A freelance writer living in Perth, WA. My blog is coming soon. Watch this space!
Published June 28th 2011
Looking for something fun and social to do on long cold winter days and nights? How about call your family, friends and neighbours and organise one of these easy, cheap get-togethers.
Pot Luck Party
Get all your friends together at your place; each person brings a dish of food to share. Pot Luck traditionally means a meal with no particular menu, so use your imagination, use whatever ingredients you have on hand, that way no one pays too much. For a bit of a twist, give it a theme for example French or Italian dishes. If everyone brings a plate, you have a chance to try something new and have a great night out.
Make sure that when you are organising it, you know what everyone is going to bring and don't be afraid to request something. That way, no-one is going to double up dishes and if you plan ahead, you can also get some people to bring different types of dessert- then less will go to waste.
Safari Party (Progressive Dinner)
A variation of the Pot Luck dinner is the Safari or Progressive dinner. The idea is that each stage of the dinner is prepared by a different person and served in their house. So the entrée is at house A, the Main meal is at house B and the Dessert is at house C. All the guests move from house to house for each course. This one is a bit more involved and does require a bit of planning, it can be a bit difficult if you do not live very close but it can be lots of fun. If there aren't too many people, try carpooling to the next stop, with a selection of your favourite songs to keep you company. That way the party doesn't have to stop. Remember though, that if you need to drive don't drink before you drive.
A Street Party or Block Party is a social gathering, of neighbours and friends. Ideally the street is blocked off from traffic for the duration of the party, this works best in a cul de sac, and you might need council permission to do this. Everyone pitches in to provide food, drink, tables, chairs, and whatever else is needed.
Put up some decorations, arrange some games and make it a fun event for everyone involved. This can be a great way to celebrate Halloween or Christmas with the block- with themed games and decorations this could be a night to remember.
Some games you could try include classics such as cricket (and other sports), bobbing for apples, pin the tail on the donkey and sack races. For something a bit different, try getting a piñata - the kids will love it, and it won't be long before the adults get into it too. Or if there are a few families with ride on lawnmowers, why not race them around the block? While this is a pretty slow race, it is exciting, and fun. And for a bit more fun, why not make the loser mow the winner's lawn?
A bit of friendly competition won't hurt either- try having a competition to see who makes the best cake, or other dessert? Everyone is a winner because they all get to try the delicious food cooked lovingly by friends and neighbours.
This works best in the warmer weather but is equally good in the cold, you just need to rug up a bit more.
Hold a morning or afternoon tea and raise funds for your favourite charity. Getting friends and families together for a good cause will give you a great afternoon or night together and it is for a good cause.
Call your friends and organize a 'Swapathon'-everyone brings all the stuff they no longer need or want, but it must be in excellent condition and still usable – no junk – then swap with each other. This works for just about everything including clothes, books, DVDs, unwanted gifts, even recipes. It will save you a bit of money and everyone can take home something 'new'.
Have a few snacks, lunch or make an evening of it – whatever you like – use your imagination and make sure you have fun. You can always make it into a bit of a game- why not have a lucky dip. If everyone takes something, you don't know what hidden treasure you may find. And if you don't like it you can always take it to the next swapathon.
Dress Up Party
Everyone loves fancy dress parties. They are fun and they can be themed- the sky's the limit. Invite your family and friends around for a night in together and if everyone dresses up, then everyone is having fun. If it is a themed party, why not make the food and drinks themed too? If you have a Hollywood themed party, then have fancy cocktails and finger foods available. Remember to put out a red carpet for your guests to arrive in style. Or have a Toga Party- everyone dresses up in a toga (old white bedsheets work fine for this outfit) and comes barefoot- fun for the whole family and it doesn't have to cost too much either. You could put up tiki torches for added atmosphere. Plus they look awesome. For a fancy alternative, try having a Masquerade party- it doesn't have to be too much, just the mask and a nice outfit will do.
So the next time you are stuck at home with nothing to do, then try these ideas out - fun, simple, and potentially free, this will brighten up your night.