By Kathryn D'Imperio
Barbeque / Cookout Party
Quite possibly one of the easiest all-purpose party themes around, this one is a classic event that friends and family love to come back for year after year. Buy plenty of hotdogs, hamburgers, buns, ketchup, mustard, pickles, relish, cheese and paper plates and napkins. Make some fresh lemonade and iced tea and grab a couple of cases of beer. If you have a pool, make sure your guests remember their swimsuits and towels… and warn the birthday boy or girl that he or she just might get dunked!
Guest Bartender Night
Everyone brings a bottle of his or her favorite or newly discovered liquor and a mixer: soda, juice, tonic water, etc. The host or hostess should set up a bar area as accurately as possible if the home does not have a bar set-up already. Be sure to have lots of ice and clean glassware on hand. Depending on your budget, you can get really cute themed glassware and plastic tumblers to liven up the party!
Allow the guests to take turns behind the bar, each creating one special “signature drink” for the other guests at the party. At the end of the night, hold a vote for everyone’s favorite drink and present the winner with a prize! (You can pre-purchase a special prize, give a bottle of unopened liquor, or collect a dollar from everyone prior to the contest).
Be sure to treat the guest of honor with a toast from the guest bartender after all guests have received the signature drink. Of course presents and cards will be accepted and stowed away for opening at a later time!
Have all guests bring a different main course, side dish or dessert and enjoy! This type of party can work especially well for those on a low budget because all of the guests will be contributing to the cause.
Another great quality of this party type is that picnicking and outdoor parties thrive with potluck parties due to the abundance of food already contained in separate dishes - all you need is a picnic table or two to line up the food!
If, after the arrival of all your guests, you end up with three dishes of lasagna and two baked hams, you know for next time that you should consider “assigning” recommended dishes!