Hosting for Halloween? Americans love parties, but entertaining guests is stressing them out

NEW YORK — Planning on hosting at your home for Halloween? Maybe your place is gameday central on football Sunday. Regardless of the occasion, three in four Americans are feeling stressed about receiving guests this year.

The poll of 2,000 adults reveals that while a majority (59%) enjoy hosting guests in their homes, many are still running into stressors like making sure everyone enjoys themselves (32%), what food to serve (30%), and cleaning up in time for their guests’ arrival (28%).

Many said they felt like they never have enough seating (18%), space (18%), and food (14%) for guests when they arrive. One in three almost never feel prepared to have people over.

Commissioned by Article and conducted by OnePoll, the study finds that many have a “wish list” of things that would make hosting less stressful for them: a bigger budget (32%), a larger room (30%), convenient food and drink options (27%), and more chairs and seating (23%).

A majority (71%) said they need at least a day to prepare their homes to have people over; on average, they need three days to be ready for guests. Only one in five scramble to clean within hours of their guests’ arrival.

Ahead of arrivals, hosts will rush to clean up and organize (62%), cook meals (61%), plan the menu (41%), prepare drinks (40%), and prepare a background music playlist (24%).

Greeting house guests at the front door
Greeting house guests at the front door (Photo by RDNE Stock project on Pexels)

The survey found that 55 percent said it’s important to them that their guests have a favorable opinion of their home, and a third (31%) admit to worrying so much about their guests being comfortable that they end up forgetting to enjoy themselves.

“People enjoy hosting at home and many design their home with guests in mind,” explains spokesperson Madison Adam, interior design manager at Article, in a statement. “Finding the right furniture for your space can eliminate entertaining worries as you’ll be more prepared to host on any occasion and guests will feel more comfortable. While seasonal decor can make your home feel festive, outfitting your space with stylish, functional furniture will leave a lasting impression.”

The results also found that 71 percent of respondents host guests in their living rooms, with a quarter (28%) also admitting that they feel like they don’t have enough space for guests in their home. 

Nearly 27 percent mentioned that their guests sometimes have to stand because there isn’t enough seating space. Similarly, 25 percent have to hold their own cups and plates because there’s no place to put them down.

Of course, all this effort comes with some ground rules. Nearly seven in 10 (69%) said they have a “number one” rule in their home when guests come over. 

Many even shared their rules: take off your shoes before you come in, eat at the dining table, if you make a mess, clean it up — and most importantly — make yourself at home and have fun.

“Incorporating thoughtful touches throughout your home makes guests feel welcomed,” Adam says. “Entryways with convenient shoe storage, sideboards, and well-placed side tables and ottomans ensure glasses, platters, and extra guests have a designated spot to perch. Choosing furniture that has an everyday purpose in your home and delights guests when they visit will help make sure everyone has a good time, including the host.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by Article between October 6 and October 10, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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    1. Since majority (71%) said they need at least a day to prepare their homes to have people over; on average, they need three days to be ready for guests.

      So the question now is, will everyone still enjoy the party, will there be enough seating?

  1. Easy answer, never have guests. Instead, show up to others houses uninvited to conduct a study on whether random guests is better than planned guests. Finally, eat whatever leftovers are in their fridge. I find that this strategy lowers my stress significantly.

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