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Holiday time is time to celebrate

By Tammy Scileppi

The holidays are almost here again…like it or not. So, if you’re in a party planning mood, or mode, here are some fun decorating suggestions and clever party themes, as well as a handful of easy recipes. Just use your imagination and shop local party or Odd Lot stores and home décor shops, to find great deals and get the best bang for your hard-earned bucks.

Check out these ideas to match some of the coolest party supplies for 2016, and make the holiday you’re celebrating uniquely yours. And don’t forget to DIY!

Halloween

Here’s a quick and easy way to plan and All Hallows Eve theme party for all ages. Jack O’ Lanterns never go out of style. They’re a classic. And since pumpkins are so versatile, why not ask your guests to decorate their own. The weirdest one gets a prize. The others get spooky favors.

Less is more: Just add some cobwebs and spiders here and there—over your furniture or on office equipment and desks— for instant creepiness. And how about an eyeball buffet? Keep it simple and inexpensive.

In 2016, Zombies have become a real threat. The undead could be hiding anywhere. Throw a Zombie theme party for your friends and family and find a make-up artist who can make some Zombie magic happen before their very eyes. Add extremely horrifying decorations and serve up a few scary dishes. Make sure your guests find one or two body parts in the chili. Bloody Marys anyone?

How about an Adults Only bash and a sexiest costume contest? Go over the top with naughty decorations and that Halloween cake. Serve ‘em cocktails and spicy hors d’ouevres.

For kids or teens: Let them dress up in their favorite scary characters and turn Halloween into an age-appropriate horror movie night. Turn off the lights and light some flameless candles and Jack ‘O Lanterns. Serve up their favorite foods and don’t forget those creepy crawlers.

A Masquerade Ball Halloween = mystery. Who’s behind that sensational mask? Add some spooky music and dance the night away with that mysterious guy or gal. The great reveal comes at the end of the party.

Thanksgiving

Once the costumes are put away and the spider webs and skeletons removed, turkey day is right around the corner. Decorate your home with DIY cranberry garlands and fall wreaths and leaves or buy them in your neighborhood. Your thanksgiving table should be the focal point as your guests arrive. Decorate it with flair and add your personal touch to everything – from linens and dinnerware to the centerpiece, candleholders and even the turkey platter.

Party theme idea: Ask the kids to dress up like the folks who celebrated the first Thanksgiving and gather round for storytelling.

Or how about a vintage theme for your table? And old-time recipes?

Chanukah

If you celebrate The Festival of Lights, your menorah should take center stage. Decorate your home and table in traditional blue and silver.

Fun party ideas? How about a Dreidel theme party: say a Hebrew letter, spin the Dreidel for pennies or gelt (money in the form of chocolate coins wrapped in silver) and see who wins.

Chanukah latke party – make ‘em and eat ‘em up. Yum! Then read the story of Chanukah.

Or throw a Matzoh ball. Guests bring matzoh ball soup and compete for the tastiest and fluffiest.

Christmas

A wondrous time of year, it has become a universal celebration of giving. It reminds folks of togetherness and family, and of peace. It’s a great opportunity for party planners to get creative while staying on budget, especially with so many DIY offerings. Your favorite store, magazine or decorators is alomst sure to have something up online that will let you put a personal spin on your holiday decorating while making sure everything turns out OK.

Kwanzaa

In Swahili, Kwanzaa, means “first fruits of the harvest.” It is celebrated from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 by African Americans, with emphasis on family values and community responsibility, as they remember their roots and culture.

Decorate your home with traditional Kwanzaa colors: green, black and red. Remember to display items, art and fabric that are African in design. Accent with flowers, candles, ribbons, etc. Personalize your décor.

Resembling the menorah, the Kinara (a candleholder with seven candles) should be the focus of the room. The Kwanzaa Feast (or Karumu) is traditionally held Dec. 31. Place the seven symbols of Kwanzaa decoratively on the center table then bring everyone together.

New Year’s

As long as you crack open the bubbly and make a toast to 2017, anything goes, party-wise. You can go formal, casual or super-romantic. Make it a party for two or go wild and have an open house shindig. Think retro, like a 1920s soiree or, send invites to a funky disco party. Or, just stay in your jammies and cuddle with your pet.

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