Well it’s official – summer is over and the days are slowly getting shorter, but have no fear. Despite the change in seasons, there’s still time to enjoy the weather just a little bit longer. So before it gets chilly and the Indian summer passes you by, take some time out of your life, invite some friends over and have an afternoon backyard fete that transitions into early evening. Using just a couple of these tips and tricks, we’re sure they’ll help make your party one for the memory books.
Think Space and Seating
Having an outdoor party doesn’t necessarily mean your guests have to sit around a table or stand in one place. In fact, that can be a little boring. Try setting up different areas for people to sit (or stand) and enjoy the company of others. Designate one place using patio chair cushions, blankets or towels, and another place maybe using folding chairs. Having different seating spots for people to chill out at can make your backyard look larger, and the high and low seating provides a nice visual breakup.
Have a Kids’ Zone with a Chaperone
In many cases – unless specified on the invite – there’s a good chance your friends who have children will bring them along. Thinking ahead, look into setting up a “kids’ zone” in a shady spot in the grass, under a tree, or create a makeshift DIY makeshift. Having a designated place for kids is a great way to keep the little ones occupied, while the parents have a chance to socialize with friends. You might also want to consider hiring one or two high school kids from your group of friends, or the neighborhood, to be stationed at the kids’ zone to ensure that the kiddos are okay. Sure, some guests might not be comfortable leaving their baby with a stranger, but they will likely feel fine asking this available teen to run into the house to heat up a bottle with specific instructions, or hang out and play games with some of the older children. The more eyes on your kids the better. And let’s face it, parents need a break too, right?
Where’s the Fire?
When you think about a fall party, some might picture using a fire pit or grill, but given the record setting, scorching temperatures, you might want to think again. With the warm weather, skip making s’mores over a fire and skip cooking on the grill. Instead, serve pre-cooked items that can be kept warm in the oven, and far away from the guests. Try using the oven to make BBQ, baked chicken or warm up sausages with a variety of spicy and sweet dipping mustards.
Too Many Twinkle Lights Never Hurt Anybody
If you don’t have a fire pit, or if it’s still too warm at night to start a flame, try using twinkle lights to add some mood lighting. Twinkle lights are an easy, inexpensive and effective way to bring a little more beauty to the nighttime sky. Just make sure you have easy access to outlets to plug the lights in. More than likely, you don’t have to go to the store to buy these lights, as they’re probably somewhere in a Christmas decoration box in your house. Just pull out your tree lights and place them wherever you can – across tables, in and around trees, weaved through fences, around chair legs and tables. If you really want add some flare, hang a few paper lanterns from the string of lights or from a few trees in the backyard. If you run out of your own lights, just ask a few friends if they could come over a little earlier, bring some extra lights and help out with the decorating.
– Guest Contributor, CR