1. People.

The number one thing that makes a party awesome is the people you have there.  If you have awesome people, you will have an awesome party.  If you have lame people, well, your party still has the potential to be awesome if you follow the rest of these steps to break them out of their shells.

To get awesome people to your party, Three Ladieseither be friends with awesome people, or be friends with people who know awesome people and tell them to invite those people to your party too.  And don’t be afraid to reach out to people you’ve been wanting to meet – whether it’s that cute girl who sits in front of you in calculus or that dude down the hall who just seems like he knows how to have a good time.  You’d be surprised (or maybe not) at what college students may do for a party and the possibility of free alcohol.  Your party can be a great way to get the in with the girl or the start of a great friendship.  Oh, and if you (or your friends) know hot girls, invite them too.  It’s no secret that attractive women attract a crowd.

In addition to making sure you have awesome people on the guest list, be sure to invite your close friends early to pregame.  No one wants to be the first one to walk into an empty party, so make sure your good friends are already there.  Having them over to pregame will get things going and set the tone right from the start.

2. Alcohol.

While you can still have a great party without alcohol, it definitely helps.  Why?  Alcohol lowers inhibitions – meaning people are more willing to do things they normally wouldn’t.  It makes it easier to meet new people, dance, and let loose – all positive things for a good party.  Too much of it on the other hand…well just be prepared to clean up some vomit afterwards.

In addition, alcohol is a sure way to make sure people show up.  If it’s a party for close friends, it may not matter all that much.  But if you want to tailor the party to all those friends of friends or cute girls you don’t really know but invited anyways – tell them there will be alcohol.  And if you want to see who your really good friends are, see who sticks around after the keg runs dry.  Want to end a party early and get rid of all the randoms?  Tell people there’s no more booze.  Hopefully by this point you’ve sealed the deal with that cute girl…

3. Music.

Every great party has a great playlist.  Music pumps people up, gets them in the mood, and gets people dancing.  Not convinced?  Watch this video and try to resist getting into it…

Not the best at picking out music or don’t have the time to create a playlist?  No problem.  Fratmusic.com lets you browse and listen to top playlists created by other users.  You can search by genre (party, 80s, homework, etc.) to fit the mood or theme, and the best part is, you don’t need to download any of the songs.  As long as you have an internet connection, just click play.  College Party Guru also has some great pre-made playlists geared towards different types of party settings.  And if you want to create your own playlist without having to worry about downloading songs, try Grooveshark.

4. Consider a Theme.

Lady Cleavage

“I’m up here”

Most college students love a theme party.  For many, it’s a chance for people to dress up and to be something they are usually not.  A theme can help people let loose and be a great conversation starter.  Something like a lingerie party can also be a way to get people to come dressed in very sexy attire and really get the party going… (click here for list of top party themes)

5. Games. 

Conversation and dancing is great, but if you really want to take your party to the next level, consider having fun things for guests to do.  Games or competitions can be a fun way to get people excited about something or interact with new people.  It also gives less social people an excuse to do something besides sit around and look awkward.  (click here for a list of the top 10 drinking games)

6. Invites. 

If no one knows about your party, they won’t come.  If you have it on a Tuesday before finals, 2 or 3 people may come.  Make sure to pick a good day – typically a Friday or Saturday, where not much else is going on.  The best way to notify the majority of people is probably a facebook invite.  Consider making it a private event if you don’t want random people (or even the police – some university cops have facebook accounts for that reason) to know about it.  Be sure to follow up that invite with text messages to all the people that you really want to be there.  If you are throwing a more formal party, consider using evite or even handing out formal invitations to add to the formal atmosphere.

7. Food. 

If it’s your typical college party, food won’t really be that big of a deal.  Maybe a couple loaves of Wonderbread to soak up the alcohol in the stomachs of those who drank too much.  If you’re throwing a more formal party or casual get together, the food may be one of the main events.  For these, look to Pinterest.com.  Pinterest allows users to “pin” cool things and ideas to their virtual pin board, which they can then share with the rest of the online community.  A large portion of these pins are delicious, creative and simple appetizers that are sure to be a hit at your party.

8. Protect your house. 

Unfortunately, parties are an easy time for guests to steal things, random people to hook up in your bed, and fragile things to get broken.  So be sure to lock up your valuables, lock up your room, and put away anything that can easily be broken.

9. Party favors/items.

If you want to be that party that people are talking about all year, do something epic.  If it’s during the summer and can be held out doors, consider a giant slip and slide, a bounce house, or a kiddie pool filled with jello (link).  If you have a place that won’t get ruined by a little foam, that will be one they talk about for ages.  Don’t want to go as big?  Consider a fog machine, black lights, disco ball, laser lights, or karaoke machine.  Or maybe try giving a few guests a ReliveTONIGHT party cam, collect them at the end of the night, and then piece together hilarious clips of footage to make a video you can share with guests to help them remember the awesome night.  Or click here to check out other cool $hit.

10. Beware of the consequences. 

Unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen.  If you can’t afford to deal with the consequences, think twice about having a party.  The two most common reasons parties get busted are noise complaints, and people lingering around outside.  To eliminate 90% of this risk, notify your neighbors ahead of time, give them your number and tell them to call you if they have any issues.  Or even better, make friends with them and invite them.  Consider having someone bite the bullet and monitor who comes in.  They can keep the sketch balls from coming in, keep a lookout for cops, and encourage people to go back inside if they’re lingering out front.  If you will be serving alcohol at your party, you may even try a wristband system, where only those 21+ get a wrist band and should be getting alcohol.  If you’re worried about supplying to minors, make it a BYOB party.  You may not get as many people to come, but most likely your close friends will still come and the riff raff won’t.

If the police do come, turn off the music and tell everyone to stay calm and quiet.  Have your sober roommate (or most sober) step outside to talk to them.  This way they’re not trying to convince the cops that everything’s cool while some wasted dude is in the background doing a beer bong and flipping them the bird.  If you have someone outside the door already, even better.  They may be able to deal with the cops (who may have just come to tell you to keep it down) without even ever opening the door for them to see the mayhem going on inside.

And even more important than making sure the cops don’t come is making sure everyone stays safe.  Ensure people have a safe way of getting home.  Post numbers for cabs on the door on the way out.  Tell unruly guests or those who drank too much that they need to leave.  And if someone drinks too much to the point where their health may be in danger, don’t be afraid to call for help.  A drinking ticket is much better than the alternative.

Just remember, have the time of your life, but be responsible while doing it.