Last week, I had 6 kids under the age of 3 over for a pre-Trick or Treat brunch.
In related news, I was asleep by 8:30pm that night. Parents- hats off to you.
Really and truly though, it was one of the most fun afternoons I have had in ages. The kiddos showed up in their costumes and were just so cute and excitable about…everything. About waffles. About jack-o-lantern cookies. About the pumpkin decorations. And about bubbles.
Oh man, the bubbles.
I put some in the buckets I got the kids with Halloween goodies and thank goodness because kids.love.bubbles. With the temperature in the 60s, we were able to play on the back porch and it provided a solid hour of entertainment. I know this is not news to parents but I was blown away.
In addition to spending time with friends and having fun with the littles, it was the first party we have had here that I feel flowed well. We entertain frequently but the food-greeting-drinks-entertainment-chatting aspect of things was just on with this party. Here are some tips about hosting I have picked up along the way:
Unless it’s a seated dinner party, choose a menu that is prepared ahead of time. If guests are settling in for an evening, still being in the kitchen stirring risotto or basting the Thanksgiving turkey is fine but messing with cooking when you’re having a casual, fun, mingle party is a huge pain. Playing to the toddler set and parents who might not want to eat candy all day, we did Belgian waffles and egg casseroles. I had the buffet filled with cider, orange juice, waters and options for a Bloody Mary (I figured a cocktail might be appreciated by parents about to hit the streets with hundreds of kids on candy highs). I also had fresh cooked apples and a strawberry sauce with maple syrup for waffle toppings. We opened the door and everything was ready for when people wanted to dig in. So much more relaxing and enjoyable.
Also ahead of time: put dishes out. “Where is that plate? What bowl should I use? We’re out of forks!” is pretty standard for when we have people over. On Sunday I laid out the serve ware and utensils first thing in the morning where I thought they were needed and actually took time think about it. Thus I was able to run to the store when I realized I actually didn’t buy paper plates (kids = paper plates in my book) and when food was ready, it had a place to go.
Give new guests a tour. I always forget who has been to our house and who hasn’t so it’s Ryan who takes this on and he is so good about making sure everyone knows where the bathrooms are and how to get around. I think it really contribute to making people feel comfortable being in our home.
Speaking of comfortable, ask if anyone needs anything. My friend Kate is a wonderful host. She and her husband are always refilling glasses before you even knew you were low and asking what you need. It’s not about being waited on but asking people what they need really communicates that “mi casa es su casa” and to help yourself to what you want. Pass the Malbec, please.
Spilling/Dirt/Etc Doesn’t Matter: There is nothing in your house that can’t be cleaned up or is that irreplaceable; if it is, put it in a closet or don’t have guests over. Nothing is worth stressing yourself or your guests over. Relax and have fun- that’s why you’re doing this!
Bubbles. I will never not have bubbles on hand ever again. I am not sure kids love anything more than bubbles.
(photo credit: KateGivesThanks)