Party On: Your Guide to the Perfect Fall Get-Together
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.
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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
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
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.
Make This: Crostini With Herbed Cream Cheese Spread
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Nacho-Stuffed Potato Skins
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Make This: Boozy, Oven-Baked S'mores
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.
Make This: Slow-Cooker Sangria
Time for Wine
Or, make a big batch of this mulled white wine – light, sweet and perfect for fall.
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Make This: Mulled White Wine
Non-drinkers need more than tap water. Luckily, these colorful mocktails are fun alternatives that everyone can enjoy.
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.
Make This: Three Tasty Mocktails
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Make This: Upcycled Pallet Cornhole Boards
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?
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
Or, if you’d rather buy than DIY, one of these cozy options might be the one for you.
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.
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.