In Florida, we are quite familiar with the weather phenomenon known as a hurricane. We usually get one every few years. Sometimes they come in groups. For example, in 2004, we had four hurricanes hit in two months: Charley, Frances, Jeanne and Ivan. They are so common that they have become one of the major seasons Florida has: Hurricane season, Mosquito season, Lovebug season and Summer. Hurricane season ranges from June 1 to November 30, but they usually come in the months of August and September.
Instead of freaking out about a coming hurricane, most Floridians just have a hurricane party. If you are not from Florida, this maybe a foreign concept to you. A hurricane party is when you get a group of people together at someone’s house to ride out the storm together. There are refreshments and sometimes games. I’ve heard some people get real crazy and roll around in trash bins in the wind and rain, but DO NOT TRY IT YOURSELF. It may sound fun, but it’s quite dangerous. It’s all fun and games until someone falls out of a trash can and gets hurt. A successful hurricane party is one that is fun and mostly safe. If you’ve never thrown or attended a hurricane party, I’m here to help.
The first thing you’ll need is food. Preferably something that doesn’t need to refrigerated if the electricity goes out. Chips or something of that manner. Also have something more substantial for people to eat. This is where a gas stove or a grill comes in handy. If you have a gas stove or a grill there are more options. You can make hot food and or reheat things. I remember in the 2004 hurricanes my mom and I only had a grill to cook on because the electricity was out. I don’t remember the main entrée but I do remember the peas she made. She cooked them on the grill and the only charcoal we had was mesquite charcoal. That day we learned that mesquite peas are not tasty. If you plan on cooking, make sure you have the right stuff.
The second thing you’ll need are drinks. Sodas are fine, but in Florida, most people have alcoholic beverages for the attendees who are of age. Some do themed mixed drinks, like a hurricane punch. Other just have regular alcohol like beer or non-themed mixed drinks. To keep things cold, get a couple of coolers. Both full of ice to keep important things cold when if it gets down to it.You can also use that ice in drinks.
Water is a must. Gallons and bottled water is extremely useful especially if the power goes out. It can be used to drink of course. You can use it to wash things like dishes if you need to. You can use it to flush the toilet you need to. If you have alcohol at your hurricane party, you will need drinking water so people do not get dehydrated. Cold water is nice to have but not totally required. Room temperature water will hydrate a person faster because the body doesn’t have to work as hard to warm it to body temperature.
Games can be fun. Card games or board games are best for the situation, but if you can find a game you don’t mind playing in your house go for it. I don’t suggest soccer or football or anything that could break stuff, but if that’s what you want to do go for it.
Make sure you have plenty of space for people to sleep. Sleeping bags or air mattresses are always a good option. If you don’t have enough, ask people to bring their own stuff but try to have an extra or two in case people forget. Sleep will be important.
On a serious note, hurricane parties can be fun if you are responsible about it. Hurricanes are no joke. The tips I’ve given you are serious tips. You will need water, you will need food. If the power goes out you will need to keep cold things fresh as long as possible. Sleep is important. Be careful if you have to go outside for any reason. Hurricanes can be tolerable but you have to be smart about it.
Some other pro tips:
To keep things cold longer, turn you fridge to the coldest setting a day or two before the hurricane hits. If the power goes out your food will stay cold longer. Keeping the doors closed as much as possible also helps.
Make sure your cell phone is fully charged in case the power goes out. A battery powered portable charger would be helpful.
If you have a corded landline phone that does not require electricity, that will also work if the power goes out.
Tape your windows with masking tape or blue painter’s tape. Make an “X” across your windows to keep them intact on the off-chance that they break.
Anything that could possibly blow away in the wind should be secured down so they don’t blow away or get damaged or damaged something else.
Hurricanes can be tolerable and not too horrible, if you are responsible about it. Go! Have fun! And Be safe!