We actually did it--we hosted a Wednesday Spaghetti!
We took the leap because: 1) it was the day after our traditional January 1 party, so the party gear (tables, chairs, bar setup) was out and cleaned; 2) we both had the day off; 3) we'd been talking about it for years; 4) the type-A side of us loved the idea of knocking out a resolution on Day 2 of the year; and 5) we went to three funerals that week and were in a bit more of a carpe diem mindset than usual.
And it was awesome, except for my own flipping kids who took advantage of the chaos to (are you ready?) get a concussion. (Ok, to be fair--it wasn't really a concussion--it missed one benchmark for concussion classification--but was a serious enough bonk on the head to earn concussion treatment, though thankfully only for a week. And I'm totally ok with outside support for limiting screen time.)
So, head injuries aside--it was great. I was not brave enough to invite the world. We invited our street +1, for a total of 20 houses, plus our backyard neighbors whose street has zero kids besides theirs. And of the 20 houses--14 had at least one member come! At peak, we had about 40 people here, 12 of whom were kids, which is about capacity for our house. (Really--it's a bit over capacity but it was fun.) On New Year's Eve, I had my kids run up and down the street, ringing doorbells to deliver the invitations since I was so late getting them out. Text below:
I was delighted that one of the elderly couples on our street called to decline, but complimented the kids ("they were so cute and so well behaved") that it was worth it already. People came right after work, still in suits or work clothes; others changed in to more casual clothes; but people came and settled right in and enjoyed.
About 15 of the 20 houses have the same blueprints, so it's fun to go see what other people have done (or what former owners have done), and gave us something immediate to share. About 4 of the families agreed that by putting "It's not a party" line in the invitation, attendance was definitely increased. The novelty factor definitely played in to it too. Our oldest guests were in their 70s; youngest were first graders (and four of them!).
Next time, I would use spaghetti instead of angel hair (too sticky; shells or rotini would be even better). We ran out of meatballs (and we had a lot of meatballs!) early, but awesomely, our neighbors had some in the fridge, ran home to get them, and saved the day. We had a ton of bread (breadsticks, garlic bread, homemade bread...), three salads, and some dessert. Someone brought a huge chunk of gourmet cheese. Someone else baked cookies and brought them over warm. Someone else didn't see the invitation until that day and offered to boil the pasta for me. Everyone contributed; everyone stayed longer than they meant to; and everyone was gone by 8:10, and most were gone before that.
Before they left, three neighbors cornered me to ask how WedSpag is "done." I explained that it is up to the hosts. Some do weekly; some monthly; some quarterly; some do neighborhoods; some invite everyone. They asked if I would be insulted if they did it next time and I said of course not! And so my hope is that sometime in the next few months, the idea will spread yet again.
If you are on the fence, I say: do it. The irony of doing it on a day off was that by starting it at 6, I started getting ready at 4:30...and then had to wait almost an hour after setting up to start the actual spaghetti, so it really wasn't hard. (And again: we had just hosted a party so your milage may vary.) But it was really easy, compared to "parties," that have menus and expectations and baggage that this night doesn't. Try it. You'll like it. Just keep the concrete blocks (or the kids) out of your basement and all should be well.
Thanks to all who have hosted me before; someday I'll do it for you! But I am grateful for the inspiration, and hope that more take it on in the new year!