It took a whole week of carefully planned arguments and pleading to finally convince his parents to let him have Halloween party at their house. John Carlson was desperately trying to get into the Delta Tau fraternity at his college so that he could finally move out of his parents’ house.
As a freshman it was a longshot but he knew that this was his only chance to move out, because while his parents were paying for his college tuition they decided not to pay for the dorm housing. They only lived 20 minutes away from campus and so his parents didn’t see the point in paying the extra money for housing. John had gotten a part-time job during his first semester but it was clear that wouldn’t be nearly enough to pay for housing, on- or off-campus.
John had learned that new pledges to Delta Tau were often required to live in the frat house for their first year, and through a bit of determined detective work John discovered that there were currently 4 vacant rooms and the Delta Tau’s would only be accepting 3 new pledges out of the rush class of 12. All of this meant that John had found a loop-hole to finally break free from his parents but that he also had to do whatever it would take to make the short-list.
John’s first mission was to convince his parents that joining a frat and moving into the frat house was a good idea. John initially argued that his parents would be able to enjoy the empty house and not have to hear him coming and going at all hours of the night. Unfortunately for John his father, Mark, was a heavy sleeper and his mother, Vicky, wanted to keep him close to home. He then pivoted to the argument that this would be an important step in him becoming an independent individual and would help him prepare for the real world post-college. He hadn’t quite won them over with this approach, but he noticed that they seemed to actually think that this was a reasonably valid point. John continued to press hard on this point and finally won them over by promising to be home every Sunday night for family dinner.
Once he got the green light from his parents he needed to devise a plan to actually set himself apart from the other pledges and ensure his spot in the frat. He volunteered for every activity no matter how demeaning and made sure that he sucked up to the most influential brothers. He had learned by paying close attention that four of the brothers would be the ultimate decision makers. He did everything he could to make himself look good in their eyes.
His big break came when the school, under pressure from the local community, decided to ban any organized parties on Halloween. Halloween fell on a Friday that year and the Delta Tau’s were infamous for having the best parties. This ban came as a big blow to the frat and John guessed that if he could figure out a way for the party to go on that he would lock in his place as a top pledge candidate.
The Carlson family lives in a large home in a relatively rural area. John knew that between his parent’s basement and backyard that there would be more than enough room for a party. He also knew that his parents went out to a Halloween party every year. He campaigned relentlessly for his parents to allow him to host a party. He assured them that he would limit everyone to the basement and backyard and that they wouldn’t do anything to bother the neighbors. He knew that the neighbors wouldn’t be much of a problem given how far apart the houses were in their neighborhood.
His parents were skeptical of allowing the party but finally agreed to allow John to proceed after he suggested that his parents could make a night out of it and stay at a hotel in town. He also offered to hire a cleaning company to come the next day to make sure that everything was back in order before his parents even got home. Of course, John offered to pay for his parents’ hotel room as a sign of good faith. He didn’t have the money but had no difficulty in convincing the Delta Tau Treasurer to pick up the added expenses in order to make the party happen.