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15 Party must-haves for your next big bash

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, pets...

Be ready for a party

A reason to party can happen at a moment's notice, and it's best to be ready. Have these items on hand to throw a rockin' party in no time at all.

Sometimes, you just want to party — and you can if you make sure to always have these items on hand.

Be ready for a party


Convert an everyday space into a party-ready hangout in a hurry by keeping a few key items on hand. Streamers and latex balloons can go a long way toward making things festive! You don't even need helium — inflate the balloons yourself and use ribbons to hang them from curtain rods, light fixtures, railings and more.
Be ready for a party

Plates, bowls, cups and cutlery

Keep a big stash of disposable plates, bowls, cups and cutlery on hand. It's easy to have enough for a large crowd, and it'll save you the trouble of doing all those dishes after everyone leaves.
Be ready for a party


If you have a crowd, you're going to have to feed them. Keep items on hand that can easily be prepared, like large cans of shredded chicken for sandwiches, frozen meatballs and chips. If you don't have room to stockpile, then keep a few take-out menus on hand for places that provide good food in a hurry.
Be ready for a party


Dinner isn't over until you've served dessert. Bake and freeze cookies, pies and cakes ahead of time for a quick thaw. Not much of a baker? No sweat! Keep a supply of ready-to-use cookie dough in your fridge or freezer so you can whip up a batch in no time.
Be ready for a party

Serving ware

What good is all that food if you don't have anything to serve it in? Stock up on large platters for veggies, fruit and hors d'oeuvres, as well as big bowls for chips and pretzels.
Be ready for a party


Depending on the type of party you're hosting, alcohol may be a necessity. Stock some beer and a few good bottles of wine — the harder stuff is optional.
Be ready for a party

Nonalcoholic drinks

Not everyone likes to drink, so make sure you have beverage options for your sober party companions. Bottled water and soda is usually enough, but tea or punch is a nice touch, as well.
Be ready for a party


Unless your fridge is pretty much empty, you're going to need someplace else to keep the drinks cold. Use a cooler, bucket or large tub to hold drinks and ice.
Be ready for a party


Parties get messy. Be ready with a stack of napkins to keep those messes from getting out of control.
Be ready for a party

Extra seating

A few folding chairs go a long, long way when it comes to transforming your space into a party atmosphere. When a few guests are forced to stand, they end up mingling and keep the party moving. When everyone has to stand, your place seems cramped and you look unprepared.
Be ready for a party


Music is all you need to set the tone for a perfect party. Keep it loud and lively if hosting a wild crowd, or soft and classical for a dinner party or casual crowd. You don't need a big stereo system and an epic collection of CDs. If you have a smartphone like a Windows Phone, you can access your online music collection, as well as apps like Pandora and I Heart Radio. Hook your phone up to a set of mobile phone-ready speakers and you're ready to party.
Be ready for a party


Depending on your crowd, you may need to provide some entertainment to keep things moving. Keep a corn hole set on hand for a last-minute barbecue and a few good board games in a closet for a get-together with close friends. Keep some children's games, as well as coloring books, crayons and other busy work, for kids in case you throw an impromptu children's party, or to occupy the children of your guests.
Be ready for a party


If you're having a dinner party, a few candles may be all you need to set the mood for an elegant evening.
Be ready for a party

A smokin'
hot outfit

The perfect host has to look the part, right? Make sure you have a party-ready outfit ready to go, so you can focus on the party instead of stressing about your look.
Be ready for a party

Good friends

It's not a party without the guests! Have a few good friends who are always up for a party and keep their numbers on speed dial!

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