These tips will help you plan a fun and festive party where everyone will feel welcome.
Plan ahead, it's attention to detail that makes the difference. Allow plenty of time to prepare for your party, make a list and shop smart. Things are hectic when party-time approaches so try to stay organized.
Food for Adults:
Choose finger foods that complement each other. Try setting a theme for the food in each room or on each table. Allow 4 to 6 hot hors d'oeurves per person. Don't serve gooey, drippy sauces near expensive rugs or furniture. Keep some carpet cleaner on hand, just in case.
Food for Kids:
Here is a list of fun and easy party foods that are a hit with just about all kids:
- snack mix
- carrots (baby) with ranch dressing
- cheese - cheese cubes and especially string cheese
- chow mein noodles
- cinnamon buns
- crescent rolls - jam, cheese, chocolate in side for special treat
- finger sandwiches (make sandwich with peanut butter or cheese spreads, trim crusts and cut into 4 squares or triangles)
- fortune cookies
- floats - ice-cream with root beer, cola or orange soda (buy straws)
- french fries
- fruit - grapes, strawberries, kabobs, raisins
- fruit leathers/roll-ups
- goldfish crackers
- green beans
- hummus (garbanzo bean dip) with pita bread
- ice-cream - cones, sundaes (syrup, whip cream, cherries, sprinkles, candy pieces) - buy little prepackaged ice-cream cups or ice-cream bars or sandwiches if you want to avoid the mess of scooping out ice-cream
- juice - freeze bright juice in ice cube trays and serve with clear soda or juice. If you're concerned about spills, buy light colored drinks (apple juice or lemon lime soda. Fill cups half full for younger children.
- macaroni & cheese
- pasta - spaghetti and other fun shaped pastas (bow ties, bunnies, etc.) - caution some kids don't like tomato sauce, so have butter and cheese as an option
- pizza - pita, English muffin, if ordering from pizza parlor, order largest size you can use (best value) and ask them to cut it "party style" (small diamonds or squares) to avoid slices that are too big and hard to handle
- popcorn - Jiffy Pop is especially fun or a topping buffet with taco seasoning, Parmesan cheese, Italian herbs, and cinnamon sugar
- potatoes - baked, mashed
- pretzels - home baked
- sandwiches - open face, peanut butter, cream cheese, shaped, rolled
- sherbet - some kids just love this stuff, especially the rainbow kind, make float with clear soda
- tater tots
*(ideas from: www.kidspartyfun.com
Party Invitation Ideas
Feel free to use the graphics listed under invitations (make this a link) to create printed or online invitations for your guests. Tell your guests when the party starts and when it will end. Specify the hour in advance to avoid confusion.
If your guests are expected to bring their own drinks, let them know in the invitation. Don't forget to have lots of ice. You can never have too much ice at a party.
Create a festive party atmosphere with decorations, scents and music. Use scented candles or simmer a pot of water with cinnamon and citrus fruit to fill the house with a nice aroma. Choose your favorite music and have it playing softly in the background when guests arrive. Consider unplugging or removing your television if it's located in the party area. Nothing spoils the interaction of guests quicker than a group of people huddled around a television set. Plus, you're here to play games!
Creative lighting will contribute much to the atmosphere. Try replacing some bulbs with colored lamps or low wattage bulbs. Strobe lights and black lamps can add to the fun.
Music is an important element of most parties. If pre-recorded music is to be used, consider the musical preferences of your guests. Have a variety of music available. Put your depressing music selections away, keep the music upbeat and "mass appeal" for best results. Music helps set mood, so use with discretion. When you start playing games, turn the music to an extremely low volume or off altogether. It can be very distracting for people to be playing games with music in the background. Ask them what they would prefer.
Try to make provisions for parking in advance. If you will be allowing guests to park on the lawn or in the back yard, let them know in your invitation. Ask your neighbors about parking options or warn them that guests will be parking on the street.
Arrange seating so that players are seated in a circle around a coffee table or a table. You don't really need a table to play "You're Pulling My Leg!" but you will need a flat surface for the other games.
A scented candle in the bathroom is a nice touch. Leave an extra roll of toilet tissue in easy view.
Accidents and Spills
Accidents are part of life. Don't let an accident or spill ruin the party. Have some spot remover on hand just in case. You may want to remove extremely valuable items and/or furnishings. Move that rare Persian carpet to a safe place until the party is over.
It's always a good idea to bring a small gift to a party even if the host or hostess instructs you not to in the invitation. Bring along a beverage, some flowers, or chocolates to show your appreciation.
Coffee & Party Snacks
You can never have too much food at a party. Be sure to have plenty of hot coffee and snacks on hand for late in the evening.
Now that the work is done, relax! Let your guests enjoy themselves. With the proper ingredients in place everyone should have a great time. With good food, good cheer, good games and good friends you can't miss! Party hearty and have fun. Make room for guests who have had too much to eat or drink. Don't let a guest who over drinks drive, it could save a life and it could save YOU from a lawsuit. As the host, you are responsible for the safety of your guests.
Enjoy your party!