We all have one in our lives. She might be your neighbor, your sister, your best friend, the Mom in the carpool line, or your colleague at work. She’s the crafty one that spends hours making homemade chocolate bats for the kindergarten treat bags or the one that manages to find time (and has the talent) to craft handmade centerpieces. We admire her, as she pours us a cup of homemade cider made from the apple trees in her backyard, but we also feel guilty. The cupcakes we brought to the party? They’re from the grocery store. The jack-o-lantern on the front porch? It came pre-painted. Before the guilt bubbles up, remember that the holidays aren’t about the perfect cards or freshly baked treats. They are about having fun – and not just for the guests – for you, too!
Sarah on “Embracing Imperfection”
“I work full time and race around trying to get it all done, so when the holidays come, I feel overwhelmed by all of the things I should be doing. You know those movies where the kids are in the backseat asking “are we having fun yet?” That’s me at the holidays. So, last year I made a decision to throw together an impromptu Halloween party. It was potluck and all of the neighbors came. It was fantastic. Because it was last minute, nobody expected anything over-the-top and everyone was happy to get together for an hour or so before the trick-or-treating. It was the first time I had a great time at my own party and I learned that it’s not about what you’re serving or how you decorated, but who is there.”
Alicia on “Guilt-Free Holidays”
“I love Halloween. There are no turkeys to cook, no trees to trim – no expectations (other than a stomach ache from all of the candy). As someone who loves to entertain but hates to cook, Halloween is tailor made for me. So, I make it my holiday when I invite everyone over. Halloween is all about dessert – which I love anyway – so it’s a perfect way for me to entertain without feeling like I should have made the gravy, baked the bread, or whipped the mashed potatoes.”
Here are three low-cost and low-skill ways to throw a fun Halloween party:
1. Use the 80/20 Rule
We love this rule and use it often. If you’re not familiar with it, it boils down to picking the most important things and forgetting the rest. Whether you apply it to decorations, treats or party favors, employ it when planning your party. What are the two or three things that you can do to make your Halloween gathering fun? Focus on those tasks.
2. Welcome Help
Never say “nothing” when somebody asks you what they can bring. Most people want to feel like they are contributing, so pick something ahead of time for each person to bring. Decide what you will make and then divvy up the rest among your guests. It’s a fun way to get them involved and share recipes while also ensuring that you’re not slaving in the kitchen the whole time.
3. The Bill, and the Party, Don’t Have to be Scary
It’s easy to run up a huge bill decorating the house or buying up every ingredient for ten different side dishes – don’t. Plan ahead and use what you already have. Make it more old-fashioned and opt for spooky, instead of scary. Throw some spaghetti in a pot to look like worms or put grapes in a bowl to look like eyeballs. The kids will love it (and they won’t be running away) and the adults will appreciate the old-time cheer.