Lesson on how not to advertise a party
A so-called "Project X party" catastrophe was averted on the weekend after innocent Facebook invitations to a high schooler's Halloween get-together took on a life of their own in cyberspace.
Kamloops RCMP Staff Sgt. Grant Learned said a 14-year-old girl invited 20 people to a Halloween costume party at her parents' home, in the 2000-block of Westerdale Court in Aberdeen, on Saturday, Oct. 27.
The invites were sent out via Facebook and word of the party quickly spread.
Last week, police caught wind of the would-be shaker.
Learned said investigators learned as many as 800 revellers planned to attend — including university students and high-school kids from as far away as Kelowna.
Mounties went to speak to the host's parents 24 hours before the party was slated to begin.
Learned said the homeowners posted an adult male — a bouncer — at the front door, but Aberdeen neighbours called police when hundreds of partiers showed up on area streets.
"By nine o'clock or so, there were so many kids in the neighbourhood, it was chaotic, according to the homeowners," he said, adding police arrived at the house at 9:20 p.m.
"There were a lot of people in the house."
Officers cleared out the home and told kids in the area the party had been pooped.
No arrests were made, but the house suffered minor damage, Learned said, adding one of the girl's parents was home at the time.
"People can put whatever they want online," he said.
"In this particular case, I don't think there was a full recognition of the impact of putting out an invitation on Facebook."
Large-scale, social media-driven house parties — referred to on Facebook and Twitter as Project X parties, after the 2012 movie bearing the same name in which friends planned a large gathering to gain popularity — have been a problem in recent months for police around B.C.
Most recently, in August, Langley RCMP found out about a potentially massive party advertised on Facebook. They determined it was a hoax and spread the word through a press release.
At the time, however, police said they expected the guest list to be in the thousands.
Learned said massive parties can create plenty of trouble for homeowners.
"There is a liability the homeowner would bear on the civil side if somebody gets hurt or gets intoxicated and falls down a step and knocks three teeth out," he said.
"You run the risk of having your house trashed beyond belief. You run the risk of having your house ransacked of valuables. You have no idea who they [the partiers] are and you have so many people running around that you can't control them."
Learned said the Westerdale Court party should serve as a reminder for people to think twice before advertising private social events online.
And, he said, if a party does get out of hand, call police.
"When we get a call that a party is out of control, our direction at that point is taken from the homeowner," he said.
"If the homeowner says the party is over, we clear everyone out — invited or not."