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Over my 10 years throwing Halloween parties I've started to notice a very complex and interesting psychology around how late guests stay at the party. My goal, of course, is always to have a lot of people staying late, and there are a few sneaky methods I've come up with to encourage that. Or rather, to discourage leaving early.

One year, my party had a great turnout and was in full swing, going spectacularly, when out of the blue around midnight there was a mass exodus and more than 50% of the guests left at once. I realized that a large group announced their departure nearby a collection of people and they all hopped on, starting a chain reaction. It's weird that people do that. So I've taken to asking a few of my closer friends to just "ghost" (leave without announcing it) if they feel like taking off while the party is still hot.

Another thing that's worked wonders is moving all sofas and chairs to the perimeters of the main party area and moving the food table to a central area. It keeps people standing and milling around rather than sitting, which makes one tired, which makes one think about going home. We did this for the first time last year and the party was in full swing past 2 am and didn't end until the sun was up.

Anyone else have good recommendations for encouraging late partying?
 
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I used to go to a men's night out playing Risk and every so often the host would bust out some kind of party treat for those who stayed. Can't remember much of what they were except for tasty snacks and coffee.

Something else another friend did for a Christmas and Superbowl party was to have different events/activities scheduled during the evenings to break up the monotony. At one point he had picture taking with props, gift exchanges, etc... It made for a nicer evening then everyone just sitting around making small talk.
 

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I've had the same experiences as you through the years. This year I am planning to have a boys vs girls gameshow late in the evening followed by the announcements of the costume contest winners. Hopefully that way our guests have something to stick around for. We shall see.
 

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Our party's dynamic is a little different than most, we live in a college town that has a HUGE downtown celebration. I call our party an open house since we welcome anyone at anytime and people are free to come and go. Usually a huge group will walk downtown together and I will stay behind and prep for the next wave. It kinda turns into a pre party and after party with a few people staying the whole time. For the "after" party I normally have more food, bottled water, coffee, ibuprofen, anything you would want/need after a night of partying. I also set up lots of accommodations in case people need/want to spend the night. The party is not normally over till at least 4am and then I get up early and provide morning after essentials (more water, coffee, etc and most years we will venture out for a late breakfast at a nearby restaurant) not sure if this helps but maybe
 

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I've run into that myself....the night with the worst weather is when people stayed the latest! The night when people left early.... when the TV was outside because the diehards couldn't miss the world series last year! BUST!!! they all sat and watched the damn game!!! Game over...went home! BOO

Party is this Saturday...expecting over 120ppl....hoping it goes till the wee hours. (with the ones who want to stay!)
 

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I usually have a reserve batch of jello shot worms, and I go around the party offering them up - around 11 or midnight. It's always been a big hit, and kind of re-energizes the party. So perhaps offer jello shots or some other fun treat to everyone?

This year I have a Halloween twister game, but I don't think we'll have room for it. I must throw a decent party, because so many more people are coming this year than any other year in the past!
 
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