New Year's Eve Guide

New Year's Eve. Does any other holiday carry with it such high hopes -- and does any other holiday smash expectations as flat? A river of disillusionment -- and vomit -- ran through the submissions for our first "My Worst New Year's Eve" essay contest. Our readers recounted horrible parties, worse non-parties, marital breakups, and anticipated proposals of marriage that never came through. But a few readers also let us know that dreams really can come true, and we're sharing their stories as a ray of hope at the end of lots of drunken, sometimes hilarious despair.

To help you plan a flub-free New Year's Eve, we've also rounded up every special event, family-friendly festival, decadent club night, mountain celebration and great hotel deal we can find.

But no matter how and where you spend New Year's Eve 2003, join us now in a toast to a better 2004 -- and to the survivors of some very, very bad nights.