While being a fabulous host is something many at-home entertainers strive for, it can also mean that sometimes your parties can take on a life of their own, with crowds merrily enjoying your hospitality longer than you expect. Even if you’ve specifically noted a start and end time for your gathering, there can often be a couple (or more) guests who are wallowing in food and drink and having too much fun to know better. So, when your guests start planning a sunrise menu, you need to pull out a few gracious (and not so gracious, if need be) signals that the party is over. It is your house, after all.
Is your party failing to wind down on its own? Try one of these six steps to get the “goodbye” you are longing for:
1. Subtle: If changing the tempo of the music does not help, try lowering the volume. If drastic measures are called for, simply shut it off.
Not So Subtle: If it’s your kids throwing the party and the guests have stayed too long, with no end in sight, don’t fear. All you need to do is to threaten to bring out the baby albums.
2. Subtle: Start clearing the table, or for something a bit more obvious, start loading the dishwasher.
Not So Subtle: Turn on that vacuum cleaner. When you’re vacuuming under your guests’ feet and chairs, surely they should get the point.
3. Subtle: If there are leftovers, start doling them out. Nothing says “goodbye” like a doggie bag.
Not So Subtle: Use the “what’s that?” line. Open your front or back door and pretend to see something crazy and unusual. Loudly exclaim, “Oh-mi-gosh, what on earth is that?” Then, once people rush out gawking to see the mysterious sight, rush back in and shut the door.
4. Subtle: Blow out a few candles to signal the party's end, or reach for a light switch when you really want to get people moving.
Not so Subtle: Head to your fuse panel and turn off most of your fuses (for that party space). No music, no food, no cold drinks? No party.
5. Subtle: Stop serving alcohol and start pouring coffee.
Not so Subtle: Lock up the liquor and serve that coffee in to-go cups.
6. And when all else fails...
Short of pulling a Lily van der Woodsen on Gossip Girl and having the cops come to put an end to your party for you, thank your guests for coming and let them know you are happy to call a local cab company to ensure they get home safely. Or drive them home yourself.