How to Host a Cozy Outdoor Party?

It’s a great idea to take advantage of your outdoor space before the weather changes again. Fall is really the ideal time to throw an outdoor party - here are some tips to make the most of your space and keep your guests comfortable!

Stay Warm - With A Backyard Fire Pit

The most essential item for an outdoor Fall party is absolutely a fire pit. It serves multiple purposes including keeping guests warm, letting the party go a little later into the evening, keeping bugs away and being a great way to roast some fall snacks like s'mores.

Grab Comfy Seats!

Comfortable seating is a must for your outdoor Fall gathering. There’s no doubt that guests will want to sit around your firepit - so keep that in mind when making your selections. Sectionals, outdoor sofas and ottomans are a great upgrade to traditional backyard chairs and add an extra level of comfort to your outdoor area - be sure to protect these items with covers when not in use because there’s nothing worse than a wet seat on a cool Fall day!

Outdoor Lighting

More lighting means being able to continue the party later into the Fall evening. I personally love Edison style string lighting but there are many options! If you’re a DIYer, there are lots of great ways to make your own outdoor lighting using simple items that you probably already have on hand like small candles and mason jars. Handmade lighting brings an extra element of charm to your outdoor event.

Fall Snacks and Drinks

You can’t have a party without snacks and drinks. It’s a great idea to have a nice hot drink on hand to warm up your guests. Hot toddys, warm apple cider, or hot chocolate are all great options, depending on your guests. Be sure to have special additions on hand for your drinks like marshmallows, cinnamon, nutmeg, or chocolate chips. There are also a lot of variety of Fall themed brews that are sure to be a hit.

When it comes to food there are a variety of options depending on the type of gathering you are having - Roasted butternut squash is always a crowd-pleaser. Cider braised chicken, brussel sprouts, and apples is a great one-pot meal that can feed a crowd and really covers a lot of delicious fall flavors all at once. For dessert, everyone loves apple or pumpkin pie but something more fun and hands-on like s’mores works great too - especially if there are kids at your gathering!

Since it’s likely to be cool outside, this is a great time to break out the crockpot and keep food nice and hot for guests - a chili made with lots of Fall vegetables and spices or butternut squash soup are two great and simple options.

Seasonal Decor

Spice things up with some seasonal decor! Start things off right with a Fall themed wreath at your front door. Hay bales and crates( which can serve as extra seating around the firepit), pumpkins and vases filled with fresh fall flowers - like Sunflowers, New England Asters, Goldenrods, or Heleniums are all simple and inexpensive additions that will really take your party up a notch.

For an extra dose of Fall, cut the top off of a pumpkin and scoop out the insides as you would if carving a Jack- o -Lantern and use to display your fresh flowers! Something as simple as a bowl of fresh apples, mini pumpkins, or squash can make a great Fall centerpiece and as an added bonus - these items can be used again afterward.

It’s also a great idea to keep some warm Fall colored blankets out for guests to use to stay warm or to use as covers for hay bale seating.

Fall Scents

You can make your house smell great without using Fall scented candles ( although those are great too)! The easiest way to do this is a stovetop simmer pot with water, and a variety of fruit and spices. Suggested items are cinnamon sticks, orange rinds, nutmeg, cranberries, apple peels, ginger root, and whole cloves.

Heat the items in a standard pot filled with about 2 quarts of water and turn down to a simmer. You can also save the items afterward by adding a dash of lemon and pouring into a mason jar. These can be reused for about five days.

The smell will permeate your whole house in a way that a candle could not - and it will linger for days.

Games

Games are great for both kid-friendly and adult parties. A pumpkin hunt where you hide mini pumpkins around the yard ( like you would for an Easter egg hunt) works great for kids, while a pumpkin carving contest where guests bring a pumpkin and you provide carving tools can be great for a group of adults. Traditional backyard games like cornhole and horseshoes are both inexpensive, easy to store, and lots of fun for all ages.

For a 21+ casual crowd, a game of apple cider ( or seasonal beers) pong with a Halloween themed spooky ping pong ball can be a lot of fun!

Invitations

Don’t forget your Fall themed invitations! This is where you can let guests know what to expect at your party and if they should bring anything - like a pumpkin for a carving contest. It’s also a good idea to let your guests know if you plan to be primarily outdoors, so they can dress accordingly for the weather.