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New Year’s Eve: Tips for those staying out or staying in

Just like that – the last few months of the year have flown by. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, New Year’s Eve plans inevitably tend to get pushed to the back-burner. If you haven’t started thinking about New Year’s Eve, we recommend making dinner reservations, buying tickets and reserving a babysitter, if needed,  as soon as possible. 

Safe on the Town

Ellisville Police Chief Steve Lewis offers the following tips for safely celebrating New Year’s Eve:

Use ride services such as Uber or Lyft

“Always have a designated driver or have someone responsible for driving who is not drinking,” Lewis said. “That is our No. 1 concern on New Year’s Eve.”

While Uber and Lyft may impose “surge” charges on a high-demand night like New Year’s Eve, the apps also allows the cost to be split among all passengers.

Officers can test blood alcohol concentration [BAC] with breathalyzers and blood tests. A BAC of 0.08 percent means the driver is legally considered impaired, and will be charged accordingly. However, drivers also can be charged with driving under the influence for any BAC higher than 0.00 percent. 

Know what, how much you’re drinking

“Excess [drinking] is always a problem. If we have disturbances with alcohol, they’re related to abuse or over-use of alcohol,” Lewis said.

Eat a good meal before attending your New Year’s Eve event and be aware of the alcohol content of your drinks, to avoid accidentally over-indulging. 

Watch when someone else is preparing your drink and be aware of how it was prepared. Individuals also should always keep a close eye on their beverages at parties and avoid leaving them unattended.

Be aware of where you are

“You especially want to be aware of where you’ve parked,” Lewis said. “Park in a well-lit area. Pay attention to what’s going on around you, especially if you’re going to be drinking. A lot of times, when we’re drinking, our senses aren’t exactly up to snuff, and it can put us in a position where we could be confronted by somebody in an area that we’re unfamiliar with.

“We don’t want anybody to get hurt. Frankly, the whole point of New Year’s Eve is to go out, have fun, enjoy times with your friends, but to do it in a safe manner.”

Say no to illegal fireworks or weapons

“One tip I give to people is ‘What goes up must come down,’” Lewis said. “It’s never a good idea to fire any type of weapon or projectile up into the air, because that’s going to return somewhere. Every year, there’s usually one or two people that are injured as a result of people misusing their firearms.

“We’re going to have added patrols on New Year’s Eve, just like every other police department in the area. We will be looking for people who are seriously impaired or creating a hazard or any other danger to the public. The common-sense rules really do apply.”

Having fun at home

Skipping the crowds and instead hosting or attending a house party to ring in the New Year? Suggest making the party a pot-luck. This takes pressure off the host or hostess and provides a fun variety of food and drink. 

For an extra twist, give the party a theme – through the decades, masquerade, glitter/sequins/metallic, casino, or even a “2018” theme in which people dress as prominent or newsworthy people/events from throughout the past year. 

Don’t forget the New Year’s Eve party hats, beads and noisemakers!

Looking for a fun game? Word Salad is a fan favorite that offers just the right level of competitiveness and laughs. It’s entertaining for all ages and any number of players – and it doesn’t require anything except pens, paper, and a bowl or bucket. 

Word Salad

What you’ll need: Pens; paper, cut or torn into small strips;  a bowl or bucket. 

How to play: Divide the group into two teams, sitting in alternating order. 

Each player receives five blank strips of paper and a pen. Write a word or phrase on each strip of paper, being as silly or as serious as you please. Fold them up and throw them in the bucket. 

Word Salad is played in three rounds, during which players will have 45 seconds to try to get their team to correctly guess as many words/phrases from the bucket as they can. A player is allowed one “skip” per turn. When a paper is correctly guessed, the player quickly draws another and continues until their time is up. When the player’s time is up, their correctly guessed papers are counted, added to the team’s score, then set aside. The bucket moves on to the next player on the opposing team and the process repeats itself.

The round ends when the bucket is empty. Team points are tallied and the papers are returned to the bucket.

With each round, the delivery of clues becomes more challenging.

Round 1: Describe the word/phrase using as many words as you like, but without saying any of the words on the strip of paper. 

Round 2: Act out the word/phrase using no words or sound effects. 

Round 3: Use one word to describe the word/phrase. If the group agrees to stiff penalties, filler words such as “umm” or “let’s see” may be counted against you and you may not be allowed to speak for the remainder of your turn. 

Winning: The team with the higher aggregate total from all three rounds is declared the winner.

No New Year’s Eve is complete without some bubbly. For an easy, change-of-pace, good-for-a-crowd, alternative drink option to standard champagne, whip up a tasty batch or two of Champagne Punch. It’s fruity but not overly sweet, and the ingredients can be tailored to your liking.

Champagne Punch

Courtesty of AllRecipes.com

Ingredients:

1 [12-ounce] can frozen cranberry juice concentrate

1 [12-ounce] can frozen pink lemonade concentrate

1 [6-ounce] can frozen limeade concentrate

1 [750 milliliter] bottle dry white wine, chilled

1 liter carbonated water, chilled

2 [750 milliliter] bottles Brut champagne*, chilled

1 lemon, sliced for garnish

1/2 cup fresh mint, for garnish

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Garnish with lemon slices and fresh mint.

*From driest to sweetest, Champagnes are classified as: Brut, Extra Dry/Extra Sec, Sec, Demi-Sec, and Doux. Brut can be further broken down into Extra Brut and Brut Natural – Brut Natural being the driest-possible type of champagne. Depending on how sweet [or not so sweet] you prefer your drink, choose your champagne accordingly.

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