Winter can feel like the longest season. With shorter days and colder temps, the winter blues can sink in fast. But don’t write off the possibility of hosting an outdoor party – even in the coldest months. With smart planning and a little creativity, you can still host a fun (and safe) gathering outside.
Read on for must-know outdoor hosting tips – and some fun ideas for your menu, atmosphere and more.
Create a Cozy Atmosphere
Light up your gathering space. Electric lanterns or candles placed on tables and strings of hanging lights can create a rustic, homey glow. But before you grab a box of lights and your extension cords, make sure you check out our related post: 7 Safety Tips for Hanging Holiday Lights. (Even if it’s after the holiday season the same rules apply!)
Offer seasonal (and easy-to-serve) fare. From cinnamon and pumpkin to cranberries and ginger, fall and winter offer a delicious flavor palette. Plan your menu around seasonal food staples. Make a giant batch of chili and offer an assortment of toppings. Host a dessert-only fête with cinnamon rolls, pumpkin rolls, pies, fudge, cake and more. But hosting an outdoor gathering can be a lot more work than an inside event. So if you’re planning on being outside for the duration of your get together, choose items that are easier to prepare and serve. And remember ‒ there’s no shame in serving store-made items!
Have a warm beverage bar ‒ and designate one person to be your bartender. Use thermal carafes for hot water to make hot chocolate (using single-serve packets), warm cider, coffee or a favorite adult beverage. (Hot toddy, anyone?) Use single-use cups (bonus points if they’re recyclable) and have guests write their names on them so nobody accidentally picks up the wrong one. If you’re not comfortable serving, ask your guests to bring their own favorite hot beverage along with copies of the recipe that they can share with everyone.
Keep Your Guests Warm
Set up outdoor patio heaters. Keep the chilly air at bay by renting ‒ or buying ‒ outdoor patio heaters. These units are specifically designed to radiate heat outward, where people are gathered. That means you can benefit from the heater’s warmth, without being huddled around it. Read our related blog on What to Know About Outdoor Patio Heaters to get the full scoop on how patio heaters work, ideal places for setting them up and how to use them safely.
Build an outdoor fire. One of the more quintessential sounds of a chilly evening is the sound of wood crackling and the smoky scent of an outdoor fire. It’s a great way to add a festive glow to your soiree while keeping visitors toasty warm. From store-bought to homemade, you have a lot of options – but safety should always be your number one priority. Check out Warm Up Cool Nights with Outdoor Fires for tips on getting started and ways you can keep your outdoor fire safe and under control.
Have extra blankets on hand. Help your friends and family ward off the chill by having a stack of blankets on hand. You can encourage them to bring their own, as well, but it’s nice to have extras should someone forget ‒ or want to use another one.
Outdoor Winter Game and Activity Ideas
Host a backyard game tournament. Cornhole or ladder golf, anyone? Enjoy a little friendly competition with your guests where both kids and adults can get in on the action.
Plan a scavenger hunt. You can set up brackets and offer a grand prize to the winners.
Some kind of media player, whether it’s a DVD player, computer or laptop. Some projectors even offer inputs for streaming sticks (just make sure your Wi-Fi reaches to where you’re planning to set up outside).
An extra speaker or two
An extension cord or power strip
Arrange some chairs and blankets outside, and have guests nestle down with movie-themed snacks and beverages. You could even rent a popcorn machine and have cups or bowls filled and ready to go when guests arrive.
Homeowners Insurance That’s Designed for Living
Your home Is built for real life ‒ and the people you welcome into it. Steady as a rock-solid foundation, homeowners insurance from ERIE is practical, reliable and secure. To learn how we can help protect your home with homeowners insurance, contact us today.
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The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of July 2022 and may be changed at any time.
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