By Joseph Devine

Few things are more enjoyable than sharing a delicious meal with friends. Why not add to the fun with eye-catching decorations, cleverly themed meals and even costumes? Throwing a dinner party is a great way to show off your creative abilities and your culinary skills all at the same time. Just think of a theme you enjoy – the ocean, eighties movies, haunted houses – decorate your home and call some friends over. If you need a little inspiration before getting started, consider some of these ideas:

Princess Party. No, you’re not too old. Dig out your grandmother’s old tea set, or assemble one from the elegant cups and saucers you can find at thrift stores or antique shops. Serve finger sandwiches, tea and petite fours. And, of course, dress to the nines – 19th century style. If you’re not sure what to wear, check websites or history books for old dress designs and hairstyles. Hit the costume shops and used clothing stores until you and your friends have your costumes together. You’re now ready extend your pinkies and politely discuss Victorian poetry (or not). If you want to go all out (and don’t want to cook), see if your town has a local tea room. High tea (usually served around four or five in the afternoon) at a nice restaurant can be tons of fun.

Traveling Dinner. This can be a lot of fun with a larger crowd, especially if some of your guests don’t know each other well yet. After each course you serve, require your guests (or at least gently encourage them) to move around the table. No one should end up sitting next to the same people they ate the last course with. This can be a great way to help your guests mingle and make sure no one feels excluded. Someone people even take this basic idea one step (or a short drive) further: if you and your friends want to co-host a dinner, you can serve each course at a different house. This gets people moving around instead of sitting in one place, speaking to the same neighbors all evening – and it adds a sense of adventure to the whole party.

Evening Picnic. If you have a large enough backyard to entertain, or live near a nice park, you should be taking advantage of it. Serve a light, summery meal (lots of fruit and cold dishes) outside close to sunset. Try to time it so people with be able to watch the sunset as they enjoy their meal. If the season is right, you can even add a Midsummer Night’s Dream theme – glitter and costumes for all! Hooray! If possible, light candles or torches as the night gets darker.

These are just a few suggestions to get you started. Anything that holds your interest or makes you laugh can be the basis for a wonderful party.

More information about good food and recipes can be found at CD Kitchen.

Joseph Devine

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