Holiday parties and helpful hints

November 2, 2010 at 1:51 pm Leave a comment

This is going to be a series of *Party helpful hints* from U & I….

I have given many parties in the past and plan to have many more.  During the process, it can take a toll on your sanity if you are like my neighbor Hal and I. 

Recently we participated in giving a Halloween party for our friends and neighbors.  The planning and grouping, issuing certain items to be done by certain people and then getting it all done.  Let me tell you Hal and I have decided that party given in that extreme must be left to the younger folks and we are ready to RSVP and attend. 

The party was a huge success but the time, energy that it takes to throw a fantastically fabulous party is overwhelming for those of us with OCD, and yes, Hal and I are one of those OCD party throwers.  My husband affectionately calls us diseased.  I have always thought of myself as detailed oriented…*Hint: it is all about the details*…until I met Hal….

We moved in to our community 4 years ago and that is when I attended my first Hal’s oween Party, that is my affectionate name for his Baymark Cemetery party…every tree, every decorations was out and dancing in the night wind.  He has thrown this popular Hal’soween party every other year for many years.  I never understood about the every other year until now.  The last party was to be his last because it was just too much work…Well if you would see how he decorates for his parties you would understand.  The pictures do not do it justice. 

I could not bear the thought of it being his last party because it was sooooo much fun to attend.  I guess so since I did not do any of the work.  I begged and pleaded for him to do it again and promised my undying attention and contribution to his efforts to make it easier for him.  *Hint: ask for others to help with decorating, set-up and don’t forget the breakdown* With apprehension he agreed to do ONE MORE Hal’soween Party only if we had a meeting and help was issued out.  WE AGREED…set the date and I will be there with pen and paper…of course writing everyone’s duty down being the OCD girl that I am. 

Hal began decorating the trees with lights in late August…*Hint: allow yourself plenty of time to prep, anything that can be done early do it* when I say trees, I mean every tree in the area has lights on it.  He does not just wrap or drape, he twines the lights around and the effect is illumination of greatness.  Keep in mind that an entire storage bin of extension cords used for this.  *Hint: make sure your circuit breaker can handle the load* I was able to help him just a bit with the lighting because he is a Mr. do it and it is done before you can say I can help….I love that about him, *Hint: utilize your DO IT friends*.  Slowly he brings box after box from his tiny condominium attic each day something new has appeared on the lawn.  For months he preps items to bring out as the weather permits and in the order line of battery or not battery….The amount of items he has stored over the years in the tiny units attic is beyond organization to fit it all in.  He would put any professional organizer to shame.  *Hint: keeping every thing neat and in bins is a great help next year.  Try color-coding your bins according to seasonal color for easy eye location of seasons*  I was shocked to see how many decorations one person can organize into such a small environment.  I was beyond impressed.  It was an amazing mixture of ghosts, goblins, pumpkins, bodies, heads, lights, grave yard head stones, bowls filled with candy, bugs, orange table clothes, skulls, bats, Frankenstein, black cats, scary demon heads, the batteries alone cost him hundreds of dollars *Hint: another expense forgotten, don’t forget to dispose old batteries properly*.  This guy has it all…and it all went out little by little each day.  *Hint: Hal’s helpful hint for buying party decor is to purchase next years items just after the holiday to get the 75% discounts. This is one of my favorite tips as well.* 

Each unit decorated their own decks and condo’s to their taste.  I went with the Haunted house theme with white sheets covering all the furniture.  White Sheers on the windows replaced my everyday drapery, twinkling lights on top of all the tall furniture pieces, Halloween decorations displayed throughout with screaming doormats and blinking eyes chanting I’m watching you in the bathroom…great fun.  *Hint:  white sheets, and sheers can be purchased at thrift stores.  You can cut holes, and shred them or apply black felt for ghosts and hang them in the yard with balloons underneath for heads.*  My sister helped me break everything down, washing all the sheets and folding them nice and neat while others helped us breakdown the outside.  My brother-in-law Jeffrey carved some amazing Jack-o-lanterns….5 to be exact.  The patience that man has is beyond me.  They were boofabulous…..

The food of course is potluck style with all attendee’s asked to participate in bringing a dish to share with everyone.  *Hint: This is one way to help make the process of food items easier and less expensive for the party giver.*  It was a wonderful array of items from delicious Bacon covered mushrooms with BBQ sauce, Pork BBQ sandwiches, Turkey and Ham sandwiches, Macaroni and Cheese, Meatballs, dips, fried chicken,  you name it and all delicious.   We thank the attendee’s for all their participation with food and drink as well as ice *Hint: (another expense not to be forgotten).* It really does make a difference.

The drink table/Bar was filled with Soda, Water, assorted Bottled Beer and Wine (don’t forget the Jello shooters that I am amazed congealed, you didn’t have to drink them to smell the liquor in them) *Hint: all supplied by the neighbors together in an attempt to help with the financing of the happy event.* Some party goers will bring their own specialty elixirs if the provided items are not to their pallets.  All and all there was more than enough to go around.

The evening provided us with wind and chill in the air but our neighbor Gary is always ready and prepared to build his fire to keep us all toasty and comfortable *Hint: helping hands utilized, thank you Gary*.  A tent was provided for the dining area which Hal prepared “Last supper style” with orange table clothes lining the straight line of a centerpiece filled with candles, tiki lamps, centipedes, spiders, creepy crawling bugs, and bowls filled with yummy candy.  I made some ghosts from white sheets, black felt, and balloons to hang in the tent to blow in the wind with the twinkling lights and crape paper decorations.  Overall, it was a beautiful dining area for the guests.

 The music supplied by a play list Hal worked on for months prior to the party.  We all gave him lists of the music we liked.  The dance floor area lighted with orange blinking lights, a flashing disco light that beat to the music and it was a popular stop for all the guests.  Another helpful hint: *Music can break or make a party so  do your best to keep it up lifting and entertaining and it will keep the guests mingling and happy.*

All had a wonderful evening and time……….but do not forget it does not stop there for the party giver.  *Hint: THREE LITTLE WORDS…….CLEAN UP CREW*…thank you to all of those that helped the following morning.  The clean up and break down was achieved with great swiftness and efficiency.

*I would like to especially thank my husband Chris and Hal’s husband Eddie for not divorcing us and all their patiences with Hal and I in our OCD state of mind.  Your continued support and helpful hands with our adventures, tasks, and endless projects is greatly appreciated and adored.*

Have a wonderful Holiday season and may all your parties be as successful and filled with friends, family and laughter.  Deborah

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1997 October 25th My day with a Chocolatier

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