As the days start getting shorter and colder, we start thinking about swapping our summer clothes for jeans and sweaters, and whether your football team will do well this year or not.
We also start thinking about the traditional fall festivities. As we say goodbye to summer and welcome the crisper, cooler air, it’s time to put our party hats on and celebrate in style.
If you’re thinking about throwing a fall party there’s a few things you need to consider:
Decide where you’re going to have the party. Is it going to be inside or outside? At your house or another venue? Will it be formal or informal? These first important decisions will have a bearing on everything you do during the rest of the planning process.
Pick a date that is going to give you plenty of time to organize the party so you’re not stressed right up until moments before people are due to arrive. Also make sure the date you choose gives everyone the best chance of turning up.
Get in the spirit of the event from the start by buying or making the invitations in the shape of a pumpkin or leaf, and send them out with plenty of time to spare. Make sure you include an RSVP date so you’ve got an idea of how many people are likely to attend well in advance of the day.
WHAT TO SERVE
There’s a couple of ways you can approach the issue of what food and drink to serve. If your event is informal, then perhaps you can ask guests to bring a plate of their favorite fall food. There will be a huge assortment of foods available for your guests to eat, and it will take time and financial pressure off so you can concentrate on other things.
If this isn’t your style, then there are some simple foods you can prepare to ensure everyone is well fed and satisfied.
Chili in a pumpkin is a classic dish you can make for your fall party. Cook your favorite chili, pour it into a hollowed out pumpkin and put it in the oven on 350 degrees for 90 minutes. Serve it straight out of the pumpkin!
Arancini balls with rice and melted cheese, small potpies cooked in a muffin tray, shredded pork or beef mini-sandwiches and a hot artichoke dip with some nice bread are always popular, hearty, bite-sized fall treats.
For dessert, there’s no better way to get into the festive fall spirit than with pumpkin cakes and apple pies. If these are on the food table your guests are going to go home very happy campers!
Either apple cider or some other variety of spiced cider is an absolute must have drink at any fall party. No other drink embodies chilly fall nights quite like cider. To really spice it up, don’t forget to add a little rum or other liquor for the adults in the room.
A fall punch is another drink alternative. Simply combine in-season fruits such as plums, with apple and cranberry juice, and some white wine.
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WHAT TO WEAR
There’s two ways you can go here, either standard casual party attire, or the stereotypical fall get up of cut-offs and boots. You could ask guests to wear clothes that would fit right in down at the Green Acres “hee-haw” hoedown.
Remember, it’s going to be a little chilly, so feel free to pair some jeans with a shirt and jacket for the men, or a blouse and jacket for the ladies. But don’t forget this is a party, so get into the spirit of things and bust out the sequins and jewelry and spice up your attire a bit.
Of course, ladies, if you want to wear a dress go right ahead, just make sure you add a nice scarf to keep warm, and a pair of closed-toe shoes would be smart.
HOW TO DECORATE
If your party is going to be outside, you should consider putting a fire pit in your driveway. This will ensure everyone is warm, while keeping people out of the house and in the fall atmosphere. Outdoor fire torches, pumpkin lanterns and a scattering of dried leaves will have the area looking like fall had completely taken over your patio or driveway.
For an inside fall party, make sure you decorate in the colors of the season. That means reds, yellows, oranges and browns should be at the top of your mind when choosing decorations. Decorate with flowers, plants and in-season vegetables, while a scattering of acorns and pinecones would be a nice touch on the food and drink tables.
To add the final touch to the fall-themed food and decorations, you could even fill the air with apple, cinnamon or some other seasonal scented candles. Your guests will arrive to not only a visual treat, but also a lovely fall fragrance as well.
AND DON’T FORGET…
If there’s one thing that brings the mood of a party down, it’s a tired, grumpy host. Your demeanor will become the talking point of the party when it should be what a wonderful event you’ve been able to create for your guests. So make sure you plan well, give yourself plenty of time to prepare, and you’re not running around finishing preparations as your guests are arriving.
This is your party too, so make sure you have a good night. If you have to leave the cleaning up until the following day, then so be it. Don’t stress over the details, simply celebrate the onset of fall with your friends and family in high spirits.