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Planning Our Pumpkin Party: Six Months Out (Part Three)

Freaky Princess

As you’ve probably figured out by now, our annual Pumpkin Party is a pretty big deal around here.  We start planning the moment our party is over every year by taking notes on what worked and what didn’t.  I always have a party checklist and use it to make sure I don’t forget anything from one year to the next. In my prior posts, Planning Our Pumpkin Party: Six Months Out (Part One) and (Part Two), I covered the first two steps of planning our big shin dig.  What I didn’t mention is how the notes we take every year really drive what we actually do in the following years.  For instance, what food was a hit versus what went into the fridge at the end of the Pumpkin Party. Or, how the layout of the stations and furniture worked with the flow of guests and keeping to the schedule.  So,without further adieu, here is the gist of the planning sheet we use year after year.  (My apologies, I am not talented enough to embed a free printable here!)

Pumpkin Party 2013 (or your event title!)

Date:

Time:                                                           

Approximate # of Guests: (Adults) (Children)

Actual # of Guests: (Adults) (Children)

MENU

Appetizers

(List what the food is and who is making it for each section.)

Main

Sides

Dessert

Drinks

SCHEDULE

Time                                          Activity

(I use columns here.  Last year’s activities for our Pumpkin Party: Kids Activities, Bobbing for Apples, Pumpkin Carving, Dinner, All Ages Costume Contest, Pumpkin Carving Contest, Adults Only Costume Contest.  I need a very loose schedule to stay on track!)  

NON FOOD SUPPLY LIST

Budget: 

STATION NAME  (I use columns here.  For instance: CARVING STATION, KIDS ACTIVITY STATIONS, BAR STATIONS-I include food stations here so I know what non-food items I’ll need for these stations also.) 

SUPPLIES NEEDED (For example: 20 chairs, 3 rectangular tables, tablecloths, napkins, carving supplies.)

FOOD SUPPLY LIST

Budget:

DISH

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

GUEST LIST

(Make your list of invited guests and highlight or mark off when they RSVP.  Keep track of kid and adult counts if it matters to your event.)

SCHEDULE

Date: (Some things need to be started in advance.  For us, that includes yard work since most of our party is outdoors.  Some things need to be done the day of, like setting up food tables or showering, which is why I include a time slot in this section.)

What: 

Time:

PARTY NOTES

(This section includes notes for before the party, like where I’m placing each station.  It also includes our notes from each party that helps us decide what works and what doesn’t. Some notes from last year’s party: the winner of our pumpkin carving contest–Grace with her Cinderella Carriage–forgot to put out cheese ball, kids loved the shooting games, bathroom sink clogged with pumpkin guts, went through two bottles of Patron & two bottles of vodka  & had WAY too much apple juice left over )

I hope that sharing our checklist helps you to not only plan your party in advance, but also to execute it to perfection! This planner is usually several sheets long, and I keep an empty envelope with it to collect any receipts for food, supplies and incidentals that I pay for each year.  When everything is said and done, I staple it all together to look through in the years to come.  I realize I’m pretty anal, but it works for me, I swear! Please let me know if you have any advance party planning tips of your own, since I can always use suggestions!

Wednesday and Vampire Eric

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