The science of party planning

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Party Plan Business

When I got to college and started to go to parties in the Fort, I expected Hollywood to come to life. Somewhere between “Clueless” and “Project X” there was the perfect straight-out-of-a-movie party, and I hoped to find it. Some were wild, some were lame, and ultimately I realized that no movies quite got all of it right.

“The Fort — it’s a better area to have a party than other places in Knoxville,” said Elliott Feith, a freshman in accounting. “Everything is within walking distance.”

Parties make even the trashiest of Fort houses look like Gatsby’s mansion, and the Fort is Mecca for parties. The ideal layout has to have perfect keg placement, which means fewer bottlenecks to the booze and more time to party. Most houses have ample outdoor space, where a large majority of partygoers congregate like in “Dazed and Confused.” Find a place that can handle a little wear-and-tear, a large crowd, boozey floors and loud music — with neighbors that won’t call the cops.

Themes can be fun, and the costumes ensure tons of Instagram likes the next day. Who wouldn’t want to go to an“Animal House” historic toga party? But picking the right theme is crucial. Common mistakes including choosing something too specific or offensive stereotypes, exhibited in the Sundance Film Festival award winner “Dear White People.”

Some, however, like senior in public relations Kevin Brown, say themes are a lost cause. “I hate themes. They never work well in the Fort,” Brown said. “People care more about getting drunk than they do dressing up.”

If you want a theme anyway, pick one with plenty of costume potential, like togas, decades or characters from pop culture. The more people can get from Goodwill, the better.

Recently, live music has been a trend at Fort parties. Bands in people’s living rooms or backyards make a typical kegger feel like a private concert with your closest friends — with cheaper beer. Think Matt Damon’s rendition of “Scotty Doesn’t Know” in “Eurotrip,” or even Craig Ferguson and Rihanna’s duet in “This is the End.” Knoxville has a lot of great local musical talent to take advantage of, and live music brings people together. Cicily Hummer, a senior in kinesiology, prefers live music at parties, although she says, “Eight out of 10 times the band sucks.” So maybe a back-up Spotify playlist is a good idea.

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