Party On: Your Guide to the Perfect Fall Get-Together

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Fall is finally in full swing: The weather is ideal, and the scenery is to-die-for. What better time to have a few friends over for the ultimate fall bash? Celebrate the season and get in that last bit of outdoor fun with our simple guide for the ultimate in fall food, booze, games and ambiance. 

How to Make Marquee Letters

How to Make Marquee Letters

Usher in Fall with the warm glow of these vintage inspired marquee letters.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Soup to Start

First up, let’s talk food. Fall is the time for savory morsels that make the most of seasonal ingredients. This delectable carrot-ginger soup is a great place to start.

Carrot-Ginger Soup Shooters

Carrot-Ginger Soup Shooters

This spicy, vegetarian carrot-ginger soup can be served hot or at room temperature. Spoon single servings into shot glasses for the perfect party-sized portion. Get the recipe.

Make This: Carrot-Ginger Soup

Pass the Apps

Next up: How about a delicious toasted crostini with herbed cream cheese spread?

Crostini With Herbed Cream Cheese Spread

Crostini With Herbed Cream Cheese Spread

This simple, rustic appetizer is a great way to get any fall or holiday gathering started. The flavors are a little sweet and a little savory. The textures shine with toasty bread, crunchy nuts and a delicious creamy topping.

More Cold-Weather Apps

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Toasted Crostini With Herbed Cream Cheese Spread

Top warm and crunchy baguette slices with our sweet-meets-savory spread for a crowd-pleasing appetizer you can whip up in just minutes. Get the recipe.

Baked Brie With Raspberry Preserves

Warm-and-gooey baked Brie always impresses, but its preparation couldn't be easier. It's the perfect starter to keep holiday guests satisfied while they wait for dinner to begin. Get the recipe.

Mini Quiche Florentine

Vegetarians (just omit the bacon) and meat lovers alike will fall for these satisfying little mouthfuls. Store-bought pie crusts keep prep time to a minimum. Get the recipe.

Tags: 
  1. mini quiche

Caramel-Covered Brie

This ooey-gooey recipe looks impressive but it really couldn't be easier to make. Your family and guests won't be able to get enough of the warm, flavorful cheese topped with decadent caramel sauce and crunchy pecans. Get the recipe

Creamy Lump Crab and Corn Dip

Keep ravenous Thanksgiving guests at bay with this warm and creamy starter that features the fresh flavors of crab, corn and three different cheeses. Get the recipe.

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits With Honey Ham

Comfort food has never tasted so good. Bake up a batch of from-scratch biscuits, then fill them with thinly sliced honey or country ham for a hearty bite to tide guests over till dinner is served. Get the recipe

Beer Cheese Dip

Why go out when you can whip up the pub favorite at home? Seasoned with hot sauce, cayenne pepper, horseradish and Worcestershire, this hot and spicy dip is guaranteed to warm up your guests on even the coldest of days. Get the recipe.

Smoked Gouda and Herb Puffs

These bite-sized balls of smoked, cheesy, herby goodness are the perfect appetizer for a dinner or cocktail party. Just be careful: They're so addictive that it's impossible to eat just one or two (or three)! Get the recipe.

Homemade Pub-Style Pretzels

Soft and chewy, these yeasty pretzels are perfect for serving with one of our warm dip recipes or just pulling apart and munching on their own. Get the recipe.

Chile and Lime Roasted Cashews

Ancho chile and chipotle peppers give fresh roasted cashews just the right amount of heat. Serve the nuts hot out of the oven for a real treat. Get the recipe.

Homemade Pimento Cheese

Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn., shares a Southern-style recipe for spicy pimento cheese. Serve chilled, straight from the fridge, or place in a casserole dish and heat in the oven till bubbly warm. Get the recipe

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Blackberry Farm and Beall + Thomas Photography

Southern Fried Stuffing Balls

HGTV's Meg Caswell, host of Meg's Great Rooms, shares this recipe that can be made with or without sausage. To kick up the flavor, Meg recommends adding crumbled bacon and serving them with cranberry dipping sauce made by pureeing a can of cranberry sauce with a splash of orange juice until creamy. Get the recipe.

Photo By: Photography: Kat Teutsch; prop styling: Elizabeth MacLennan; food styling: Jamie Kimm

Pepperoni Pizza Hand Pies

Just 10 basic ingredients are all you need to whip up these tasty little pockets of spicy, cheesy goodness. Get the recipe.

Nacho-Stuffed Potato Skins

If your cold-weather get-together includes gathering around the TV for a football game, then be sure to make these restaurant-style potato skins a star player in your appetizer lineup. Get the recipe.

Maple Chili Popcorn

Food Network's Jeff Mauro of The Sandwich King shares this endlessly munchable spicy-meets-sweet recipe that's great as both a light snack before a big holiday meal and for filling cellophane favor bags that guests can enjoy later. Make several batches a day or two before your get-together then store the popcorn in an airtight container. Get the recipe.

Photo By: Courtesy Kelsey Nixon ©2012 CookingChannelTV.com

Spicy Cheese Straws

No fall or winter party is complete without the classic cheese straw. A savory combination of butter and cheese gets an added kick from cayenne pepper, making them a crowd-pleasing appetizer or hearty snack. Get the recipe.

Goat Cheese Quesadillas

Top flour tortillas with creamy goat cheese and guava jam for a crowd-pleasing starter that can be made in minutes. Get the recipe.

Braised Pork Belly on Homemade Biscuits

Succulent braised pork belly on fresh, from-scratch buttermilk biscuits is sure to tempt guests. The biscuit's scaled-down size ensures everyone can enjoy this homey comfort food without ruining their appetite. Get the recipe

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Blackberry Farm

Blackened Tuna Bites

Tempt health-conscious guests with these sushi-inspired appetizers that get their "heat" from a healthy topping of wasabi or hot sauce. Get the recipe.

Ropa Vieja Mini Tacos

With two types of chiles, these spicy steak mouthfuls are sure to warm up guests coming in from the cold. Cut down on prep time by making the tasty filling ingredients a day or two ahead of time then stuffing mini taco shells right before guests arrive. Get the recipe.

Classic Cheese Fondue

Always a party favorite, cheese fondue can be made hours before serving. Serve with crunchy veggies and crusty bread. Get the recipe.

Savory Focaccia

Freshly roasted garlic cloves, olive oil and rosemary sprigs give this tasty Italian favorite its signature flavor. Have a batch in the oven when guests arrive to fill the house with a tempting, herbal aroma. Get the recipe.

Photo By: Stefano Gargiulo

Crudites With Herbed Cream Cheese

For a healthy first course, whip up this flavorful herbed cream cheese to artfully top crunchy raw veggies. Get the recipe

Tags: 
  1. french

Photo By: She-n-He Photography

Fried Camembert

Take gooey fried cheese to the next level with Camembert and truffles. Sophisticated and oh so yummy, this quick and easy starter is sure to please even the pickiest of palettes. Get the recipe.

Bruschetta With Caramelized Dates, Walnuts and Goat Cheese

Whipping up bruschetta appetizers is a snap. Just toast a fresh baguette then top the slices with a soft cheese, like chevre, and any combination of savory ingredients like caramelized dates, spicy red pepper jelly, finely chopped pistachios or crumbled bacon. Get the recipe.

Carrot-Ginger Soup

Fire up guests' appetites with shot glasses filled with this spicy vegetarian soup. Get the recipe.

Tofu Edamame Falafel With Tofu Tahini

Serve these tasty bites as a warm appetizer that both vegetarians and meat lovers will enjoy. Get the recipe.

Photo By: Courtesy Lee Anne Wong ©2012 CookingChannelTV.com

Nut-Crusted Brie With Cherry Chutney

Almonds, pecans and walnuts add a crunchy finish to toasty, gooey Brie. Serve with our tangy cherry chutney for an appetizer that's sure to wow your guests. Get the recipe.

Artichoke and Black Truffle Dip

Pair flatbreads and pitas with our savory Mediterranean-inspired dip that's served hot fresh out of the oven. Get the recipe.

Taleggio Crostini With Apple, Thyme and Honey

These tasty crostini can be prepared in a flash with only a few simple ingredients. They're a healthy, light starter for holiday guests to enjoy while dinner is prepared. Get the recipe.

Photo By: Courtesy Andrea Albin ©2012 CookingChannelTV.com

S'mores + Booze = Fall Party Win

And for a final sweet treat, these grown-up s’mores are a fun twist on the campfire classic. So good.

Spiked S'mores Brownies Recipe

Spiked S'mores Brownies Recipe

Grownups deserve a sweet treat, too and these Spiked S'mores are just the thing for cool-weather hangouts, with or without a campfire.

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

Fall for  Fall Drinks

Now, on to the drinks. With so many delicious fall cocktails to choose from, it can be hard to pick just one. A great option is a large-batch cocktail that can be made in the crockpot. That way, you can keep your guests happy and warm without having to mix drinks all night. We suggest this seasonal sangria that tastes even more heavenly than it looks.

Slow Cooker Sangria Cocktail Recipe

Slow Cooker Sangria Cocktail Recipe

It's everything you love about sangria, with a warm twist. Cinnamon and hibiscus tea add spicy earthiness to this cold-weather cocktail. Let your slow cooker do all the work while you enjoy time with your guests.

Make This: Slow-Cooker Sangria

Time for Wine

Or, make a big batch of this mulled white wine – light, sweet and perfect for fall.

Mulled White Wine

Mulled White Wine

Warm up your next soiree with this deliciously aromatic Mulled White Wine recipe.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Make This: Mulled White Wine

Non-Alcoholic Alternatives

Non-drinkers need more than tap water. Luckily, these colorful mocktails are fun alternatives that everyone can enjoy.

Stylish Cocktail Glassware

Stylish Cocktail Glassware

An important part of planning the bar is thinking about the type of glassware that will be used to serve each drink. While traditionalists recommend a different glass for red and white wine, you can keep things simple by using a multipurpose glass for both. You might also try searching for unique and vintage glassware at flea markets and garage sales to add to your collection; don't be afraid to mix and match stemware for an eclectic look. For large parties, we recommend renting glassware. It comes perfectly polished, and there's no need to clean before returning.

Get Your Drink On

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Boozy Chocolate-Covered Cherry Hot Cocoa

A magical blending of orgeat syrup, brandy and creme de cacao ensure this warm and creamy cocktail tastes just like decadent chocolate-covered cherries. Get the recipe.

Hot Cranberry Mule

Mule cocktails aren't just for cooling off on a hot day. This warm-and-toasty version gets the summer staple ready for holiday entertaining. Get the recipe

Maple Nut Goodie Cocktail

Banish winter blues with this creamy coffee-based cocktail that's perfect for fireside sipping. Our homemade butterscotch syrup is the perfect finishing touch. Get the recipe.

Slow Cooker Sangria

Think sangria is only for summer? Nope! This slow cooker version makes it a snap to whip up a big crowd-pleasing batch of this spicy, fruity wine-based cocktail. Get the recipe.

Tipsy S'mores Cocktail

What would fall be without chocolatey, gooey s'mores?! This adults-only sip combines all the goodness of the campfire classic with a soul-warming boozy kick. Toasted marshmallows add a tasty finishing touch. Get the recipe

Hot Cherry Pie Cocktail

Cherry, vanilla and amaretto give this cocktail all the flavors of a hot-from-the-oven cherry pie. The whipped cream and pie crust crumble make it as pretty as it is tasty. Get the recipe

Boozy Peppermint Patty Hot Cocoa

This warm cocktail pairs the chill of peppermint with the warmth of steamy hot cocoa. Topped with crushed peppermints and whipped cream, it's sure to please. Get the recipe.

Coconut Cream Pie Cocktail

When it's cold outside, warm up with this indulgent cocktail that tastes like rich coconut cream pie. Topped with toasted coconut and graham cracker crumbs, it's a boozy twist on the classic dessert. Get the recipe.

Spiked Chai Tea

Spicy, sweet and creamy, this hot toddy can be enjoyed with or without an extra kick of bourbon. Get the recipe.

Hoppin' Hot Scotch

Butterscotch schnapps, hot chocolate and amaretto combine to create a decadent dessert cocktail sure to warm up holiday guests. Get the recipe.

Classic Eggnog

Get a head-start on holiday celebrations with this rich and creamy favorite. Top with one of our free printable flags for a festive finishing touch. Get the recipe.

Spiced Cappucini Cocktail

Stir Old Tom gin, Licor43 and Kahlua into strong brewed coffee then top with whipped cream and freshly ground nutmeg for an after-dinner drink that's perfect to enjoy while catching up with family and friends. Get the recipe.

Mexican Hot Cocoa and Puff Pastry Cinnamon Sticks

Spike this traditional, pepper-infused Mexican cocoa with your favorite tequila — or even rum, coffee-flavored liqueur or whiskey — for a soul-warming sip. Get the recipe.

Mulled White Wine

Spice up your fall or winter get-together with this aromatic, brandy-infused white wine cocktail. Get the recipe.

Spiked Hazelnut Hot Cocoa

Add a splash of hazelnut liqueur to this made-from-scratch hot cocoa recipe then top with whipped cream, chocolatey hazelnut spread and chocolate-covered cookies for a chill-busting drink that borders on being a dessert. Get the recipe.

Hot Rasapple Rum Cider

Welcome Thanksgiving or cold-weather guests with the warm and cozy aroma of this spicy hot cider. Get the recipe.

Irish Coffee

Irish whiskey and a dollop of whipped cream are all you need to turn a cup of coffee into this cold-weather classic. This drink isn't overly rich so it pairs well with dessert yet is tasty enough to serve on its own. Get the recipe.

Warm Apple Pie Cocktail

This apple-cider-based cocktail gets its kick courtesy of Tuaca, a delicious Italian liqueur made with citrus peels, spices and vanilla. Before serving, add a fresh cinnamon stick for an extra bit of spice. Get the recipe.

Hot Buttered Rum

Gather with friends and family around a roaring outdoor fire to enjoy this soul-soothing cocktail. Hot milk, brown sugar, dark rum and real butter give this drink its signature flavor. Get the recipe.

Mulled Red Wine

Mulled drinks have been at the center of holiday celebrations for centuries. Give your Thanksgiving feast a traditional twist by serving this spiced vintage. Get the recipe.

Hot Spiked Cocoa

Knock the chill off outdoor holiday activities with this tasty twist on homemade hot cocoa. Kahlua, light rum or silver tequila give it an extra kick. Get the recipe.

Hot Peppermint Rod

With a healthy helping of both peppermint schnapps and vodka, this holiday cocktail is sure to warm you up. Get the recipe.

Toasty Hot Chocolate With a Kick

Almost a dessert in itself, this cold-weather cocktail is warm, chocolatey and creamy. For guests with a sweet tooth, it's the perfect late-night or after-dinner cocktail. Get the recipe.

Cranberry Hot Toddy

This twist on a classic mulled apple cider gets a double shot of cranberry flavor with the addition of both cranberry vodka and juice. Get the recipe.

Butterscotch Bedtime Warmer

Milk, honey and butterscotch schnapps come together to create a delicious warm cocktail to cap off a cold winter's day. Get the recipe.

Cocoa Raspberry Heaven

Chambord and white crème de cacao lend this warm-and-toasty cocoa a rich and fruity finish. Get the recipe.

Hot Apple-Ginger Toddy

Apple cider, bourbon and candied ginger combine to create a flavorful twist on the classic hot toddy. Get the recipe.

Spice Up Hot Chocolate Mix

Take storebought cocoa from boring to blissfully boozy with a shot of your favorite flavored liqueur — peppermint, cinnamon and butterscotch schnapps are safe bets  — or liquor, like bourbon, whiskey, tequila or vodka. Make your cup extra creamy using a combination of half and half and milk. 

Photo By: Sweet Louise Photography

Arturo's Positano Winter Sunset

Relax with this popular drink direct from sunny Italy. It's just what the doctor ordered on a chilly fall or winter night. Get the recipe.

Hot Hard Apple Cider

Greet Thanksgiving guests coming in from the cold with this warm, richly scented hard apple cider. Get the recipe.

Hot Pear Cup

Pear cider, brandy, cinnamon, lemon and honey combine to create this warm and quintessentially English cold-weather cocktail. Get the recipe.

Rosario's Rumpope (Ecuadorian Holiday Eggnog)

Rumpope, pronounced "rom-poe-pay," uses eggs, condensed milk, peaches, vanilla extract and cinnamon for a sweet, silky holiday beverage. Get the recipe.

Classic Hot Toddy

This classic combination of whiskey, lemon and honey not only is good for what ails you but its mellow flavor is the perfect complement to rich Thanksgiving desserts. Get the recipe.

Game On

No outdoor party is complete without at least one cool-weather activity to liven up the evening. Cornhole is an all-time favorite for fall, but this year, don't rely on your friends to bring over their set — create your own boards out of old pallets. No more excuses. It’s game time.

How to Make a Corn Hole Game From Pallets

How to Make a Corn Hole Game From Pallets

Liven up your next backyard bash with this vintage inspired corn hole game made from old wooden pallets.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Not Crazy for Cornhole?

If you’re looking for more game options, check out this list of outdoor games you can play with a drink in your hand. Did somebody say giant Jenga?

MR_watson_giant_jenga_s4x3

MR_watson_giant_jenga_s4x3

Gather 'Round

Last but never least is everyone’s favorite fall hangout: the firepit. If you’re ready to build your own, we’ve got you covered.

Stone Firepit 02:57

A firepit is bordered with slate and filled with lava rock and blue glass.

Or, if you’d rather buy than DIY, one of these cozy options might be the one for you.

Cozy Firepits You'll Love

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Perfect Layout

U-shaped seating surrounds a rectangular fire box, allowing everyone to feel the heat.

Photo By: Martin Klimek/Getty Images

Weather Is Not an Issue

By putting the fire pit underneath the gazebo, these homeowners can still enjoy a fire when it's raining.

Photo By: Kenneth Gabrielsen / Getty Images

Keeping It Real

The building materials used in this outdoor space keep a natural and earthy feel: the crushed stone underneath the fire pit, the rustic picnic table atop the paver patio and the natural stone fire circle.

Fire Sculpture

This gas fire pit is a work of art as well as a source of heat.

Photo By: Martin Klimek/Getty Images

Paris Hilton's Old Stomping Grounds

This Hollywood regency-style home was once owned by the popular celebrity. Maybe she used the sunken fire pit to keep her toes warm while she lounged and looked up at the stars.

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Curlicues and Coziness

Rows of hydrangeas, statuesque urns and a bluestone fire pit topped with elegant scrollwork create a classy and serene setting. Click to the next slide to see the vintage metalwork up close.

Photo By: Martin Klimek/Getty Images

Add a Little Personality to Your Pit

These homeowners did so by topping their stone fire box with vintage metalwork.

Photo By: Martin Klimek/Getty Images

Modern Chiminea

Put together two chairs, a Palm Springs color palette, a shapely fire urn and a couple glasses of Merlot, and you're bound to evoke some meaningful conversations.

Fire Wall

Instead of a fire bowl or fire pit, these homeowners went long with a wall of fire. Inside the fire wall sits the basin of a glass-tiled water feature. Click to the next slide to see a full view of the yard.

Photo By: Martin Klimek/Getty Images

Mediterranean-Style Chill

Take a dip in the pool, then grab a towel and walk through the lush landscape over to the fire-and-water wall. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Photo By: Martin Klimek/Getty Images

Borrowed From Civic Engineering

A Jamie Durie original design, the gabion fire feature adds an unexpected element to an already stunning setting. Gabion is an Italian word that means a cage filled with rocks. It is a method of building commonly used to make large highway retaining walls and dams.

Photo By: Jamie Rector

Fire Pit Coffee Table

In this Jamie Durie design, the gabion is used again, but this time for a tree and plantings. The gabion balances perfectly with the inviting outdoor living room.

Photo By: Jamie Rector

Eco-Friendly Industrial

This unique gas-powered fire feature sits atop a slab of concrete. The gas line was run through the corrugated metal pipe and covered with lava rocks. This whole backyard was done with recycled and industrial materials — the raised garden bed and privacy fence were upcycled from old shipping pallets.

Photo By: Martin Klimek/Getty Images

Small But Sexy

This urban patio features a recessed fire pit and open roof with shade cloths.

The Perfect Place for a Portable Fire Pit

Who doesn't want to listen to the sound of water cascading down a waterfall and coming out the side of a dock? Add a toasty fire pit, and serenity is sure to follow.

Sunken Conversation Pit

Even a small yard will feel bigger if it is terraced or multileveled. This recessed living space focused around a fire pit and set off with large planters seems like an exclusive inner circle in which you need a special invite.

Cape Cod Quaint

The backyard of this New England beach cottage is a wicked-cool gathering spot for family and friends.

Photo By: DarrenMcCollester/Getty Images

Use an Old Vessel

This unique fire pit is a replica of a 19th-century syrup kettle made by local artisans.

Metal Wall to Reflect the Flames

Corrugated metal is used to build a privacy wall and create a backdrop for a fun gathering space. To make the unusual fire pit, a gas line was run through the recycled metal bucket then filled with lava rock.

Swirls of Color

The hefty metal fire ring is half encircled by an even heftier concrete seating area. Add vibrant throw pillows and cushions to soften it all up and you're ready for a party.

Seating Is Important

If romance is your intention, make sure you've got a plush lounge sitting fireside.

Photo By: Aaron Rapoport

Wall and Pit in One

This circular fire pit was cleverly built right into the retaining wall, which is perfect when you get up close to the heat.

Outdoor Living Spaces

This yard is well segregated by purpose. The very functional cooking area is next to the house (which is handy), the dining area is off to the side, and the step-down living area is focused around the built-in fire box.

And there you have it. You’re officially ready to throw a killer outdoor party. The only hard part will be getting your guests to leave once it’s over.

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