Dorm life: College tips for non-alcoholic party ideas

Take a break from your studies and host a party with your friends.

Take a break from your studies and host a party with your friends.

Winter is cold and boring, and cabin-fever is making you crazy. Why not throw a party? Combine that with your New Year’s Resolution to improve your student health by cutting down on the drinking and you can throw a fabulous non-alcoholic party in your dorm rooms. You could even get rid of some useless gifts you got this holiday season. Here are some tips for college parties that don’t involve alcohol.

“The problem with using drugs or drinking alcohol is the loss of control and the risk for dependence. When you drink or do drugs, you are no longer yourself. You can’t truly experience and enjoy anything while under the influence. Don’t live behind a hazy cloud. Be yourself and really enjoy a party,” according to “How to Have a Fun Party without Alcohol or Drugs Being Involved,” posted September 13, 2011 on the Live Free Blog.

Here are some non-alcoholic party ideas:

• Potluck party. Everyone brings a dish for a buffet-style feast.

• Costume party. Hey, costumes aren’t just for Halloween. Be a pirate, a naughty nurse or Egyptian queen.

• Game night. Everyone brings a different kind of game: video, board, card. Spend the night playing each kind. (I personally recommend the Apples to Apples card game.)

• Mock-tails. Mix different fruit juices, serve sparkling apple cider or grape juice, make some smoothies. Think up different kinds of drinks.

• Jam session. For your musically inclined friends, bring your instruments. Have a jam session, write impromptu songs, record them for future playback.

• Camp out/bonfire. In a safe place away from trees and buildings, have a bonfire, cook-out or overnight camping trip. Toast some marshmallows and hot dogs, and make s’mores. Make sure you get a fire permit.

• Pool party. Use the campus pool or local gym’s pool to gather some friends and swim. Bring a ball for water polo or some pool noodles.

While elephant gift exchange

Got an ugly sweater from Aunt Martha? Got a huge tin of popcorn you’ll never eat? Why not give it to someone else! Throw a white elephant party, also known as a Yankee Swap. “Traditionally, a ‘White Elephant’ is something lying around the house that you don’t want (some horridly ugly item that someone gave you as a gift or some other item unwanted for some reason),” explained John H. at

People who want to play the game must bring a wrapped item. If you have 10 gifts, let’s say, prepare 10 slips of paper each with a number 1 to 10. Each participant draws a piece of paper. Whoever has #1 goes first, picks a wrapped gift at random and unwraps it so everyone can see it. #2 goes second – and can either steal the unwrapped gift from #1 or select a mysterious wrapped gift. If #2 steals #1’s gift, then #1 must open another wrapped gift. #3 can now choose between unwrapped #1 or #2 or take a wrapped gift. Continue sequentially until player #10, who has the choice of picking from 9 unwrapped gifts or the last wrapped gift.

Backwards Party

Believe it or not, January 31 is National Backwards Day! Celebrate with a Backwards Party. Here are some great ideas:

• Guys dress like girls, girls dress like guys, or

• Wear your clothes backwards (button down shirt in the back, tie a tie in the back, backwards T-shirt, hoodie with the hood in the front).

• Decorate your party area with Palindromes. Some funny ones are: As I pee, sir, I see Pisa! Do geese see God?

• Serve bacon and eggs (have breakfast for supper), or

• Have a sit-down dinner where you serve dessert first (pineapple upside down cake, of course!), then the main course and finally the soup or appetizer.


• Write your name backwards.

• Speak your sentences backwards. Idea good a that’s now.

• Show off your gymnastic skills by doing backflips.

• Watch a video on rewind and make up your own dialog.

• “Play a board game backwards. Start at ‘Finish’ and move your way to ‘Start,’” recommended a reader in “Backwards Day – January 31st” at

• My favorite backwards-related TV show is the British sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf episode “Backwards,” which finds the characters trapped in a universe that is contracting rather than expanding.

What other ideas can you offer for an alcohol-free party? Let us know in the comments below!

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