Autumn Entertaining Outside and On The Cheap

Autumn is a time to be spent outdoors. The days are cooling off and Mother Nature is decorating with glorious shades of reds, yellows, and burnt oranges. When it comes to entertaining outdoors, there is no need to go to a lot of expense.
Budget entertaining is made easier with nature’s bounty sitting at your fingertips.
Dining outdoors in fall is wonderful, also the simpler the better. Mismatched dishes and dish towel napkins invokes a casual atmosphere and inspire an uncontrived look. Dig into the closet to find an old basket and use it to hold cutlery. To make place cards for guests, it’s as simple as gathering colorful leaves. Place them one at a time between two sheets of wax paper, and with an iron on low heat, press until sealed and preserved. After trimming, use a sharpie to write each guests name on their leaf.
Table decor is just as easily done using a burlap tablecloth, peppered with plump persimmons and scarlet pomegranates. They are a ripe reminder of the season’s exuberant, and occasionally exotic, abundance.

Candles are fabulous way to take advantage of the earlier sunsets. When small gourds and petite pumpkins are used as candle holders, it’s a tribute to the change in seasons. Cut a hole the size of a votive or tea light in the top of the pumpkin or gourd, scoop out enough space to fit the candle and you have a gorgeous holder at little expense. Paper lanterns hung from trees create fantastic overhead lighting, while keeping in the outdoor

Meals in autumn are best kept simple and hearty. Soups, stews and BBQ are filling as well as perfect for keeping guests warm. They are also easy to prepare in advance and give you more time with your guests. Serve with hot bread and desserts that ring true of the season, such as apple pie, pumpkin bread and pears poached in wine.

If that is not your forte, might I suggest a large roast turkey and have the guests bring the sides? Suggest they bring roasted fall veggies, mashed potatoes, crusty french bread with an assortment of cheeses, mashed potatoes, mesclun salad with cranberries and blue cheese, and other comfort food . A bonus? Your foodie friends will love showing off their latest recipes!

Entertaining children during a gathering is always at the top of the list. Set up an arts and crafts center with petite pumpkins and let them paint. If feeling really brave, set up a pumpkin carving stand, complete with aprons, carving tools and brave adults. Provide stencils for carving ideas, or let them carve free-hand.

Kids and adults will love bobbing for apples. Fill up a food safe galvanized bucket, fill with apples and let them go to town. Keep a chalk leaderboard to see who gets the apple with the least attempts and then crown them king of the apples, complete with a crown made of aluminum foil!

Heating is always an issue when it starts to get chilly and if you aren’t held back by local regulations, a campfire is a wonderful way to add warmth. Chimineas or a propane powered heater are fantastic if a more formal setting is required. Drape throws around the chairs and piling them into a basket so guests can wrap them around their shoulders.

With the change in the seasons, fall can be a fun time to do some outdoor entertaining, albeit with a few adjustments. Hopefully you have gained some ideas on how to take advantage of fall’s changes to help you keep outdoor entertaining fun and seasonal.

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