Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It's Fall, Y'all!

BOO! It’s almost that time again! Halloween. We could not have a DYI, Girls Night In events section without a Halloween Bash. But why go the traditional costume-party route. Have a pumpkin-themed Girls Night that won’t scare your girlfriends away!
Halloween with the girls is not the same as Halloween for couples, or Halloween with the kids. Women are looking for something different. Why? Well, for one thing, after a certain age, the traditional costume party loses its charm. (Did you see the scene in the Sex and the City Movie where Miranda complains about the costumes available for grown women? She says something to the effect of “Your only choices are French maid, kitten, or witch.” Been there, done that!)  And, there can be a lot of social pressure for single gals around Halloween. It’s nearly as bad as Valentine’s Day!  But, there’s still plenty of reason to party at this plentiful time of year. I’ve chosen the abundant pumpkin as my focus. Did you know that pumpkins are considered a symbol of women’s fertility? They are also very nutritious, and Cinderella did take a ride in one, you know. All good reasons to celebrate the many splendors of this fall fruit.

Setting and Setup
Depending on your personal style and your girl-group vibe, you may want to decorate in a Halloween-y way. Do you like spooky? Then go for it. (See ideas below) In this read you will be guided to celebrate the season. Autumn is a beautiful time of year to get together, and there is plenty of natural bounty you can use to create a festive atmosphere. Piles of leaves, pumpkins and gourds, baskets of apples, and bushels of asters and mums make for a gorgeous, abundant feeling in the air.
The scent of cinnamon in the air is inviting and evokes fall. Use scented candles or simmer a pot of cinnamon sticks in water on the stove. Or make a pot of Oprah’s favorite Mulled  Wine in the Crock Pot and let is work double duty!
For pumpkin carving or decorating, our main activity, you will need some floor space (if indoors) and some newspapers to cover the floor. You will also need carving knives and scoops, or craft supplies (see below).
Finally, you will need a selection of pumpkins in different sizes. It’s really best if you can find a low-cost source for these (pumpkin farm or supermarket) and provide them for your guests. But if you don’t want to spring for the pumpkins, have each guest bring their own –just be sure to tell them so on the invitation.

Make your home-made invitations. It’s easy to cut out a pumpkin shape from some funky printed paper and write your invitation details on the back. (Tip: use hot pink paper –goes great with orange and screams “female!”.) Your girlfriends are going to be so happy to be invited to a party where they don’t have to buy anything that they won’t care if your invite is printed on toilet paper (but that would be tricky). You could also write the invitation details on a small square of paper or cardstock, tie with raffia to the stem of a mini-pumpkin, and hand-deliver. Here’s some possible wording:

Pumpkin Party!
Let’s get together to
Taste the abundance of the season,
Create pumpkin art and
Enjoy some girl time!

Will you ask guests to come in costume? Totally up to you. Here’s a cool idea–but be sure all your friends have a sense of humor–each girlfriend has to come “costumed” as one of the other girlfriends. Could be hilarious; as each girlfriend becomes a caricature of another…let us know if you try it!

Food and Drink
Infuse every bite with warm pumpkin flavor:
A cozy supper of soup and bread is simple and satisfying. This pumpkin soup, baked in the pumpkin, would be a showstopper. Or if you prefer, have a spread of appetizers and nibbles. Try this pumpkin hummus.
Whatever the menu, be sure to roast the pumpkin seeds from your pumpkin carvings. There are many variations on roasted pumpkin seed recipes, so take your pick. A few tips: Keep in mind that pumpkin seeds need to roast at a low heat for a long period of time (about an hour). Don’t be a perfectionist about cleaning all the pulp off–it adds flavor. Don’t forget to salt them!
To drink, pumpkin ale, of course (there are many on the market these days), or another robust beer. Or, see if you can get your hands on some pumpkin wine.

Connecting Activities
Let’s do some pumpkin carving or decorating, but with a girlfriend twist. Traditional jack-o-lanterns are definitely fun, but you can also do something distinctly female. We loved these girly pumpkin decorating ideas we found at CraftyGal.  Try the glitter-covered pumpkins, disco-ball pumpkins, decoupage pumpkins.
Make pretty jack-o-lanterns using free carving patterns from dotcomwomen. Scroll down for the non-scary ones. Ehow has templates for monogrammed pumpkins and some other unique designs here.
Party Favors
Guests will have their pumpkins to take home, so no party favor is really necessary. However, you could also gift them with bounty left from your garden or the local farmers market. That’s right in the spirit of abundance. If you’d like to do more, mini-loaves of healthful, fresh-baked pumpkin bread wrapped up with some orange spice tea bags will help your friends feel nurtured the morning after, especially if too much pumpkin ale was consumed at your pumpkin party.
Have a wonderful fall and celebrate a great harvest of friends. 

-Angee Billingsley
Creative Director, LBDC

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