The only rule about New Year's Eve: There are no rules.
If you're tired of Aunt Georgina's annual party or in the mood for something more adventurous than pajamas and Dick Clark (or Ryan Seacrest), say goodbye to the old year by making reservations at Long Island venues hosting New Year's Eve celebrations.
If you're single . . .
INFO 516-908-9638, weekenddating.com
COST $60 ($44-$54 in advance)
At the "Singles Blowout Mingle," men and women in their late 20s through their early 50s can enjoy a buffet and dancing. To break the ice, Weekend Dating founder Jay Rosensweig says singles will play "Lock and Key," a game that encourages mingling as men with different sized keys try to find the woman wearing the necklace it "unlocks."
If you want a formal affair . . .
WHEN | WHERE 9 p.m.-1 a.m., Nautical Cruise Lines, 395 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport
INFO 516-623-5712, nauticalcruiselines.com
Guests boarding the Nautical Empress will be given a glass of Champagne before moving into a cocktail area - and later, a formal sit-down dinner (filet mignon and mahi mahi are some of the menu options). Also promised: music, dancing and party favors to ring in the New Year with elegance - and a Viennese table.
If you want something offbeat . . .
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Custer Observatory, 1115 Main Bayview Rd., Southold
INFO 631-765-2626, custerobservatory.org
COST $25 ($10 students; $5 ages 14 and younger)
Spend the last night of 2009 "Under the Stars," where Ahmad Ali and Friends will serenade with R & B and jazz music at the observatory. Guests can nibble on finger foods and desserts before a Champagne toast at midnight. Weather permitting, the telescopes will be open for stargazing.
If you want to see a movie . . .
WHEN | WHERE 6 p.m., Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington
INFO 631-423-7611, cinemaartscentre.org
COST $20 ($15 members)
Who said the only thing you can watch on New Year's Eve is "Honeymooners" marathons? At "Celebrate With Cinema," guests can take their pick of three films: "A Single Man," featuring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore, "Broken Embraces," starring Penélope Cruz or Martin Scorsese's "The Young Victoria." Light refreshments will be served before and after the movie. The crowd will move into the cinema's Sky Room for Champagne and a telecast of the ball dropping in Times Square.
If you want a show . . .
WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m., Antun's, 244 W. Old Country Rd., Hicksville
INFO 800-383-6080, newyorkdinnertheater.com
COST $97 (reservations required)
Bask in nostalgia at "The Amazing '70s Prom," where you really can turn back the clock. At this "interactive comedy show," bell-bottoms are back in style, and no one will judge if you wear polyester. The show includes a three-course meal and open bar.