Fall Festivities

It’s that time of year again, one of my absolute favorites in fact. It’s the time when pumpkin flavored everything is everywhere! The leaves are changing colors, the air is getting crisp, football is back, and cider is a staple in every fridge; It’s autumn. It also happens to be the time of year that hosts several holidays that I love to throw parties for. If you love the fall as much as I do and want to host a great gathering, but don’t know where to start, look no further. I’ve got a few small tips that will help you pull off a flawless evening with little to no effort, and leave your friends gossiping about the night for weeks to come.20121027-1536_IMGP6717


Clear the space

Whether you are having a huge Halloween bash or just a small Turkey-Day gathering of friends and family, it is important to start with a clean area. If your space is messy it may be hard to envision what decorations would look like hanging in it. Sometimes, you only need to flip a table sideways to open a room up. Also, if you intend to prepare or serve any kind of food, it would be better to do so in a clean environment. Take some time to tidy up and wipe down counter tops; trust me, your guests will definitely appreciate the effort.

Pick a Theme

Themes are just fun.  Picking a theme that is consistent throughout your event will make for easier decoration and creating a menu. Simply select one of the many beautiful fall colors and use it to plan your theme. I used orange as the main color for my Halloween party last year and incorporated pumpkins through plates, decorations and even desserts!

Supply Seasonal Snacks

Since fall is known for a multitude of flavors, there are many fabulous options to pick from when deciding on what to serve. Thanks to the internet, there are tons of websites with endless Halloween and Fall themed recipes. Kraft is one of my favorites and has definitely been the source of inspiration for many dishes served at previous parties of mine. These Pumpkin Pillows were a HUGE hit for me and worked great for both Halloween and Christmas.  Your local grocery store will often conveniently make a display with something new to try, so actually look at them!

Pumpkin Pillows

Pumpkin Pillows

If you don’t have the time and energy to bake or get creative do not fret, there are plenty of ways to make little items go a long way. It’s all about presentation. Decorate the space around the food you serve and try to display the food on platters and or seasonal serving plates. This will make almost anything you serve look just a little nicer.

Decorate

To me, decoration is the finishing touch that makes for a great event. Presentation is everything and what better way to present your home than with a beautifully decorated party? Fall happens to be, in my opinion, one of the best times of year to use natural resources for decoration. Pumpkins are beautiful, can stand alone, be painted or be carved to look pretty, or even serve as lanterns. Mums also make for great natural Fall decor and can be found for cheap in your garden (if you’ve got a green thumb) or at pretty much any grocery store or major retailer.

Entertain

Finish checking off your to do list once you’ve created a playlist of some catchy tunes and thought of some games to play. The likelihood of your guests sticking around for the night and enjoying themselves will be based on whether they are comfortable and happy with the environment. If your guests (and you of course) are all having a blast you’re event will last as long as you want, and you may even end up having to kick people out!

Organize the invitations, or create one Facebook, and get your friends together for some fun Fall festivities. Feel free to contact me if you need some fun game ideas or tasty recipes.

Happy Fall. 

Have a Fabulous 4th!

Independence Day, commonly known as The Fourth of July, is a day of celebration. It is the celebration of Independence and Freedom. For many, it is celebrating that summer has finally arrived! Being a Federal holiday most businesses and places of employment are closed giving many the day off. But what to do with your day off, and how should you go about celebrating?

If you’re stumped and not sure where to go or what to do, I’ve thought of a few things that might help!

Host A Better Backyard Cookout

If you want to celebrate but don’t feel like going too far from home to have fun, throw a little get together at your place! There are tons of great things you can do to feel like you’ve thrown a huge party while still keeping within your limits of a small get together.

Pool

If you are not one of the lucky people who have a big beautiful in-ground pool in their backyard, spring for something cheaper but still fun! Tons of stores are selling pools this time of year and there seems to be many different sizes you can choose from. I recently picked one up for my back yard, and it’s great to sit in and sun bathe. It’s actually big enough that four adults can sit in it and enjoy the sun while still cooling off.

If it’s a really hot day and your friends don’t mind getting their outfits wet, you could even throw water balloons and squirt guns in the pool to make for a more interesting afternoon. You could even take your dedication to your 4th theme to the next level by only using red, white and blue balloons.

One small touch that will leave a lasting impression is supplying everyone with sparklers. It makes it feel more like the Fourth of July and less of just a summer cookout. You can find them for cheap at your local dollar store.

Holiday Themed Food

If you really want to impress your guests and have the time and money to make some food items, offer red, white and blue appetizers and desserts! You could bake a white cake/pound cake/angel food cake and top it with white icing, blueberries and strawberries.FOURTH-OF-JULY-DESSERTS-large300 (I know you’ve seen this on the cover of food magazines around this time of year.) For an appetizer you could serve blue corn chips with salsa and shredded white cheddar cheese. Or, if you’re just not really into the themed food items, you can stick with the basic beers, burgers and hotdogs. Either way, I’m sure your hungry guests will be happy.

If you want to have lots of food options but can’t afford to spend that much on food, go pot-luck! Ask each of your guests to bring one food item. If you want variety though, be sure to have your guests check in with you before hand to ensure that too many people don’t bring the same item, and encourages people to look forward to bringing their favorite dish. This can quickly turn a party into an annual event!

Check Your Local Listings

If you would rather go out to celebrate the Fourth but just aren’t sure what your options are, check your local listings. Most newspapers, or these days news websites, will have a list of free activities you and your family can do. Most cities and towns throw their own local celebrations and typically end the night with a small fireworks display.

fireworks

If you are in Raleigh and have the day off ABC11 is presenting “The Works; Fourth of July on Fayetteville Street” and it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun. There’s going to be street vendors, kids games and rides and all sorts of other fun things. Check out the website for more information.