When the sun sets and the cooler evening rolls in, let the good times begin! There’s no better time for an alfresco party in Texas than fall, and we’re here to help you get the most out of it and every evening this season.
A fun or beautiful theme can really make a difference, so choose a seasonal one and have fun with it.
Plan a traditional German Oktoberfest party for late September or early October. For this party, you’ll need plenty of beer, sausages, bratwurst, and knackwurst. Serve side dishes such as German potato salad and red cabbage with apples, bacon and sauerkraut. Display the traditional blue and white diamond pattern on cups, plates and napkins. Hire a live Oompah band to play Oktoberfest music throughout the party. To add to the fun, dress the men in lederhosen and the woman in dirndls. Prepare yourself for a fun and rowdy time!
• Harvest Party
Harvest parties are great for adults, kids and everyone in between! Make sure your home is complete with autumn inspired decorations like pumpkins, leaves, and acorns. This is also the ideal party for arts and crafts and fun activities. Bobbing for apples, making cider donuts, and baking apple pies all make for a memorable fall party.
• Backyard Campfire Party
Charming lanterns, picnic baskets full of delicious s’mores, and comfy sleeping bags… backyard campfire parties are always a neighborhood hit! Cozy campfires create the perfect setting for good conversation and lots of laughs.
• Football Party
Throw a football party for family, friends and football fans. Select a football themed invitation to send to your guests. Decorate the party with your team’s colors, mascot and football-inspired decorations. Serve food such as wings, chips and dip, pizza and deviled eggs.
Sometime all it takes is a pretty table to set a festive mood. You can go all out with faux bois and a towering centerpiece or opt for a more modern approach such as an apple themed ombre effect or colorful hurricane lanterns.
To really highlight the season, pair a unique seasonal cocktail with your meal or appetizer.
Like this Plum & Thyme Prosecco Smash:
• 2 Plums
• 6 Thyme Sprigs
• Juice from one Lemon
• 4 Tbsp. Thyme Simple Syrup (1/2 Cup of Sugar, 1/2 Cup of Water, bring to a boil, remove from heat, add thyme sprigs, stir, and let cool. Chill until ready to use.)
• 1 Bottle of Prosecco or your favorite bubbly
• Peel and chop 2 plums.
• Muddle the plums with the thyme simple syrup and lemon juice until all of the plum juices have been released. (You can also muddle right in the glass if you prefer to have bits of fruit in your cocktail!)
• Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker.
• Pour over crushed ice evenly between two glasses.
• Top off with prosecco and garnish with extra plum slices and thyme sprigs.
• Serve immediately.
Speaking of appetizers, this vertical pear salad will seriously impress your guests.
• 4 smooth skinned pears
• 2-3 cups watercress
• 1/2 cup toasted pecans
• 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
• vinaigrette dressing
• honey for drizzling
• lemon juice
Cut pears horizontally into 3 or 4 slices depending on the size of your pears. Use a paring knife to cut out the cores. The pieces should look like O’s. Leave the stem on the pop piece. Brush slices of pear with lemon juice to keep it from browning.
Toss watercress, pecans, and blue cheese with dressing until coated.
Reassemble the pear, vertically, with the watercress salad in between each slice. Once assembled, drizzle with honey, and serve!
Planning a dinner party can be challenging, so keep your entrée simple and seasonal.
This One Pan Autumn Chicken Dinner features all your favorite autumn veggies, with half the work.
• 4 – 5 (6 – 7 oz) bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
• 4 Tbsp olive oil , divided
• 1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
• 3 cloves garlic , minced
• 1 Tbsp each minced fresh thyme , sage and rosemary, plus more for serving
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 large sweet potato (peeled if desired), chopped into 3/4-inch cubes
• 1 lb Brussels sprouts , sliced into halves
• 2 fuji apples , cored and sliced into half moons about 3/4-inch thick
• 2 shallot bulbs , peeled and sliced about 1/4-inch thick
• 4 slices hickory smoked bacon , chopped into 1-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pour 2 Tbsp olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and herbs into a gallon size resealable bag, add chicken, season with salt and pepper then seal bag and massage mixture over chicken while working to evenly distribute herbs. Set aside and let rest while chopping veggies.
Place sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, apples and shallot on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil then toss to evenly coat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread into an even layer then set chicken over veggie/fruit mixture. Sprinkle bacon (separate any pieces that stick together) evenly over veggie/fruit mixture. Roast in preheated oven until chicken and veggies are golden brown, about 30 minutes (chicken should register 165 in center). Broil during last few minutes for a more golden skin on chicken if desired. Sprinkle with more herbs and serve immediately.
Be sure to have your fire pit lit in all its blazing glory before guests arrive, and be sure to use low smoke wood like Ash, Maple, or Oak, as no one likes getting a face full of smoke. Also, have plenty of blankets and throw pillows for extra warmth and comfort.
Now all you’ve got to do is invite your friends and family over for the perfect fall evening.