Set a festive mood for your holiday dinner by offering a toast to the wonderful family and friends who have gathered at your Thanksgiving table. At the same time, tantalize them with delectable canapés to whet their appetite before the feast begins.

A Toast to the Holidays

Poinsettia Cocktail

This classic orange-and-cranberry flavored cocktail has a pretty rose-tinged tint that adds a beautiful blush of color to your dinner table.  Light, crisp, and fizzy, this holiday drink packs a lot of fruity flavor. Quick and easy to prepare, this cocktail is mixed directly in the drinking glass and doesn’t require precise measurements.

Poinsettia cocktails on dinner table

Poinsettia for cocktails and for holiday decor

Although recipe variations abound, this classic Poinsettia formula by TheKitchn begins by pouring two ounces of chilled cranberry juice and half an ounce of Cointreau in a champagne flute.  Top up with champagne or sparkling white wine, and garnish with a twist of orange and a fresh cranberry.

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If your family and guests are tired of the same old Thanksgiving fare, it’s time to spice things up. Tickle their taste buds by accompanying your traditional turkey with a variety of classic side dishes jazzed up with exciting, new flavors. Try these simple and easy recipes to give your holiday feast a delicious modern twist.

Butternut Squash and Cider Soup

A hot bowl of hearty soup is a great way to whet your dinner guests’ appetites. This Butternut Squash and Cider soup is rich and creamy, and has a wonderful layer of zesty apple flavor. The mild curry powder adds a touch of spiciness that’s perfect for cold weather months.

White bowl of butternut squash soup with parsley garnish
Apples and curry make for a delicious butternut squash and cider soup

The recipe specifies that you use sweet McIntosh or Delicious apples, but feel free to substitute them with Honey Crisp or Granny Smith apples if you prefer a little tartness. Make sure to use plain apple cider and not the spiced variety to get that pure apple taste. Serve this soup with pumpernickel croutons to add a bit of crunch and a sprinkling of chives for color.

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Hosting a ladies-only Halloween bash? Read on as Treetopia shows you some wickedly smart tips for ensuring your party is a monster hit!

Pick a Theme for Easier Party Planning

Choosing a specific theme will not only make your ladies-only Halloween bash more cohesive, it will also cut the planning time in half. A theme gives you a nice start-up and direction, making the whole process so much simpler. If you like to have a party with some serious scare, why not center your ideas on scary female villains from books and movies? If you want a more historical approach to your party, ask friends to dress up as famous women throughout history. You can also host an Oscars-style gala if you prefer to party in Hollywood fashion.

house decorated with cobwebs and other Halloween decor Traditional Exterior by Atlanta Media & Bloggers Between Naps on the Porch

Don’t Do Everything Alone

Passing some responsibilities and tasks to your friends can relieve you from a huge amount of stress. Make a list of all the tasks that need to be done, and get things running smoothly by asking the help of reliable and capable people. Meet with your girl friends to talk about food, entertainment, and everything else on your list. Plan the menu as a group, and check if anyone has any special food preferences for their diet. Discuss who brings what if it’s going to be a potluck party. Other tasks to consider delegating are decorations, music that fits the theme, and the after party clean-up.

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After an evening of spooky ghosts and apparitions, you’ll surely want to relax in the company of other spirits. These creepy concoctions are simple to make and are perfect for livening up your haunted house party this Halloween. So, gather up your cauldron, some bat wings, and eye of newt, and brew these bewitching beverages.

Brain Hemorrhage

Shot glass filled with an alcohol mixture that looks like brain matter
Be inspired by a Brain Hemorrhage

Do you have the guts to gulp down this spine-shivering shooter? Designed to bring out the evil mad scientist in you, this delightfully gory glass of brain matter-like mass tastes just like peaches and cream.

Mix up your own Brain Hemorrhage by first filling a standard shot glass about halfway with peach schnapps. Next, carefully pour in a layer of Bailey’s Irish Cream and give it a few moments to settle. Finally, add a few drops of grenadine syrup to complete the effect.

To make an eerie Alien Brain Hemorrhage, slowly pour in a small amount of blue curacao before adding the grenadine syrup.

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Gathering your friends every now and then for a night of fun can help you feel invigorated to take on busy days ahead. This weekend, get your friends all glammed up for a night of lovely concoctions and a fun-filled dance fest.

Here are some tips on how you can graciously host a stress-free cocktail party right in your own living room:

Make Plenty of Room for Your Guests

Arrange your living room furniture so that guests can move throughout the area easily. Push big couches and other bulky pieces against the walls to open up floor space, if necessary.

Gray couches on the side and a bigger floor area

Remove area rugs to make room for a dancing area. The rule of thumb is three square feet of dance floor per dancing guest, so tuck away any thing that might get in the way of dance moves.

Scatter a few podium bar tables where guests can gather around to encourage party movement and conversation. Setting up these mini tables also provides space for people to put down their drinks in case they want to dance or need to go to the powder room.

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If cold autumn days make you yearn for sunny beaches, fresh tropical fruit, and island music, then turn your next party into a summer getaway with a hot Hawaiian theme. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, graduation, or promotion, a luau brings the fun and excitement of the tropics to your gatherings. Here’s what you need to do for a fun luau party:

Decorate your space

Embrace tropical kitsch, and place pink flamingoes and artificial palm trees outside your door to greet party-goers. Extend a warm welcome to your guests with a paper, plastic, or silk Hawaiian lei and a hearty “Aloha!”

Catalina breeze artificial palm trees

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It seems like only yesterday that we were sunbathing by the pool, grilling burgers at picnics, and vacationing at the beach. Now, it’s time to give summer the awesome send-off it deserves. Gather your friends and soak up some of the last bits of summer fun with a rocking party that will be remembered for many seasons to come. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Set the Scene

First, look for inspiration. Think about what summer means to you and use it as the back story for your décor.

Hawaiian-themed glasses

Photo from JasonLangheine via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Yearning for some sun-drenched tropical fun? Plant down some Tiki lights, prop up your old surfboard, and have guests dress up in sundresses and Hawaiian shirts for a luau-style bash.

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Barbecue on the grill and fireworks in the sky! Host an awesome party this 4th of July!

You’ve probably attended some awesome 4th of July celebrations that are just packed. Attending big Independence Day parties is great for meeting new people and celebrating without the fuss of preparing and cleaning up. However, if you don’t want to be surrounded by a big crowd this year but still want to celebrate with good food and good people, you can just host your own 4th of July party. Here’s how:

The American Flag

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Get a kick out of these tips and tricks for hosting an April Fool’s Day Party

Now is the chance to call out your inner child and host an all-out April Fool’s Day party for you and your prankster friends. Check out some of the things you could do to prepare for the ultimate fun and funny party this year!


Photo by Sean MacEntee via flickr. CC BY 2.0

 

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Whether you love Mardis Gras or simply enjoy colorful parties, Treetopia will show you how to plan a FUN-tastic Carnival party

You may have missed the festivities during this year’s Mardis Gras Parade but that doesn’t mean you have to wait another year to experience the glorious festive atmosphere that comes with it. Read on below for tips on how to organize your very own Mardis Gras, whether you’re planning for next year or you just want to host a carnival-themed party any time of the year.


photo by Vegan Feast Catering via flickr. CC BY 2.0

 

Food, Glorious Food!

Mardis Gras is not the English translation of “Fat Tuesday” for nothing. Since this day of celebration is held before Lent and fasting begin, it’s only natural to gorge on glorious food. So if you really want a carnival-inspired celebration, it is a must for your party to be filled (if not overflowing) with food. You can start off with a simple appetizer like this scrumptious shrimp canapé recipe from Leslie Styles’ blog. Caryn Ross also shares a couple of easy-to-make Mardis Gras recipes on her blog, Cooking with Caryn. Follow it up with three or four types of main dish until your guests reach the delicious moon pie dessert or traditional king cake. You don’t have to worry because there’s always room for dessert.


moon pie photo by steevithak via flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0 (left) and king cake photo by syvwlch via flickr. CC BY 2.0 (right)

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