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Know Your Responsibilities as a Holiday Party Host

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and many are preparing to host dinner at their homes. Others are considering throwing a Holiday or New Year’s party. But, maybe you’re not hosting. Chances are, you are still planning to drive to or from any of these festivities. As we prepare to celebrate with friends and family, here are a few tips to get everyone home safe and sound!


Party Host Tips & Legal Responsibilities

What you may or may not know is that you could be held liable if a party attendee has an accident after leaving your premises; and not just alcohol related incidents. Consider the possibility of trips or falls on wet or icy sidewalks. You should know how to protect your guests and yourself before hosting a party this holiday season. Here are tips and suggestions for preventing injuries and protecting your interests before guests arrive.

Alcohol Related

  • Encourage guests to choose a designated driver.
  • Stock plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and serve food.
  • Don’t pressure guests to drink too much and cut off anyone who has already had enough.
  • Call a cab for intoxicated guests, give them a ride (if you are sober), or offer a place to sleep at your house.
  • Never allow minors to drink.
  • As the host, stay in control by not drinking too much yourself.


  • Fix any tripping hazards like broken stairs or loose handrails, double-stick tape throw rugs and secure extension cords.
  • Remove any dangerous items that might injure children like an old freezer, a broken swing or poison hazards.
  • In colder climates, keep sidewalks and steps free of ice and snow.
  • If you have a pool, keep gates locked or make sure kids are supervised by an adult if using the pool.
  • Consider restraining pets as you may be liable if a guest is bitten or scratched.

Homeowner’s Insurance

  • Make sure it is in force and that your policy limits are high enough to cover an injury. Standard minimums of $100,000 to $300,000 may not be enough to cover all the costs associated with a serious injury.
  • If you have significant assets in addition to your home, consider an umbrella policy for added liability protection.
  • Check for exclusions and contact your agent if you have any questions.

Read more information – including a safe party guide, advice from on how to host children safely, and office party tips for business owners – in our newsletter. Please share these tips with your friends and family, and let’s all work together to keep everyone safe this Holiday season.

If you have legal questions about your responsibilities as a Holiday party or gathering host, contact Barrow Law Firm. It’s better to be safe and educated than to be sorry.