What is Blackout Wednesday? History, Importance, & Customs

What is Blackout Wednesday? History, Importance, & Customs

A few Thanksgivings ago, I started sending out an annual group text to childhood friends asking "Who's ready for Blackout Wednesday?" Initially, I was met with many responses asking "What's Blackout Wednesday?". But since then, it has become a tradition cemented in stone across my high school friend group.

Blackout Wednesday, sometimes also referred to as Drinksgiving, takes place the day before Thanksgiving. It's usually an evening filled with binge drinking with close friends, which may be followed up by a painful hangover and Thanksgiving family activities. 

In some areas, like Chicago suburbs, some may even go as far to label it as the largest drinking holiday of the year. If you're not blacking out, you might not be doing the holiday justice!

The History of Blackout Wednesday

History shows that Native Americans taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate and harvest corn. After the Pilgrims' first successful harvest in November 1621, they thanked the Native Americans by hosting a celebratory feast, which later became known as Thanksgiving.

However, what is lesser known is that the Pilgrims introduced bourbon to the Native Americans and had them take turns taking swigs from the bottle until it was finished. Legend has it that most of the chiefs ended up blacking out and throwing up - hence Blackout Wednesday.  Who knew turkey and bourbon would be such a great combination? No coincidence that one of America's most popular bourbon brands is named Wild Turkey!

I'm totally kidding - that's all fake news (bourbon wasn't even invented until 100 years later). There aren't any actual accounts that clearly document the origin of Blackout Wednesday. What we do know is this: Blackout Wednesday started appearing as a Google search term in 2004, but didn't start trending until 2012. 

Further, urbandictionary.com has its first entry about Blackout Wednesday in 2006. We also do know there is a strong association between Blackout Wednesday and Chicago, indicating its popularity in the Midwest United States.

It's also speculated that it was started by college kids. Which makes sense for a reason we’ll explain in a bit. 

Well, whichever college students started the tradition of Blackout Wednesday in a Chicago suburb between 2004 and 2006 - we thank you for your service.

How to Celebrate a Successful Blackout Wednesday

This isn't some amateur hour holiday where you just plan it the day of.  Ever tried to go out on New Years or Halloween without plans? Yep, it can be quite the disaster. While Blackout Wednesday isn't quite like those holidays, there are some best practices and guidelines to make sure you celebrate right.

  1. The People
  2. Location, Location, Location
  3. Preparing for the Next Day



The reason why Blackout Wednesday is so unique compared to other drinking holidays is because of the people you celebrate with. Given its proximity to Thanksgiving, there's a high likelihood that people are returning back to their families and childhood homes for the long weekend.

Think college kids returning home from university. They all have gone down different paths, experienced different parties, tried different alcohols, but all reunite and are ready to party for Blackout Wednesday. 

Effectively, Blackout Wednesday can quickly become a mini high school reunion, but without the people that suck.

Let's face it - when we graduate high school, there are so many people we were cool with but didn't keep in touch with. It's natural. But when you do run into each other, it's all love. We all have those folks, and Blackout Wednesday is the perfect time to reconnect with those people.

If each person in your closer friend group invites 1-2 of those types of friends, you could quickly find your party expanding. And if those people do the same, you have yourselves a proper Blackout Wednesday.


The ideal Blackout Wednesday location has to have 2 things.

1) Close to your hometown or high school

Every hometown in the suburbs has that "one bar". That bar that no one else in the world knows of, unless you were born and raised in that town. In all likelihood, it's probably a restaurant during the day that turns into a bar at night (because bar establishments alone usually don't get enough business in the burbs). 

It needs to have a lot of space, ideally seating. And definitely needs to be within a 5-10 minute drive from everyone's house. Make sure you have a designated driver or use rideshare - be safe!

2) Cheap drinks

Choose a place with cheap drinks and drink specials. Part of the fun of Blackout Wednesday is the nostalgia. Of not only reconnecting with old friends, but also reminiscing on the days you were younger and even more broke. 

I've heard of many hometown bars doing 2 for 1 drink specials during certain hours, so be on the lookout for those (double fisting AMF’s anyone?). Remember, if you're not blacking out, you're not doing it right!


Yes, it's called Blackout Wednesday, so by all means feel free to blackout. But that doesn't mean you have to wake up bedridden with a hangover. Thanksgiving is family time, and you don't want to miss out on the family festivities because you drank too much the night before. So make sure to hydrate, and take the necessary precautions!

If you're trying to avoid a hangover, we launched Lil Better, an 100% all natural herbal supplement that can help you bounce better the day after drinking. Our herbal blend gives your body the antioxidants to speed up recovery. Take 2 capsules before your first drink, and say goodbye to nausea and headaches! 

Whether it's for Blackout Wednesday or any other night out, Lil Better is the perfect hangover supplement for anyone who loves a good drink without the painful consequences that follow in the morning. If you hand it out to all your friends at Blackout Wednesday, you'll be the talk of the town by Thursday morning - trust us on this one!


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