Alcohol free events

Alcohol is served at many social events; a family BBQ, a birthday party, Saturday afternoon at the football or netball club and at community get togethers. But alcohol, particularly in excess, can lead to health problems, violence and accidents.

Young people are at particular risk from alcohol. Current guidelines recommend that young people under 18 years of age should avoid drinking completely. This is to reduce the risk of immediate harm (e.g. violence and injury) and longer term harm due to damage to the developing brain. Young people’s decision making ability can be compromised by alcohol use and can have very serious consequences. Heavy alcohol consumption at a young age is associated with ongoing alcohol misuse, alcohol dependence and diminished work capacity

It is also recommended that pregnant women avoid drinking alcohol.

Alcohol and sport
There has been a strong link between sport and alcohol, particularly in rural areas where sporting clubs are often financially supported by alcohol sales. The increasing role that social media plays in encouraging alcohol consumption linked with sporting matches has also been noted.

Community based sports clubs are known to contribute to alcohol problems by promoting and accepting excessive drinking. Sport clubs, which often cater for many age groups, have a particular responsibility to their players, particularly their young players. Programs like Good Sports (see below) can help community sporting clubs change their attitude to alcohol and still be sustainable.

Fun without alcohol
It is possible to have enjoyable sporting and social events without alcohol.

Parties can still be fun without alcohol. Make the event special with decorations and serve glamorous, colourful mocktails in special glasses. Adult guests might appreciate a refreshing drink that doesn’t give them cause for worry about being over the limit when they drive home.

Teenagers will feel special too, if you serve them special ‘adult’ drinks (without alcohol) that the young ones can’t have till they’re older.

Other things to do to make a party fun:

  • Dancing– get people up and moving, it’s fun and lots of people long for a chance to show off their style, put on the Macarena, it’s sure to get people up!
  • Games– bring out the inner child in your friends; ask everyone to come with a suggestion for a game, for example, backyard cricket, charades, card games, twister, the limbo or even pin the tail on the cow! Look up party games on the Web.
  • Food– provide lots of interesting food – or ask everyone to bring a plate to share.
  • Alcohol free challenge – ask your guests to bring along the ingredients for their favourite alcohol free beverage to be served at the event.
  • Music– ask around, there may be people of all age groups with a dusty instrument in a cupboard that they could bring out for a ‘Local Talent’ party!
  • Themes– encourage some frivolity, have a Halloween party or a red party.

You can have a fun event without alcohol! Try it, you might be surprised and you’ll wake up with a clear head in the morning. Look after yourself and set an example for young people; organise your next BBQ without booze!

When holding an event where alcohol is served, make sure people are able to check how much alcohol they are consuming (for example, by serving alcohol in its original container or adding a sign alongside the punch bowl to indicate what it contains).


Alcohol is a social drug that affects people in different ways. Recommended alcohol consumption limits to reduce health risks from drinking vary. The size of a standard drink also varies according to the type of alcohol. Heavy drinkers and binge drinkers risk serious alcohol-related harm. Do not consume alcohol during pregnancy as this can have serious consequences on your child’s health. If you plan to drive, it is better not to drink alcohol.

Find out more about this topic on Better Health Channel

References used for this topic page

More information:

Cancer Council WA
Host an alcohol free event

Australian Drug Foundation
Alcohol facts

Australian Drug Foundation
Safe partying for all ages

Australian Drug Foundation
The facts about binge drinking

Australian Drug Foundation
What is a standard drink?

Australian Drug Foundation
The sobering truth about the silly season

Australian Drug Foundation
Good Sports

Australian Drug Foundation
Good Sports – about the program

Should parents give their teens permission to drink at house parties?

Better Health Channel
Partying safely – tips for teenagers

Research & reviews:

Alcohol and Alcoholism
Adolescent Alcohol Use: Risks and Consequences

BMC Public Health
Parental supply of alcohol to Australian minors: an analysis of six nationally representative surveys spanning 15 years

BMJ Open
Randomised controlled trial of a web-based programme in sustaining best practice alcohol management practices at community sports clubs: a study protocol

Drug and Alcohol Review
An examination of how alcohol brands use sport to engage consumers on social media

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Is alcohol and community sport a good mix? Alcohol management, consumption and social capital in community sports clubs

Fast facts:

Alcohol free events

  • Alcohol is served at many social events, but it’s not essential. You can have fun without alcohol.
  • Create a festive atmosphere with stylish, colourful mocktails in special glasses.
  • Serve teenagers special ‘adult’ drinks (without alcohol) that the younger ones can’t have till they’re older.
  • Try dancing, games, live music, theme parties and talent quests to make an event fun.


Last updated: 16th April, 2020