All-Night Parties -- The "All-Nighter"

The two most frightening times of the school year for principals and staff are prom and graduation. In an effort to provide a tragedy-free prom and graduation season, schools, parents and communities across the country are joining forces to provide alcohol- and drug-free "All Night Parties" for their students as a safe alternative to the usual drinking and driving from party to party that takes place.

Many students feel that after prom and graduation their celebrations must include alcohol, that drinking is a rite of passage. Some parents even condone these celebrations, rationalizing that since young people are "going to drink anyway," why not provide them a place, take their keys and let them party?

Young people attend parties throughout the year, but peer pressure is highest on these two occasions, when energy and excitement run high and students feel invincible. The "All Nighter" is a chance to give our young people a wonderful memory, keep them alive, build a tradition and provide them a stress-free alternative. They don't have to make a decision to drink or not to drink: there is no choice -- and no chance to lose face. And everyone has a party to attend and celebrate together. No one is left out. In the case of a senior prom or graduation celebration, it will be the last time seniors will be together as a class. Parents will know where their students are, what they are doing and that they are safe while having the time of their lives. And parents can actually go to bed and get a good night's sleep. If your school and community already hosts an all night prom or graduation party, congratulations! If not, it's never too late to start.

- Develop a Theme

Tie all of your decorations and activities into your theme. Some ideas for themes can be found on the following pages. Make sure you have activities planned for every minute. Just when you think everyone is tired and/or getting bored, get everyone moving again with a limbo contest or a game of giant Twister.

- Make it Special

Remember that you are competing with what some kids consider a night of drinking without a chaperone. To convince teens to come, you have to offer activities that they won't find elsewhere.

- Plan the Event

Check out different locations to hold your event. Try a local health club where you can use the pool, tennis courts and other facilities. You can also lavishly decorate your school to match your theme. Plan the event in advance -- planning and preparation take time.

- Plan Something for Everyone

Plan a large range of activities so that there will be something for everyone -- for example, sports activities, karaoke, group games such as a limbo contest, Twister, board games, movies, etc.

- Share Your Concerns

Make the evening fun and exciting but don't forget to mention why an alcohol and drug-free party is important.

- Plan a Parents' Night

Invite the parents to come in before the event. Explain the reasons for having an all-night alcohol- and drug-free party and discuss the facts and dangers of alcohol, ecstasy and other drugs. Consider inviting your police chief and a ocal lawyer to explain the laws and liability surrounding underage drinking.

- Involve the Community

This event provides an opportunity to build strong community support and raise everyone's awareness concerning high risk issues for young people. You can invite your community to partner in this project by donating time, food, money, space, or whatever else you need.

- Create a Strong Conclusion

Plan a special event for the end of the evening that everyone can enjoy and remember. A great idea for this is a slide show of photos from the past to the present or a "senior video." Students, faculty, and parents can work together on this event.

- Remember to Say Thank You

Make it a point to say thank you to everyone who helped to make the evening a success. A thank you breakfast or coffee afterward is nice. A thank you ad in your local newspaper is also a good way to show your appreciation.

One of the most important aspects of having a successful "All-Nighter" (besides the food) is the activity. You need to have lots of different activities. While "Shop 'Til You Drop" is apropos of spending the day at the mall, "Play 'Til You Plop" is the name of the game at the All-Night Bash.

An All-Night Bash can be as successful in your own high school as in a health club or other facility if you make the decorations outrageous and the activities fun and exciting. Tie the activities into your theme: for instance, if your theme is a jungle theme, instead of just bowling, call it coconut bowling. Plan activities for the entire evening. If there is a lag time between activities, some students may get bored.

Try some of these zany ideas for adding fun and silliness to your "All-Nighter."

These are just a few of the activities that you can plan for your alcohol- and drug-free party. There are many more that you can create. Don't forget entertainment -- a DJ, karaoke, a hypnotist, or a comedian can also be fun.

Have a great time!

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