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Warming Up Your Party

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Ice-cream is the only portion of a party that should be frozen. If you foresee danger of your good time turning into a North Pole expedition or an evening among icebergs, plan something that will either break or melt the ice. And if you aren't absolutely sure you can use the ice-pick hard enough, take one of your friends into your confidence for the occasion. People will always follow a leader.

There are any number of ways to warm things up. One of them is to pass out gay paper caps to everybody. When you see a clown's peaked hat rakishly topping John Clark's aristocratic features or an old man's skull-cap perched on jolly Jim Jackson's head or a gypsy tam on dignified Dorothy Dean's, there's enough of the incongruous to make you feel decidedly good-humored. And once everybody's in a frolicsome mood, everything seems to hum.

As a matter of fact, most people go to a party to play, and will do so, if given half a chance. That's where balloons come in. Yes-children's toy balloons, red and yellow and green or blue, all tugging away toward the ceiling on long strings. Hand out balloons with duplicate numbers, two alike, tied to the tip of the string, so that every girl may match up with a man.

There's a thrill in hunting up your partner, and if it wouldn't make you feel light-hearted to be circling about in a world of merrily bobbing rainbow-colored bubbles, what would?

You know it's a fact that folks like to think they're having a good time, and when they find they actually are having one, they're so delighted to find that out that they're even merrier than before-joyful because they're joyful-that's the way it works.

So, when they see other people chuckling and cavorting and realize they're part of the gay throng, they feel like chuckling and romping, too. And, before you know it, everyone is in the highest of spirits.

It's just another way of saying that nearly everybody likes to be crazy, at times. Give them a chance. Provide bird whistles and let partners whistle for each other.

Let the men favor the girls with little jingling cowbells on ribbons to hang around their necks. Or, tell the men to toot their own horns, and hand them gay painted toy ones for the purpose.

There's yet another way of stirring up fun, and that's mixing'em up. For example, name the corners of the room Boston, New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Then ask every body to stand in a circle. Pointing rapidly to each person in turn, assign him or her to one of the four cities without regard to clique. (Cliques are fatal to parties.)

Off they frolic to their respective corners as they're directed, and when they've all arrived they form four Virginia reels to dance simultaneously. There's the thrill of being conventionally bohemian; the girl in tangerine who's wanted to meet that stunning man with the wonderful eyes gallops down the center and back with him. The man with the strong chin who's hoped to meet the little fairy in goldover-pink is her neighbor in the reel.

And, for goodness' sake, don't have long, tiresome waits between dances, unless you have a balky orchestra. Waits slow things up terribly. Ice has time to form. The excitement has time to die down before the next dance begins, and the getting-together feeling has to be pursued all over again.

If you find your party slowly congealing for some reason or other, do something desperate. Don't be like the lady who gave a dance for her daughter and not a single one-step was onestepped nor a fox-trot fox-trotted, and the guests sat like mummies around the wall the whole evening. You say it couldn't happen, but it did happen. Don't-let it happen to you.

Be sure you have an ice-breaker at your party.

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