Archive for October 26th, 2010

If you aren’t into spooks and ghouls or bats and vampires, you can still host a fun, seasonal Harvest Themed Party. 

Incorporate the elements of the season, think outside the box and be prepared to have a really great celebration.

Start with your invitations. You could do something fun like a making a simple scarecrow face. Cut a heavy piece of tan or yellow construction paper into a square. Turn the square so a corner is pointing toward you and one away from you.  Glue two wooden buttons or two pieces of candy corn near the middle for eyes and a gumdrop for a nose. Glue a piece of orange string in a smile for a mouth and then “stitch” over it with a black marker. Stitch around the edges of the square with the marker and add a little raffia bow at the top. On the back, glue your invitation. If you are creative with clip art, you could also create invitations that featured corn stalks, pumpkins, baskets of apples, or a harvest moon.
Decorations could include piles of pumpkins. Think about what you have on hand you could dress up. Right now I’ve got miniature pumpkins surrounding the little cement bunny that stands guard at my front door. An old wheelbarrow, a child’s wagon, even an empty birdbath can be fun containers for pumpkins. If you are going to put candles in pumpkins, I highly recommend the battery-operated variety. You don’t have to worry about fire issues that way. For something a bit off the beaten bath, take leaf shaped cookie cutters, pound them into the pumpkin with a rubber mallet, pull out with needle nose pliers and get ready for the compliments to roll in once you drop in a candle and illuminate your handiwork. 

If you are doing a more formal plated dinner, you have to try this great idea for placecards. Write names of guests on mini pumpkins then using a small knife, follow the outline of the name and peel away the rind without cutting all the way through the pumpkin. Place a votive inside each one. What a fun way to let guests know the seating arrangement. You could also do this with words like “Welcome,” “Harvest,” “Bountiful,” and “Autumn” and place throughout your buffet.

You could also use baskets of apples. There is absolutely nothing on the planet that says fall to me like a wooden basket filled with shiny red apples. Use little baskets to display apples throughout your entertaining area. 

Gather stalks of corn and have them stand sentinel by your front door. If you are going to be entertaining outdoors with a bonfire or some other fun activity, be sure to include decorations outside. Straw bales, especially when draped with a thick blanket, make perfect seating for outdoor events. Stack them up and cover with a colorful cloth if you need extra serving space.

Sprinkle fall leaves along your buffet table. You can even tuck a pretty leaf or two into the frame of a mirror or picture.

Bonus decorating tip – nuts and pinecones are your friends! Remember nuts and pinecones can be trailed along tables, nestled in bowls, poured into jars and stacked in boxes or baskets to create great fall accents. If you’ve got nothing else, at least have a basket of nuts and pinecones! 

Let the kids make a scarecrow and set him by the front door or somewhere sure to be noticed.

Do include a few candles in safe and strategic places throughout your home that carry through the scent of fall like pumpkin, apple, maple or spice.

For a simple menu, think about making a big casserole. They are warm, filling, easy to serve and easy to eat. It doesn’t have to be fancy, anything hearty and warm will do like a Cheeseburger Pie, Rigatoni Bake, or even Enchiladas. Serve with warm cornbread, a green salad with chopped apples and toasted nuts, warm apple cider and  bar cookies for dessert. You can also prepare take- with-you treats like caramel apples or this super-simple snack.

Fabulous Fall Munch
1 pound spiced gum drops
1 pound candy corn
1 pound pretzel sticks
3 cups goldfish crackers
1 16-ounce can salted peanuts
Mix together and serve in waffle cones. Kids will love being able to play and munch at the same time!

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