Hosting a Party?

It's all about responsibility and respect

Hosting a party can be a great way to get to know your fellow classmates or to just unwind with friends after a stressful week of classes and assignments. Parties are often unrealistically portrayed in pop culture as part of the “university lifestyle” and carry negative connotations. The reality is, without proper planning, parties can often have unintended impacts on yourself, your guests and your neighbours. The following are some tips to help you responsibly and safely host a party.

Before the party

Agree on the house rules. Discuss the party with your roommates and agree on an end time, a guest list and who is responsible for ending the party.

Inform your neighbours that you’re having a party. Tell them when you expect it to end, and give them your name and phone number so they can contact you if they have any issues during the party. Your neighbours include other Dal students who may have different priorities than you as well as year-round families.

Be aware of possible legal consequences. The city has noise bylaws. Volume needs to be turned down before 7am and after 9:30pm, Monday to Friday, before 8am and after 7pm on Saturdays, and before 9am and after 7pm on Sundays, statutory holidays, and Remembrance Day.

The Halifax Police can then issue tickets if the noise is bothering your neighbours. Drinking alcohol on public property (e.g. sidewalks, streets) can result in the police issuing tickets for open alcohol, underage drinking and public intoxication. Tickets are expensive—over $600 if you get one for all three violations! You can find the full noise bylaw here.

During the party

Designate one person to stay sober and ensure guests are safe. This person should also be the contact with neighbours, police or other unexpected guests. Be aware of noise levels and keep music at a reasonable level. Prevent your guests from making a lot of noise outside and disturbing your neighbours. Answer any calls from neighbours and do your best to accommodate any requests.

Remember the young kids in your neighbourhood and promote a safe environment. Speak up when you hear harmful language being used and step in to help prevent sexual harassment and assault. Loud noise, swearing and aggressive behaviour can be particularly frightening to young children in your neighbourhood. Remember that families live throughout the neighbourhoods around Dalhousie. Tell your guests as they leave that you'd like the neighbourhood kids to feel safe.

Take care of your friends. Recognize the signs of alcohol poisoning and don’t be afraid to cut someone off if they appear to be drinking too much or in an irresponsible manner. Avoid drinking games. They lead to dangerous levels of alcohol consumption and exclude those who don't want to drink to excess. And don't get suckered into buying drinking board games. All they do is make money off of students by promoting dangerous levels of drinking.

After the party

Don't let anyone drive after drinking. Take away their car keys if you need to. Help everyone get home safely: invite guests to spend the night, walk them home or help them get a cab. If you're on peninsular Halifax, encourage the use of Dal's free Tiger Patrol shuttle service (902-499-1831 or 902-718-9908).

Clean up the mess. Ask your guests to use your bathroom before they walk home. No one enjoys seeing someone using their garden as a toilet. And no one appreciates finding cans, bottles or cigarette butts on neighbourhood property the next morning. Besides, other Dal students don't want to be tagged with the negative reputation that leaving behind a mess creates.