What's the latest trend for home-owners bitten by the renovation bug? According to the Wall Street Journal, it's Demolition Parties. A Demolition Party is when a home-owner invites over a bunch of friends, hands out some sledgehammers and power tools, and everybody goes to work tearing out walls, or ripping up floorboards, all so the home-owner can save a few bucks on renovation costs.

Why all the penny pinching? Blame it on the current housing slump. New home sales are down more than 12% this year. So, banks are tightening their belt on home loans. Combine that with construction fees jumping 18% percent, and you've got the perfect recipe for a Demolition Party. The social aspect of this dates all the way back to Colonial days, when whole communities would gather 'round to build a house, or tear one down. However, current-day Demolition Parties are so popular, the party planning website E-Vite has designated a category for them: "remodeling events." Invitations for these parties rose 40% over the summer!

Some business savvy contractors even offer their services now as "supervisors" for these parties, for a small fee of course. This trend has its pitfalls, especially if inexperience and alcohol get involved. There are plenty of reports about friends hanging drywall backwards, installing floor tiles crooked, or sledge-hammering the wrong wall! That's not to mention the emergency room visits that come with amateur carpenters falling off ladders or nailing themselves with nail guns!The fact is, some home-owners wind up spending MORE on clean-up and repairs than they would have paid a contractor in the first place! So keep that in mind if you're considering one of these Demolition Parties.

There will always be mistakes when free labor is involved. So try limiting the fun to tasks like breaking concrete, moving rocks, or repainting walls. In other words, things you can't mess up!