Picture this … the countdown to party time is on, your little one is jumping out of their skin with excitement, and in three days’ time you’re going to have a dozen hungry children and their parents to keep fed and entertained for two hours.
For some of us, party food planning and prep is a joy. For others, not so much! If you fall into the latter category, then fear not. We promise that you can put on a stylish and delicious spread for little and big guests alike with minimal effort and without spending a fortune either.
Here at Hooray Day, we love to share all sorts of tips and tricks to take the hassle out of party planning so that you can say Hooray to that special day!
These are our top tips, tricks and suggestions for turning supermarket fare into an amazing party spread.
Raid the bakery section – big supermarkets have so many amazing party food options in the bakery section. Think mini meringues, slices, bite sized muffins, iced donuts, small cupcakes – there are some brilliant options that are delicate enough for even the finest of high teas! Even super plain items can look fancy served in baskets lined with tea towels or napkins that match the theme of your celebration.
Set up an interactive food station – Think cookie or donut decoration, sundae bars or MYO trail mix. Interactive food is so on trend right now, and it’s a fantastic option for party hosts trying to keep prep to a minimum. Set out store bought donuts or cookies, store bought icing scooped out into a serving bowl, and a selection of small lollies and sprinkles for your guests to go wild with. Try filling brown paper lunch bags (available near the cling film) with different dry fruit, nuts and other small snacks for guests to create their own little cups of trail mix. Food and entertainment for guests! Who doesn’t love killing two birds with one stone?
Grazing platters – This is another big party trend that is perfect for hosts who don’t want to do too much fiddling around. And the best news is, you can pick up everything you need from the supermarket! To create an awesome grazing platter, work in threes – three different cheeses (one soft, one hard and one washed rind or blue mould), three types of crackers, three cured meats, three types of olives/pickles and three types of fresh or dried fruit. Remember that people eat with their eyes first, so try to create some contrast with different colours and textures!
Icy treats – ice creams and icy poles are the perfect, no fuss treat for summer party guests. Buy ice cream and pre-scoop into food cups or patty pans then leave in the freezer until it’s time to serve. Buy popsicles or even super doopers and serve them in buckets of ice … you don’t even need to hand them around as they’ll stay cold for a while this way – bonus!
Custom snack mix – create your own custom party snack mix by combining a variety of small supermarket snacks. Think nuts, oriental rice crackers, popcorn, pretzels, Crispix cereal, Grainwaves, Cheetos, French fry potato chips or even some little sweet treats such as Tiny Teddies or M&Ms. You can even rebrand your mix as something that matches your theme, such as ‘Animal Feed’, ‘Pirate’s Booty’ or ‘Unicorn Mix’ and find a novel way to serve it, e.g. in a bucket, wooden chest or punch bowl. Alternatively, individual food cups are a great idea as kids can just grab them and go.
Lollies! – Admittedly not the most original suggestion, but it’s all about the type of lolly you choose here, and what you do with them! Think about your theme, and match your lollies! Unicorn or Vintage themed parties call for delicate varieties like marshmallows, milk bottles, bananas, musk sticks, cool mints and white chocolate bullets. Bright coloured lollies like smarties, rainbow straps, clouds, freckles and jelly beans are perfect for monster, rainbow or superhero parties. Anything wrapped in gold foil will work well for a Pirate theme!
Make your lollies into a beautiful feature by layering them in glass jars, or control the sugar induced craziness by portioning them out into food cups.
If you can muster the energy, lolly kebabs also look fantastic – choose any soft lollies in complimentary colours and push them on to skewers (be sure to dampen the skewer a tiny bit first!).
Fruit and Veg – it’s always nice to break the treats up with some healthy snacks as well! Keep your prep time to a minimum by sticking to just a few varieties and picking things that don’t need much done to them! Blueberries, strawberries and grapes are ideal, and also very easy to pop onto skewers and serve as fruit kebabs if you want to add a little bit of interest. Alternatively, put mixed berries into baking cups and dust with icing sugar or top with a decorative food pick for a snack that is healthy, beautiful and, most importantly, totally easy!!
Make sure your veggies appeal to little ones by serving crudites in individual cups with dip or peanut butter at the bottom. You can even buy carrot and celery pre cut if need be!
Sprinkles – If you’re keen to make sure your party spread looks coordinated, head to the baking section and pick out some sprinkles that match your theme. There are so many varieties available now! Sprinkles can be used to decorate any iced cookies, cupcakes, donuts or ice cream, added to snack mixtures, on fairy bread, or even used as decoration to make sure that everything looks nice and coordinated with minimal effort by you!
Fresh from the oven – We don’t have to tell you that the freezer aisle is jam packed with tasty party fare ready to go straight into the oven. If retro favourites such as party pies, sausage rolls and pizza aren’t your thing, there are usually some fancier items such as arancini balls, feta triangles, spring rolls, prawn toast available too.
For Bigger Appetites – Personally, we like to avoid having to go anywhere near an oven on party day. If you’re lucky, your supermarket might have a nice deli section where you can by a large quiche that can be sliced and served cold. Or better yet a sushi bar where you can order a platter. Too easy!
A Party Planning Guide and Checklist comes with every Hooray Day Party Kit. It covers the basics from planning your party spread to party games. It’s like having a party planner in your pocket!