Associated Press

10 Dec, 2007

Party Pooped? How to Keep The Fun Going

Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK The ball has dropped, the champagne is gone, and the four rounds of "Auld Lang Syne" are killing the celebration - all signs that the New Year's eve party is dying, 30 minutes into the new year.

"There's a lot of build up to the New Year's moment," says Anna Bremner, co-founder of "I think a lot of people who were waiting until that happens, who might have ordinarily left earlier, see the new year as their excuse to go home."

But it doesn't have to be that way if you give your guests an excuse to stay. Here are some recommendations from party planners on how to keep the excitement going after midnight.

Write it on the invitation:

Try "the ball dropping is just the beginning," says Maggie Gallant, founder of Spotlight Communications. Or call it an after-hours party, says Cathy Riva, host of "Party Girl" on Discovery. You may want to also indicate that an early morning breakfast will be served at 1 a.m., so guests know to come late and stay later, says event planner Alison Minton.

Provide transportation:

This eliminates the "too tired, too drunk" excuse. Tony Conway, founder of A Legendary Event, sends Lincoln Town Cars to guests' homes. For something cheaper, rent a shuttle bus, and only provide transportation home, says Jennifer Brisman, an event and wedding planner in New York.

Help parents with child care:

If there is room, have a separate entertaining space for children, says Bremner. Make sure there are games and activities, kid-friendly food and full-time supervision. (The children should also bring sleeping bags and PJs.) If children are too much, Bremner recommends connecting the invited parents with each other so they can go in together and hire sitters.

Don't watch the ball drop on television:

The ball dropping signals the end of the celebration, and "you are basically watching other people have a good time," says Gallant. She suggests having the television on for ambience, but muting it and appointing someone to make periodic countdown announcements.

Change the music:

When the ball drops, play some old school traditional dance songs, says Andrea Eppolito, director of special events and catering at Innovative Dining Group in Las Vegas, such as Kool & The Gang's "Celebration." "It kind of pumps everybody back up," she says. Be sure to keep the music going.

Move the party to another room:

If you have a big house, have the dinner party in one room and then open up another room that is decorated for a dance party, says Riva. "Have like the big reveal happen at midnight," she says. "It gets people excited to stay."

Open a dessert or coffee bar:

"Serve plenty of food throughout the evening, but save the dessert until after the clock strikes 12," says Minton, president of Maplemint Enterprises. Or "If you want to splurge, get a coffee bar service from your local coffee shop," says April Masini, author of the advice site

Serve a breakfast buffet:

Start the New Year sober and satisfied. Once midnight hits: "Offer a made-to-order omelet bar, with all the fillings - grilled mushrooms and onion, grated cheese, bacon or ham bits, avocado, sour cream and salsa," says party planner Penny Warner. "Serve it with a cup of tasty, strong coffee or cappuccinos."

Have live entertainment:

Sikky Rogers and Angela Gala, event planners in Charlotte, North Carolina, suggest hiring a singer or a band to come after midnight; it gives people an incentive to stay. Gala also says a palm reader can liven things up. She says make sure the palm reader knows this is strictly for fun -- so no bad news.

Provide overnight accommodations:

If you have room in your home, note that accommodations will be provided on the invitation. "Have the guest rooms ready, the bathrooms fully loaded for all the things you would need for your guests," says Riva.