Hurricane season is officially upon us. And just because we've lucked out every year since '05 doesn't mean we'll escape 2012 unscathed. In fact, Mother Nature is probably jonesing to hit us with a little corporal punishment.
As a South Floridian, you've no doubt been inundated with how-tos on storm preparedness -- so we won't re-hash those details. You know how to stay alive by now. Instead, we're here to advocate preparedness for another, equally important tempest task: the hurricane party.
The stated purpose of this (mostly) Southern tradition is in large part to consume all perishable goods. But that's not the real reason people come together in scary storms. Is there any better reason to party than the prospect of impending doom? Frankly, there's no better time to booze it up and bond with friends than during a disaster when no one has to work and the Internet is down.
Remember: If the city says evacuate, screw the party and head for the hills. Otherwise, read on for your how-tos when it comes to carrying out the ultimate hurricane bash.
1. Get your plan in order before the cyclone strikes.
After all, the cell towers will likely go out, communication will cease, and people might resort to looting and debauchery before you can rally your troops. So make sure all invitees are aware of your plan in advance. Old-school pen and paper invites with all the info aren't a bad idea. That way, should the power cease, instructions will still exist and your party guests will know what to do sans smartphones. And remember to keep the guest list exclusive. Not everyone is tolerable after a couple days in close proximity, particularly without running water for showers.
2. Choose a safe, comfy spot to host your shindig.
Hurricane shutters are a plus, and sleeping bags and air mattresses aplenty will suffice if peeps get stranded. Do make sure to check off those handy-dandy hurricane preparedness lists (non-perishable food, bottled water, flashlights, candles and matches, trash bags, battery operated radio, wee wee pads if pets are involved, etc.). Get the nuts and bolts in order and move right along.
3. Make it a potluck.
Instruct guests to bring the important items along with them: water, booze, their own soon-to-spoil frozen and refrigerated grub. A grill is a must. Stock up on coolers, too, to keep those foodstuffs viable longer (and to maintain ice cubes for your cocktails as long as possible).
4. Plan lots and lots of distracting diversions.
Yes, it is possible to entertain yourself without Angry Birds, Netflix, or DirecTV. You'd be surprised how much fun can be had with a set of old fashioned games (particularly as you drain that beer supply). Your best bets are Pictionary, Monopoly, Scrabble, and Trivial Pursuit. If you're free of kiddos, there's also Dirty Minds, Never Have I Ever, and (naked?) Twister. Not to mention the multitude of drinking games at your disposal.
5. Charge up that battery-operated technology.
While you should take full advantage of low-tech party activities, you can also maintain some semblance of the 21st century with battery operated devices. For example, make a hurricane party mega-mix and plug your iPod into a self-sufficient speaker dock. Charge up the camera to catch those Kodak moments (especially once everyone's been shower-free for a couple days). Or get that iPad at 100% and stuff it full of downloaded flicks. Might we suggest Humphrey Bogart's Key Largo? (Generators are also an option, but isn't that just cheating?)
What's a hurricane party without a hurricane in your hand? In addition to the rest of your liquor stash, these fruity drinks will make riding out the storm so much smoother.Just ask Pat O'Brien.
7. Wrap it up.
Any disaster worth its salt sparks the natural desire to get a little cozy with the one you love (or just the one you're with). And nine months later, baby booms often result. So when your guests are stocking up, you might wanna remind them to pack the prophylactics. Providing a space to shack up might be a wise move, too, to avoid any overly awkward party situations.
8. Soothe the Twitter junkies.
Don't forget, your guests may begin to suffer from stress-related withdrawal when forced to survive without the stream of social media. Offer a little relief to those modern folk who may fall to pieces without the ability to like, pin, or retweet for hours on end. Aromatherapy oils, stress balls, and massage circles might help; booze almost certainly will. If all else fails, start speaking to each other in 140 characters or less.
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9. Be a survivalist.
Should disaster strike your merry crew and you manage to party all your supplies away, learn to live off the land. Bring your (edible) potted plants inside and grub up. Go foraging around town for those few bold food shops that stay open in the face of disaster. Whatever you do, though, don't eat each other. Because that's apparently a thing people do.
Let's try to make it through this hurricane season unscathed and happily buzzed, shall we?