I have confidence that everyone has the ability to throw together a party with ease. Where we live in Northern California, there is abundance of local breweries, bakeries, fresh produce from local farms and even a world renowned cheese company – we know how to feed people and I’m sure you do too.
If you don’t feel confident, let us assure you that you are doing everything right! Here are our tips and tricks for entertaining on the fly.
KEEP YOUR STOCKS UP
Whether it be dried pasta, bacon or pancetta, frozen dips like hummus, guacamole or salsa, crackers, olives, nuts and cheese, make sure your pantry gets refilled. The bacon can wrap, and instantly change into an appetizer, just about any food item: Bacon wrapped figs, asparagus, mushrooms etc. – it’s delicious and almost everyone loves bacon.
We also like to pick up the super sale entertainment dishware and festive party items (stir sticks, paper straws, napkins) that we see at places like Target so we have them when we need them. This is when it’s quite alright to hoard a little bit!
CLEAN YOUR HOUSE
Sorry to say this because we know how much of a pain this can be: But a clean home will make you feel more comfortable and it’s more inviting than any decoration. Don’t worry about streamers or the perfect centerpiece until your home has been neatened up a bit.
Upon a tidy transformation, grab a fresh bouquet from your nearest grocery store, or even better gather some from your garden or neighborhood (with permission of course!) for that natural element. If the bouquet is good, you won’t need any other décor.
LIGHT IT DOWN
Dim the lights, stream some outdoor bulbs or light a few scentless candles. But it makes your space feel cozy and welcoming. Plus who doesn’t look fabulous in some dramatic candlelight?
MIX AND MATCH
Do not worry about having a matching set of dishware or utensils, no one cares about that. Plus, we like the eclectic feeling of assorted bowls, cups, plates and platters. It feels warm and inviting. Perhaps it’s knowing that if you accidental drop that plate, no one is going to fret about losing one of their matching plates that is out of stock.
If your confident with your home tidiness, get creative with what’s around you home for decoration. We mentioned recycling old glass bottles or using an empty frame for a seasonal quote or saying. But, you can also use a wood plank as a trivet, unused mason jars or flower pots as candle holders and overflowing produce as a pretty table centerpiece. Move and groove with what you have and have fun with the experiment of mixing and matching.
When in doubt, feed them. If the food is out and looks aplenty, people will understand that they are welcome to stay awhile. It’s an instant welcome sign.
So pull out the wares that you have in your pantry: nuts, fruit, olives, cheese, bacon wrapped something’s and dress them up on some platters. Toss bits of chocolate and herbs to fill up the plate.
Then turn to your cupboard one last time to think of a large, one-pot stew or soup you could make to feed a lot of people. If its summer a warm stew won’t do of course, but some grilled vegetables and meat would do the same thing. However it’s Fall now and the nights are getting chilly, toss together a stew pulling from every tier of the food pyramid, and you’ll satisfy the group. Have a lot of vegetarian friends? Go for beans and lentils. Have a lot of vegan friends? Take out the thickening dairy and egg agents and make this. But a stew satisfies.
Put the pot on the table with assorted, mismatched cups and bowls, spoons and some crackers or bread. No one will walk away from a steaming pot of soup.
This is the final piece to the puzzle. It’s not essential, especially if the conversation is flowing. But it makes for a unique party.
Think about activities to keep your guests flowing from one room to the other, or how to use activities to designate guest-friendly appropriate areas. (We completely shut the doors to the rooms that are not ready for the eyes of guests.)
Halloween Party Links:
17 Treats & Drinks for Your Halloween - for all your last minute shopping needs
Pumpkin Party Cooler - it'll keep your drinks cold and provide a cool centerpiece
DIY Typography Pumpkins - Family name, street number, this can be a really cool addition to your party.
Spooky Ghost Tablecloth - scare your guests as they reach over the table for their snacks.