bathroom, take special care to clean that room. Maintain a clean space during the party by cleaning up any spills and throwing out food or empty cups.
Experiencing dorm parties is an important rite of passage for your college life. A good mix of music, activities, food, and drink gives you a great way to get to know your classmates.
How to throw an epic dorm party depends on your goal and personality, but the time and planning are guaranteed to create a night your friends won’t soon forget.
Cardi “likes to party” Clark has 15+ years of designing, planning, and executing successful parties and events. Highly skilled in event strategy, management, planning, and execution with a track record of exceeding expectations. I make it happen. I get it done and people have fun!