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May 17, 1991 - Image 83

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-05-17

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ollmr„, 11


Creative Parties

Warm weather entertaining is filled with
possibilities. Pick a theme and enjoy!


Special to The Jewish News

ummer invites theme
parties. Unlike the for-
mality of winter with
traditional holidays
piling on top of each other,
summer has a warm weather
spontaneity that sings with
Confident, creative hosts
can produce wonderful theme
parties their guests will long
remember. An interior de-
signer hosts a "black tie and
tennis shoes" party where for-
mally attired guests are
handed croquet mallets upon
arrival. A hostess transforms
her dining room into an en-
chanted garden. A young cou-
ple creates a scavenger hunt
where guests are given Pola-
roid cameras and sent around
town to photograph tourist
hot spots. A family turns its
garage into a barn and holds
a square dance for young and
The secret to these and any
successful theme party is
planning, planning — and
more planning. You can't
decide on 'Tuesday to host a
Caribbean Night in your
backyard on Saturday. Theme
parties also demand a bit of


showmanship, some razzle
dazzle. They aren't of the

"Hey, come on over for

drinks" variety. They take
time and energy to pull off.
Outdoor entertaining lends
itself to theme parties —
luaus, Southwestern barbe-
ques, Mexican fiestas. Just
being under a warm sun or a
full moon invites a natural
friendliness that encourages
good times. Of course, when
the dog days. of August ar-
rive, outdoor festivities lose a
lot of their charm.
But even if the season is
right for outdoor. entertain-
ing, always be prepared for
the whims of nature. Never in-
vite more people to an outside
event than can fit comfor-
tably in your house; or control
weather emergencies by rent-
ing a tent.
If you want to try a theme
party but aren't sure how to
do it, here's a handy checklist:
V Always send invitations
for a theme party. Invitations
really set the tone for the
event. They range from the
simple (a strawberry on a
white background, perfect for
a strawberry social) to the
sophisticated (a martini glass
on black, nice for a 1930s
cocktail party).
Invitations can be informal

(a chef's BBQ apron for a
cookout) or formal (a gilt-
edged card for a ball). Invita-
tions not only tell your guest
important party details, they
convey the ambience of the
Stationers and party sup-
ply shops have a wide selec-
tion of invitations. Choose
carefully. Or, if you can't find
an invitation that really fits
your party, make them your-
self or have them custom-de-
V The success of a theme
party often rests on the en-
thusiasm of the guests. Get
them in the mood by asking
them to wear something ap-
propriate to the theme.
But give them plenty of
time to prepare. A week's
notice that they must show
up dressed like their most
beloved fictional character or
their favorite movie star can
send guests into anxiety
V For summer parties, keep
the menu simple but keyed to
your theme. Don't serve your
favorite three bean Tex-Mex
dip if you're having an Italian
opera night with all types of
Take advantage of nature's
summer bounty. Fresh fruits
and vegetables can fit into

just about any theme from an
Indian supper to an English
tea. If your party is outside,
plan to use a grill and make
the grilling part of the party's
Caterers are great for
theme parties and can handle
all the tricky details of
preparing authentic dishes. If
you can't afford a totally
catered affair, purchase one or
two of the main dishes — the
more complicated ones — and
make the easier side dishes.
V Setting the stage is essen-
tial for a theme party. The
ultimate would be to create a
"set," complete with all the
elements needed to turn a liv-
ing room into a Victorian
parlor or a backyard into the

south of France. However,

few people have the time or
money to make such an
elaborate party backdrop.
The secret is to create the
illusion by selecting one or
two elements that relate to
the theme. Color is a basic
theme setter. White is perfect
for summer. You can't have a
Fourth of July party without
red, white and blue.
Ginghams in all colors give a
country - western flavor. Pink
is the only color for a 50s
bash (and with a pink
Cadillac on the invitation).

Flowers are essential.
Daisies in baskets for a sum-
mer picnic, roses for a Vic-
torian luncheon, a single
perfect flower in a porcelain
vase for an Oriental buffet —
each will help to establish the
mood of the party.
If the affair is in the even-
ing, remember to consider
lighting, especially if the par-
ty is outside. Guests can get
very uncomfortable sitting
under the unrelenting glare of
security lighting, so aim for
something glowing and soft.
Candles under hurricane
globes give a romantic glow.
Kerosene lamps are perfect
for any old - fashioned theme.
For "A Teahouse of the
August Moon" party, string
lanterns around the party
area. Luminaries are good for
Mexican fiestas. Garden
torches are perfect for any
party with an island theme.
Music is another theme set-
ter. If you can afford the ex-
pense, go for the real thing —
a steel band for island parties,
a jazz quartet for a New
Orleans brunch, a pianist
playing Cole Porter for a
1930s cocktail party, a blue

grass band for a country-
western hoedown.

Records can just as easily
convey a theme and•are much


P 17


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