A hurricane party is a social event held by people in the coastal United States who live in hurricane alley between Maine and Texas and is common in the Southeast. The event is held during a hurricane. However the guests are typically allowed to stay with the host for 3–5 days (weather permitting) and guests, in return, bring hurricane supplies such as radios, first aid supplies, food, etc.
Hurricane parties were formed by people living in the southern hurricane areas of the United States, especially in Florida. Events are held by people who, cannot or choose not to evacuate during a hurricane warning, or when no evacuation orders are issued. Hosts may also lack hurricane supplies, therefore they invite others to stay with them so as to share supplies and company. However, these events are usually more centered on the people and the socialness of the event, yet they are not necessarily done with diversion as an objective.
Another rationale for hosting hurricane parties is the expectation that power service may be lost for days or even weeks. As a result most perishable items, particularly frozen meats, will surely be wasted after the storm. In order to make good use of these items, grilling is an important aspect of many hurricane parties, as a way of "cleaning out the freezer."
Party supplies and customs
Hurricane parties are designed for many individuals to pool resources with the expectation that there will be no electricity and no open stores or restaurants for several days. Following hurricanes, there is generally a curfew set by local police to reduce looting and crime when resources are already stretched thin. The hurricane party means that people don't have to worry about traveling when roads and transportation will be impassable. The hurricane party frequently aims to go through perishable food, and thus grilling is a common activity since grills can be used regardless of the status of electric utilities.
Alcohol is almost always in good supply at a hurricane party, but guests are advised to pace themselves since these parties are often multi-day events.
- Mary Chapin Carpenter's Grammy-winning New Orleans and Cajun-themed song Down at the Twist and Shout has a line
"They got hurricane parties every time it blows"
- Cowboy Mouth recorded the song "Hurricane Party" about the excesses of a particular hurricane party for their 1999 live album All You Need is Live.
- A key scene in Steven Soderbergh's 2012 film Magic Mike takes place at a hurricane party.
- In the Cougar Town episode, "Down South", the majority of the episode is spent at Jules' hurricane party that later moves to Grayson's Bar.