I love holidays of all kinds. Any excuse to gather with my family and friends and enjoy great food, sweet treats, play games, and generally party it up is okay with me! We're in the middle of August at the moment, but I am already counting down to both Labor Day and Halloween.
You might think it strange that I am looking so far into the future, but that is one of the major keys to a successful party: try to plan ahead. Parties are for having a good time, right? So why would you set yourself up for stress by leaving everything to the last minute?
If you are a bit of a neat freak, then you should try to do a deep clean one of two weeks in advance so that all you have to is a "touch up," in the days preceding. Or, if that isn't possible, then be sure to clean gradually. Leave the kitchen and the primary bathroom to the last, as those are the areas that tend to get dirty quickly.
Budget in costs for party supplies before the last minute! I hate to hammer on the hard times, but most of us can't afford to throw a big party without adequate planning. In the weeks before the party, be sure to make a list of what you want to serve and then watch the ads for sales. Be willing to shop around and go to different stores.
Make a family budget, and include estimated costs for the party in the expenses for that month. If you have to skimp on eating out or buying new shoes, that's what you have to do. But hey, at least you have something to look forward to without the stress that comes from overspending.
Consider making the party potluck. That way, if you have a specialty dish, you can focus all of your energy on that particular food, and guests can fill in the rest. You might also want to provide a fun dessert, like a unique, holiday-themed cake, but instead of worrying about baking it, you could special order it from a bakery, which again minimizes your work and stress.
I highly recommend making some sort of formal invitation, as word-of-mouth invitations tend to get forgotten. But some websites allow you to create your own e-mail invitation, which may be a good option if you don't want to hassle of stamps and envelopes and all that.
My family does not consume alcohol, and most of our friends don't either, but if you plan on serving alcoholic beverages, you should be sure that arrangements have been made for either people to get home safely or to remain in your home until any potential effects of drinking have worn off.
Man, Halloween just can't come soon enough! Let's get cracking!
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