Martie Knows Parties: Backyard "Campout" Party
If you love to camp, bring all the fun of a camping trip to a backyard party. Pop up a tent, grab a sleeping bag, and build a campfire!
Start with a super-easy menu. Hobo packs make cooking simple; you cook the aluminum foil packages directly on the fire. They are easy to serve and clean up. If you can't build a fire, hobo packs can be prepared on the grill or in the oven. Still too much work for you? Try a delicious fire-roasted hot dog!
S'mores are a campout requirement. Since this is a party, go all out and put together a s'mores bar. Place an assortment of s'mores ingredients in bowls and have guests select their favorites. In addition to the standard chocolate bars, graham crackers, and marshmallows, also include raspberries or sliced strawberries, peanut butter, and a variety of cookies.
For decorations, use anything you would pack for a camping trip: lanterns, a tent, sleeping bags, cots. Invite guests to bring their own camping gear to make the decor even more authentic. Find inexpensive cotton ticking at the fabric store to use as tablecloths, and use bandannas as napkins. Tin pails are inexpensive and multipurpose—they make great serving pieces as well as great seating!
A campfire can make or break this party, but some areas prone to wildfires do not allow campfires or fire pits. If that's the case, gather around a grill instead. For the real deal, build your fire in a fire pit or outdoor fireplace if you have one. If not, use a heavy-duty tub. In selecting the right spot, look up to make sure there are no low tree branches that might catch fire. Next, clear the area of debris. You may also want to spread a thick layer of sand on the ground where the tub will sit.
Before you get started, please read our friend Smokey the Bear's tips for safe campfire building. Be sure to have a shovel, a large bucket of water, and a fire extinguisher on hand as the fire burns. Also, soak wooden skewers in water for one hour prior to use to keep them from burning during cooking.
For entertainment, be sure to invite a guest who can play the guitar, because what's a campout without singing around the campfire? And brush up on your ghost stories, another camping essential. For the kids, initiate a game of hide 'n seek or hide lots of small prizes around the yard and have youngsters look for them. Get a telescope and star gaze; give a prize to the person who finds the most constellations.
Keep Guests Comfortable
Make sure to have a summer survival kit handy for backyard entertaining. Include bug spray, sunscreen, wipes, cheap sunglasses, and even flip-flops to keep your guests comfortable. If it's a cool night, make sure to have quilts or blankets available. Stack them, or pile them up in baskets.
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