House party

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Sketch from the St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, September 27, 1896, accompanying an article by Nina Goodwin, datelined Paris, France, September 15, beginning “One hears now, more than anything else, the subject of house parties being discussed.” The caption reads: “The most cheerful gowns in red and wood color for a dull day, when the house party gathers for afternoon tea.” Women are relaxing in garden furniture.
Newspaper layout dealing with house parties, with sketches by Marguerite Martyn of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and photographs of society women, 1909. The man in the center is carrying golf clubs, and there is a hammock in the lower drawing.
A house party in Denver, Colorado, 2009

A house party is a type of party where people gather at the residence of the party's host.


A house party might be organized several months, or down to just a few hours, in advance. News of a party is often spread by word of mouth, the sending of formal invitations, or on social networking websites like Facebook. In the case of the latter, the host must be particularly careful of how public the information regarding the party is made. There have been cases where hundreds of people have turned up to a party they found out about on the internet without knowing the host personally, causing massive damage to the house or the items within it. In the United Kingdom, such an occurrence may be referred to as a 'Skins' party, named after a well-known TV show set in the English city of Bristol focusing on the lives of teenagers who often participate in and host such parties.

A person who attends a house party, but has not been invited, is typically referred to as a "gatecrasher". Such an activity is usually perceived negatively, although more liberal hosts may permit gatecrashers, depending on their behavior.

In some instances house parties do not attract large crowds, and with ten or fewer people are often referred to as a 'gathering'.[citation needed]

House parties in history[edit]

An early example of a house party can be seen in the play Mostellaria (The Haunted House) by the Roman playwright Plautus. In the play, a young man called Philolaches holds a house party with many friends while his father Theopropides is away on business.

House parties have become a prominent feature in popular movies, particularly movies aimed at teenagers. While many have probably been present before the movie, The Party is one of the first to properly provide a scene of a house party. However, the most popular film later on is “House Party” featuring hip hop rap duo Kid-N-Play.

In the former Yugoslavia[edit]

In the former Yugoslavia, a sijelo (In Ijekavian), silo (In Ikavian) or selo (In Ekavian) is an evening social gathering at a house. The use of the word sijelo is particularly widespread in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In Ireland[edit]

In Ireland, a Céilí is a social gathering which, in its traditional form, takes place in a domestic dwelling. Contemporary céliís often involve music and dancing and can also take place in a public or private meeting space, in addition to in a domestic setting.

See also[edit]



For Sijelo:

  • Milenko S. Filipović (1982). Among the people, native Yugoslav ethnography: selected writing of Milenko S. Filipović. Michigan Slavic Publications, Dept. of Slavic Languages and Literatures. p. 97.
  • Norman M. Naimark; Holly Case (2003). Yugoslavia and Its Historians: Understanding the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-4594-9.