The fifth annual pumpkins and soup party

31 October 2017

Happy Halloween, friends! Our fifth annual pumpkins and soup party was this weekend!

fancy s'mores

With the completion of our backyard renovation, we got a bit ambitious this year and opened up the guest list from three families to nine, for a total of 32 guests (though to be fair, several of them were infants). We got a bit nervous when every single person RSVP’d yes, but after a few last-minute drop-outs, managed to squeeze everyone in for a cozy evening :)

Letterfolk board menu

Thankfully the rain let up an hour before the party, and despite the gray and windy night we were left with, we were able to be outside for the pumpkin carving and s’more roasting, as planned. Our younger guests certainly weren’t afraid of the cold, and June had the best time chasing and being chased by the older kids!

On the menu:

— Pigs in a blanket (my favorite!) and veggies and dip
— Hot apple cider plus various other drinks
Chicken Noodle Soup
Taco Soup
Black Bean Soup
— Cornbread and bread from La Farm
— A pan of mac and cheese
— S’mores and raspberry brownies for dessert

gingham party

The nice thing about holding an annual event is that you can stock up on supplies over time, and we made a few good additions this year, including the gray gingham tablecloth above, generously-enough sized to fit our dining room table with all the leaves in. (I thought the price point, and the quality for the price point, were both very good.) We also added these tools to our carving arsenal, as well as a pumpkin gutter!! (Totally recommended if you plan to carve every year!)

raspberry brownies

Since we had LOTS of little kids in attendance, we also set up a pumpkin painting station. (I just spread out a plastic tablecloth, washable paints, and paint brushes.) This was not as messy as I feared it would be :)

backyard mums

Though it was a great evening, we’re considering ratcheting back the guest list a bit next year — though I love each and every person we invited, I missed feeling like I got to talk with everyone who came, and big groups are not these introverts’ forte! On the other hand, I like that this is our “signature event” and a great opportunity to mix and mingle our different groups of friends. We shall see.

I’m curious: do you prefer hosting big parties, smaller groups (2-4 couples), or just one other family or couple at a time? And what are you being for Halloween, if you’re dressing up?? :)

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Emily Frost
October 31, 2017 8:08 am

Hi Em!
What a lovely party! I’m thinking of copying with a soup-centered party for a few families in the neighborhood — I’m curious – did you do a sit down? How do you handle grown ups getting to eat dinner while the kids need supervision and attention? I love the kids craft idea too and am thinking of doing something like this with cookie decorating for a holiday open house. I definitely love a festive atmosphere, but I agree, it’s disappointing when the guest list gets so big you can’t catch up much.
Xo emily

October 31, 2017 8:10 am

I love that you host this every year! SO fun! Were having our own soup and pumpkin carving tonight. I’m an introvert and prefer to keep things small as well. I let me extroverted friends host the large soirees. :)

October 31, 2017 9:11 am

Yum! The menu looks delicious and I can only imagine but raspberry brownies sound amazing! Your beautiful home and backyard is the perfect setting for this too!

I’m still baffled by the recent realization that I’m an introvert as well – ha! I definitely prefer smaller groups too, but look forward to having the occasional large soiree in our home one day hopefully soon! The ability to host larger groups was one of the things we were most excited about when we purchased our home (and coming from a small condo), so we hope to host a few bigger parties in the near future! I can see how this particular event might lend itself better to a more intimate group though, whereas a costume party or christmas party tends to be ‘the more the merrier!’ :)

October 31, 2017 10:23 am

This is an adorable idea and your backyard looks beautiful! I hope there is a post in the works to show us more of it. ;)

Kelly Strawberry
October 31, 2017 10:36 am

Looks like a wonderful party! I usually host something “big” at our house one or two times a year. It is usually 12-15 people and we are all very close. I think it would be challenging to try to mix groups of friends. I also am particular about making it either kid-centered or kid-free. With so many of our friends having toddlers, they sort of take up all of your attention by default. Finding sitters can be hard, but we’ve been fortunate that many of our friends have the means or have family to babysit. The key is to set the date way in advance so everyone can plan ahead for child care.

30+ people would probably be overwhelming for me, even though I’m more extroverted. Personally, I like to provide everything for a party (including the alcohol) and not expect anyone to bring anything, so it definitely adds up fast when you’re hosting for a large group.

One thing I did last winter that was surprisingly a huge hit was I invited everyone over for margaritas and chips before our reservations at Gonza, which is very close to our house. I made Ina Garten’s margaritas and boy oh boy, those sneak up on you fast, but we had such a good time and it was very easy to host! It felt more special than just meeting at the restaurant, but also very casual and fun.

October 31, 2017 11:28 am

Your party sounds so fun! I always loved the idea of hosting large parties once I had my own home…until I hosted my son’s first birthday and there were more than 60 people there. It was loud and nuts! We now keep our gatherings a bit smaller in our own home (I love having my girlfriends over for a meal and we can all sit at the table and actually chat and eat together) and when we want to entertain larger groups, like for a birthday, we use larger (free) spaces, like our neighborhood park gazebo! We did this for my son’s last birthday and it was much more relaxed!

October 31, 2017 2:49 pm

What a great tradition! I love parties with 2-4 couples. Friendsgiving is coming up and I can’t wait to host it with that amount of people. I can’t wait to see the rest of your backyard. It looks amazing!

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