Entertaining the right way

Crab boil

By Katelyn Doggett

Even though back-to-school season has begun and the weather has started to cool down, fall doesn’t officially begin until September 23. Continue the summer fun a bit longer by hosting a get together for your friends and family with these easy tips on how to decorate, what to eat and how to entertain.

All of the items mentioned can be purchased at local grocery stores or Ace Hardware, and many may already be found around your house. Follow these tips for a fun way to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall.

Set the atmosphere

Take advantage of the last days of summer weather and set up a place outside on your deck, patio or yard. Provide seating with lots of cushions for friends and family to relax and enjoy one another’s company. Make use of any old, colorful wrapping paper or wallpaper by using it as a makeshift table topper. Set up an umbrella for shade, and add a bouquet of flowers or plants to the table for an effortless, put-together touch.

In the evening, create a glowing atmosphere by hanging outdoor string lights available for around $15. If you don’t want to buy something new, use an old strand of Christmas lights. Set up a few candles for a flickering glow, or battery-operated candles for a flameless alternative.

Plan the food and drinks

Freeze berries, lemon slices or mint leaves in ice cubes to add to water, add fruit to a pitcher of lemonade or, for adults, create a sangria out of your favorite wine, fresh fruit and club soda – find sangria recipes online.

Keep the food simple, so you don’t have to spend too much time cooking. Opt for something light like a salad full of mixed greens, fresh vegetables or berries and your favorite dressing. Go the classic route and grill hamburgers and hot dogs, set up a make-your-own sandwich bar or, if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try a more involved recipe such as the crab boil recipe on the next page.

Entertainment

Guests may want to relax and chitchat, but having entertainment planned doesn’t hurt. Create a playlist of background music that is longer than you plan to hold the party so music doesn’t repeat. A mix of new and old upbeat songs is perfect, but play it quietly so it doesn’t overpower conversations.

Set up yard games such as croquet or bocce ball that guests can play at their leisure, or gather your playing cards or board games for a wider selection. Provide bubbles and drawing supplies for kids.

If you’re worried about conversation dying down, have each guest write a topic on a piece of paper and put the papers in a bowl. Take turns choosing a topic, and let the conversation and laughs flow.

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