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Use Wedding and Party Network's party ideas and tips to assist you in planning your next party or special event wedding. Have you thought about when to consult a book a location or what you need to host an outdoor event? Everything from "how to keep food cool outdoors" to "how to hire a live band" can be found in Party Ideas and . View our Party Ideas and Tips and remember to check back often; we are always updating our site with the latest tips to keep your party planning efficient and easy. "Been Then – Done That" Share your party or special event ideas and tips.

Halloween is right around the corner and if any holiday calls for a creatively fun celebration, it's this one! Here are five ideas to get into the spooky spirit!

For The Kiddos:

Halloween Pet Party
Take something that kids love–animals–and make it into a fun Halloween inspired party. Encourage guests to come dressed as their favorite pet, Halloween style.

Friendly Monster Theme
This Halloween party is all about fun, not fright. Think bright colors, lively games and super cute treats. Ideas: Monster Bingo and a monster eyeball toss.

Spooky Forest
Create a playful forest in your living room for a cool nature-inspired party. Spray paint branches and hang paper bats from the ceiling to spook-ify your home. Make the food forest theme as well with funny puns!

For the Adults:

Glittering Gala
Bring the glam to your next adult Halloween party! Spray paint pumpkins in hues of metallic gold or sparkly silver and use accents of black lace and feathers. Serve up sophisticated appetizers and a spooky, bubbly drink!

Pop-Culture Costume Party
If you desire to bring a little humor to your Halloween shindig, make the costume dress code a pop culture dress up. Whether it's Beyonce or a favorite TV show character, your party is sure to be full of laughs!

It's almost time to throw the Halloween party of the decade! Pick one of these themes and let the creative planning begin!

by Tracy Brengard

When my husband and I purchased some property a couple of years ago, the old barn that stood off to the side was admittedly an afterthought. While we had admired it, we had not honestly considered whether it would be worthwhile to save. Weathered and worn, it had seen better days. As we made improvements to the property, we decided to save the barn and reinforced the foundation, replaced missing boards on the exterior, and ran a line for electricity. We also decided to add a small bathroom inside, which was the beginning of my thoughts towards using the barn for entertaining.

Since its reinvention, the barn has been host to several gatherings. A fire pit was added for cookouts, marshmallow roasts, and a ghost story or two. It has set the scene for prom photos and family portraits, and served as storage for duck decoys and a fishing boat during the off seasons. Perhaps the biggest event at the barn has been our barn barbeque. I will confess that I am just a normal wife and mom, not a major party planner! I needed help from a few experts to help me get the job done. With a little time and effort, the old barn had a new life.

My task was to give a barbeque party for 50 people at the barn. Having an outdoor event of any kind requires special attention to detail. My first task was walking the property. From this I could decide what was going to be provided for our guests and where things were to be set up. I won’t deny this might have taken more than one trek around that barn! I had to consider food, music, decorations, and seating. I made a list of what I would need and whom I should contact for help and advice.

After a DJ was hired for the music and a caterer for food, I had to set my sights on decorating. With the help of a friend, I planned where to place tables, a food line, and a dance area, along with a set up for a homemade photo booth.

We decided where drinks, set in wheelbarrows and large washtubs would be placed. Along with burlap tablecloths, bandanna napkins tied with twine and cowboy themed dinnerware, we had plans for candles in mason jars tied with gingham ribbons. String lights were purchased to hang around the barn. And no party is complete without flowers!

Our party was in the fall, and with the help of my florist, we settled on mums of all colors, which were the perfect complement. Large outdoor areas are sometimes difficult to fill, and I was thankful to be directed to the local nursery, where they provided me with hay and pumpkins to use all around the barn. A good florist can recommend flowers that are in season for your particular party theme. They may also offer advice on decorating.

An old barn is the perfect setting for a barbeque, a cowboy birthday bash, or even a simple wedding. Letting the expert add the finishing touches minimizes stress and creates a charm and warmth that can make any good party a simply fabulous one!

by Kelly Curtis

You've all seen Washi Tape. If you haven't, you're missing out of this latest trend. If you don't know what it is, it's basically printed tape. Did you know there are lots of ways to include this in your next party? Here are a few ideas:

  • Party Glasses – If you're using disposable cups, you can decorate the cups with this tape to make them unique. Another great idea is using the tape as name tags on your glasses.
  • Flags – Use washi tape to create adorable flags. Easy to make and can be displayed on straws or within centerpieces.
  • Napkin Rings – Take your napkin, wrap it around silverware and then tape it closed. This is a really fun detail to add.
  • Vases – Same thing goes here as it does for the cups. If you want to add a little flair to your vases, simply add this tape.

Washi tape comes in a variety of colors. It's so easy to just pick which designs go with your party best and incorporate them into it. What are your plans to do with it? Share them with us at

by Hannah Jackson

I have distinct memories growing up of celebrating school ending, but to celebrate going back to school is a trend I love. What better way to shake the jitters of beginning a new year of school than to throw a big party in its honor? Here are a few ways to give kids (and teachers!) a way to look forward to the summer coming to an end.

Back to School Dinner Tradition

Use this occasion to motivate your kids and their mindset towards school. It’s not usually easy to welcome school starting back, but with a little creativity and time, you can put together something that will penetrate their hearts. Host a dinner each year with a new motivational theme for the upcoming school year. Theme ideas are: “Your Future is Bright”, “Sharpen Your Mind”, and “Make the Best of it!” This tradition can be for kids or teachers since both need inspiration for a new year of challenges!

Book Swap Party

Beforehand, have 10 friends collect a few books a piece to bring over for a back to school book swap. Whether used or new, just books in good condition that the kids can search through while they snack and play together in anticipation for a new school year. There’s just something special about bringing home a new book, and it can get them excited about reading again if they haven’t been reading much over the summer break.

Fun in the Sun

With summer coming to a close, kids may need a last hurrah in the sun and water. Planning some simple outdoor water games can help ease any back to school anxiety that may be creeping in. Activities can be a slip-n-slide, sandcastle building station, sprinklers, or just your basic swimming pool. Have lemonade and some fresh fruit and popsicles for them to snack on as they play and you’ll have yourself a refreshing party they will really appreciate!

Kick start the new school year on the right foot by celebrating it! Use one or all of these ideas to welcome school with open arms.

by Kelly Curtis

There is not much more that my son loves than Elmo and the “Letter of the Day” song. Most kids are enamored by Sesame Street, and parents love that they love it because it’s so educational. Why not make this the theme of a party? Sesame Street Birthday Parties are fun and very simple for parents to host. Here are a few ideas for a modest party that won’t break the bank.

Party Decorations

The great thing about Sesame Street is there is an endless supply of decorations. You can spend anywhere from $5 to $500. Shop at your local party store. They'll have great ideas. Use street signs as party deocr but instead of "Sesame Street", name it after your special birthday boy or girl. Include the bright colors of seasme street throughout the party, as well as incorporate the characters. Don't forget to have Sesame Street playing in the background.

Sesame Street Party Food

Have you seen the adorable vegetable and fruit trays staged after the characters? For Elmo, use cherry tomatoes or sliced strawberries. Spread them out on a round platter evenly and then place 2 small round containers of white dip for eyes and place a blueberry in the middle. You can use broccoli for Oscar The Grouch, blueberries for Grover and pineapple for Big Bird. These are absolutely adorable and the kids will love them.

Party Games

The Letter of the Day and Number of the Day songs are so much fun for the little ones. To personalize these songs, choose the Letter of the Day to be the child’s name, and the Number of the Day the age he or she is turning. These are fun songs to sing with the littles while they clap and stomp along.

Instead of your traditional Pin the Tail on the Donkey, try Pin the Nose on Elmo. If you are artsy or have a friend that is, Elmo can easily be drawn on a roll of paper, and then making tiny tissue poms for his nose! Just use a little double sided tape to help the nose stick.

There you have it. Age appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers, and engaging enough for parents to participate with them. Enjoy planning!

by Tracy Brengard

Vacations, swimming pools, lemonade stand, all of these things remind us of sweet summertime! While it still may be hot outside, school days are just around the corner. Soon there will be no more sleeping in, so ease into that back to school routine with some fun activities for the family.

Here are a few ideas to get the entire family ready.

Host A Party

Host a cookout or picnic at a pool or in your backyard. Keep the food simple and kid-friendly, as well as the decorations. For example, cover tables with white paper and fill mason jars with crayons for centerpieces. Use a large chalkboard to welcome guests and let them sign in as they arrive. Apples and flash cards or any other school related item as décor for tables or wall hangings is a great idea as well.

For an educational twist, set up a map with some push pins and allow guests to plot where they have traveled for summer vacations. A door prize can be given to those traveling the longest distance. Involve the kids by having them bring items for school that can be donated to a local school or charity that accepts supplies to distribute to those in need.

Family Activities

If a party isn’t in your plans, there are some things you can do at home with your family. Start a new tradition that will make memories for years to come. Here are a list of ideas:

  • Create a countdown calendar to mark off the final days of summer.
  • Cook a special breakfast on the first day.
  • Buy a growth chart or even find a space on a hidden wall to mark your child’s growth each year.
  • Host a family fashion show and have each child model their first day of school clothes.

The entire family will look forward to their beloved tradition each and every year.

Think About The Teacher

Another person to consider on the first day of school is your child’s teacher. Here are a few ways to show your excitement that you have them as a teacher:

  • An apple for the teacher is a fun, inexpensive way to start the year.
  • A handwritten note from you or your child, thanking the teacher and expressing your excitement about the school year might be a thoughtful idea.
  • A basket with supplies any educator would appreciate might include paper clips, sticky notes, or copier paper.
  • A small container with quarters for the soft drink or snack machine would definitely come in handy.
  • Flowers are always an option! A cheery bouquet of sunflowers, daisies, chrysanthemums, or summer wildflowers will brighten any teacher’s desk.

Going back to school each fall is a milestone event for any family. Make that transition smoother by finding a way to celebrate while making memories that will last a lifetime.

by Kelly Curtis

Planning a buffet for your next party? This seems like an easy route to take to serve your food. However, there are a few tips you must keep in mind when setting yours up.

  1. What/Where – Decide what serving dishes you will use as well as where you will place each one. This is easier to do beforehand than stress the day of. All you have to do is place the food on each dish.
  2. Use Labels – This takes the guessing game out for the guests. This also helps guests with food allergies out so they know what to avoid.
  3. Plates First, Silverware Last – Why do this? Of course we understand why plates need to be first. But if we put silverware last, your guests won't have to juggle them as they move down the line.
  4. Make It Ahead – Don't spend your entire day cooking. Think of meals that can be prepared the day before or even a week before and are ok to freeze.
  5. Think About The Kids – Sometimes it's easy to overlook the children at the event, but they will appreciate you thought of the, as well as the parents. Add chicken nuggets or mini sandwiches.

We hope these tips help. Do you have your own buffet tips? Share them with us at

by Laken Watts

Engagement parties, wedding showers, baby showers, all of these parties have one thing in common: food. Whether it is just a cake, or a full three course dinner, food is so central to all of our celebrations. Most parties feature the food all set up together on the bar or dining room table, placed neatly next to the punch and a gorgeous centerpiece. Insert your hungry guests standing in line to fill up their plate and you’ve quickly got a crowded dining room. But we’ve got a better idea: Tasting Stations.

They’re perfect for those summertime parties, especially on a cool, Saturday night. Here’s your how to on setting up tasting stations.

A sample menu would look like this:


  • Pork tenderloin rolls and a scrumptious horseradish sauce
  • Sushi with simple California rolls
  • Peel ‘em and eat 'em shrimp with cocktail sauce
  • Crowder pea succotash (
  • Warm brownie & ice cream
  • Beer, wine & mini water bottles

Set Up

Start with getting a few extra tables to put around your garden or patio. Don’t be afraid to have a station set up inside on the dining room table as well. You may have to do some rearranging, but that’s usually always necessary when throwing these parties.

Any kind of tablecloth will do, and a little secret-they don’t all have to be the same. As long as they aren’t bright pink princesses mixed with your grandmother’s hand sewn lace, you’re good to go.

Space out your tables, and use the same serving pieces you normally would. Use the small plates, and as utensils, use toothpicks and plastic seafood forks. Do you see Continue reading "A New Twist on Party Food" »

Hosting a party? Have you ever thought about your hostess responsibilities? There's a lot more to it than you think. This week's Party Tip will focus on a few ways to make you a better hostess than you already are for future events.

  1. Introduce your guests – As soon as possible, introduce your guests to each other. That way, everyone feels included.
  2. Ask for dietary restrictions – Make sure there's something for everyone to eat. Some may have dairy or nut restrictions. It's important to be aware of that as well so you can let them know what dishes may not be for them.
  3. Engage your guests – Keep the conversation flowing and avoid any awkward silence.
  4. Seat someone new to each other – Don't just group friends together. Make your guests branch out and meet new people.

There are are many ways to be a gracious host at your party. How are you one? Share us your tips at