Growing up, my family hosted a “scarecrow party” at our home every year. A dozen or so families joined us for a night of scarecrow assembling, chili eating, and ghost-in-the-graveyard playing (home base was always the bed of my Dad’s pick-up truck!). To me, this night was even better than Halloween.
When John and I moved into our house three years ago, I was excited to kick-off some new traditions around entertaining and hosting. Likely due to my scarecrow-making past, our first (and most successful) tradition is also fall themed: a soup and pumpkin carving night! Since we just celebrated our third annual event, I thought I’d share a few tips.
— Since ours is an indoor event, we’ve found that keeping the guest list to three couples works out well. That way, we can still fit everyone around the table (with extra leaves in place) for carving and eating.
— We provide two soups and guests help with the extras. This year, one brought a salad, one brought some drinks and dessert, and we added cheesy bread and more drinks.
— Since our event is on a weeknight, prep work the night before is key. John made one pot of soup and prepped ingredients for the second the night before, then heated the already-made soup in the crockpot and assembled the second on party day as soon as he got home from work.
— A few crowd-favorite soup recipes we’ve used in the past: Black Bean Soup with Cumin and Jalapeno, Award-Winning Chili, Potato Leek Soup, Tortilla Soup, and Hunter’s Minestrone.
— We try to be mindful of everyone’s time (especially since many have little ones now!) and have dinner ready to go when guests arrive (usually around 6:30). The first hour is taken up with chatting and eating, and the second with chatting and carving.
— Some couples carve one family pumpkin, and some carve two individual ones.
— I protect our table with a length of kraft paper. Pumpkin guts go in a big bucket in the middle after dinner. The only other tools required are a selection of kitchen knives for carving and writing utensils for sketching (bonus: the kraft runner doubles as a sketch pad!).
— May I suggest my Cozy Fall playlist for background music?
— Before folks leave, we take group portraits with each family’s masterpiece!
Do y’all have any hosting traditions to share? I’ve been thinking about adding a Christmas card addressing afternoon this year :)