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How to Throw an Outdoor Party When the Temperature Drops

Just because temperatures are cooling down doesn’t mean you need to move the party indoors. Here’s how to throw a cozy outdoor soiree.

7 min read

Everyone loves a cozy evening gathered around the fireplace with friends. And outdoor parties in cooler weather can deliver the same charm. Want to keep the party outside, but aren’t sure how to do it? These fall and winter party ideas can help you create an enchanting event worth bundling up for.

Prepare your guests

You can’t spring an outdoor party on your guests at the last minute. Being a good host means thinking through your guests’ needs in advance, which in this case means allowing them time to plan and dress accordingly. Make sure that you clearly mention in your invitation that the event is outdoors. One way: Give your gathering a fun theme like “An Evening Under the Stars” or “Classic Cocktails in the Cold” so that it’s hard to miss. Plus, you’ll want to advise your guests how to dress for the occasion (layers, thick socks, etc). Lastly, include a short list of any items you might want them to bring, such as a flashlight, camp stool, or extra blankets.

Choose your setting

If you have outdoor space at home like a patio, terrace or backyard, planning will be easier because you won’t have to travel far with your party food, glassware, and accessories. If you don’t, mingling in a cul-de-sac or setting up at a nearby park with picnic tables or open barbecue grills works too—it’ll just require a bit more planning on your part.

Once you’ve chosen your location, dress the place up with string lights, or lanterns with candles. Festive napkins and a few small flower arrangements can also help create a special atmosphere.

Consider useful party favors

If you can swing it, provide a pair of gloves or a blanket for each guest. Another idea: Gift your guests a thermal mug, which can be labeled and used during the party to keep mulled wine or a coffee drink warm without being too hot to hold. It’ll also serve as a fun party favor for guests to remember the night.

Set up a food station

Create a home base for all the food and drinks you’ll be serving. Stand flatware up in utensil canisters and set out napkins in a dispenser that will keep them from blowing away. Place items such as condiments in squeezable bottles on a turntable so guests can access them from any angle.

Plan an outdoor-friendly menu

Once you have your location, you’ll want to create a menu that will be easy for your guests to enjoy. A few smart ideas that are warm, tasty, and outdoor-party approved:

Make it fun

Lean into the perks of an outdoor soiree and take advantage of fun things you wouldn’t do inside. Stay warm by lighting up a fire pit in your backyard, or snag a location near an outdoor fire pit at a park or beach. If you’re getting together before dark, consider setting up an activity for your guests like a beanbag toss or croquet. And if the reason for coming together is a holiday, a $20-or-less gift exchange can be an entertaining way for everyone to leave with a small memento from your event.

Outdoor parties after summer is over can be extra special simply because they’re not as common. Your guests will appreciate doing something a little different than they’re used to, and everyone will understand there can be an element of uncertainty or surprise, which is part of the fun. Plus, nothing tastes as good as a perfect cup of tea right after coming in from the cold.


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