Mad About ... Parties
(This is a continuation of the Tiki post. I decided to break it up into several posts to make it a little more manageable. The original post was dated December 14 and can, quickly, be found in Labels under "Parties.")
There is nothing kitschy-er than party favors! Noise makers, like horns, kazoos, slide flutes, oh my! These are also available at party supply stores in a variety of colors and designs. You can leave some around your party space, on a coffee table or displayed in bowls and cups so people can grab them at any time.
Disposable Cameras (optional)
Most people don't use these much anymore, what with digital cameras and camera phones being so prevalent. But you can pick them up for cheap and scan whatever you develop onto your computer. If you'd rather not buy them, suggest that your guests bring their own cameras or even use their phones and send you pictures. Just make sure to take some pictures!
Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker. Meaning: don't sweat it. Keep in mind that you only need to put out one or two things, since there will be other foods to pick at. For Christmas-time, you can set out a selection of chocolates from See's Candy. Hersey Kisses are always nice, same with M&M's. During summer you can put out funky candies, like those sugar coated gummy candies or Laughy Taffy.
These are some of my favorite things. I obsess over them whenever I plan a party, devoting much more time to them then I should. I like to get solid bags, not see-through, so when people receive them it's a surprise. You can get bags with designs on them or in solid colors that match your theme. Brown or white paper bags are fun to decorate, too.
What you put in them is up to you. For strictly adult parties I recommend tossing in some mini bottles of booze - highlighting alcohol you used in that evening's drinks. Home made treats are always nice, as are vintage candies. Have fun with it!
Traditional to birthday parties, piñatas are a fun way to get everyone involved. Piñatas come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so there's a good chance you will find one that fits your theme and needs. A small piñata is a good call for whatever the occasion. And, just like with the Goodie Bags, if you are having an adults only party fill the piñata with mini booze bottles.
You can keep these optional or just use them on certain occasions - birthday parties, New Year's Eve, etc. I like the traditional cone hats with the elastic band - it's pretty retro. But elaborate crowns and men's hats are a blast. Pick up a selection and let your guests chose.
Those are the basics. Don't think that you have to do everything or buy everything on that list. The main thing to remember is that you want your guests to be comfortable and to have fun. If you really don't have the means to all the extra stuff on the list, don't worry about it! Make sure to check discount warehouses, "99 cent stores" and second-hand shops - they usually have great deals.