The Ultimate Casual Gathering: Slumber Party For Grown-Ups

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A party can be equally intimidating to guests (wear the right outfit, provide sparkling conversation, know somebody beyond the host) as it is for the host (play the right music, serve the right food/drinks, invite the right mix of people), but nothing says "come as you are" like an invitation to a sleepover party!

Why should you host a slumber party immediately, and why should you accept an invitation to a slumber party immediately? Let's count the ways. Slumber parties...

1. Accommodate Odd Schedules: How many times have friends been unable to join in the fun because they need to study until 10, work until midnight, can only stop in for a minute, or have to get up early the next morning? A slumber party solves all of those problem because the nature of a slumber party is that it happens all night. Guests can arrive when they're finally done studying/working, they can sneak out early in the morning, and they can pop in for just a bit before and after their other commitments. Unlike, say, a dinner party or sports-watching party, which has a well-defined timeline, sleepovers are inherently flexible.

2. Keep It Casual: Sure, it's fun to feel cute, but a sleepover removes a lot of the party outfit pressure. You're literally going to be lounging around at home (or someone else' home), so the dress code is Cozy + Comfortable. Coming straight from work in your grubby work clothes? Change into some cute jammies! Don't have cute jammies? Keep your street clothes on until you're ready to sleep and then change again right when you get up. Just be sure to pack presentable underthings in case someone sticks them in the freezer.

3. Instant Camaraderie: One aspect of parties that can cause stress to both hosts and guests is the concept of Worlds Colliding. Work friends have never met college friends, and you have no idea how any of them will feel about your new charmingly crazy friend from your kickboxing class, let alone the older lady you work with at the library. While a cocktail party can result in clumps of conversation and groups that don't mingle, a sleepover brings everyone together. Let's have a popcorn pop-off! And order a crazy amount of pizza! And watch 17 Again! And paint our nails/whatever the dude equivalent to painting our nails is! Once again, the casual, even silly nature of a slumber party helps make people comfortable, perhaps even comfortable enough to make new friends.

4. Budget Friendly: Compared to a night on the town, a night decidedly in is supremely affordable. A sleepover can even be cheap compared to other parties: popcorn costs pennies, almost every town has an affordable pizza delivery option, and a few pints of Ben & Jerry's can be had for less than $10 — or you can go one better with Stout Beer Ice Cream Floats! The potluck approach is a great one, too — guests might all want to bring a bottle of bubbly, or perhaps one wants to bring homemade cookie dough, one makes a fantastic salad, and one will pick up burritos on his or her way over. Grab a few tubes of Trader Joe's cinnamon rolls for the morning and you're all set.

5. Build Bonds: I've written before about the loveliness of sharing a bed with platonic friends, and I think the same is true for slumber parties. There's something so sweetly, innocently intimate about sharing a night's sleep. It creates new bonds, and strengthens old ones. How wonderful to have your dear friends sprawled around your home, dreaming softly, all so content and cozy!

Have you hosted or attended a slumber party recently? How was it?

(Image credits: Leela Cyd)