Parties

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Using Dry Ice — Trick-or-Treat

Dry ice can lend a fun and spooky atmosphere to your Halloween festivities, but knowing how to use it is incredibly important. Dry ice is the frozen form of carbon dioxide, which is why, instead of melting into a liquid when heated, it turns into a gas. As it sits at an exceptionally cold temperature of -109.3°F, handling it properly is a top priority.

Here are five mistakes to avoid when using dry ice.

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How to Host an Empty Bowls Fundraiser to Fight Hunger — A New Way to Gather

For the past five years I've been helping my neighbors Adriana and Nina host an Empty Bowls event in our shared courtyard in Oakland, California. The basic purpose of Empty Bowls is to raise money for our local food bank, the Alameda County Community Food Bank. And while we've been super successful in doing that (we raised over $10,000 this year!), Empty Bowls is so much more than collecting checks and tallying up totals. Empty Bowls creates and strengthens our community, supports our local artists, celebrates delicious food and beautiful pottery, and educates people about hunger and poverty.

While it does take some work to put on an Empty Bowls gathering, it's a lot of fun and absolutely worth your time and effort. Here's how we did it.

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The Stress-Free Way to Have People Over Tonight (or Any Night) — A New Way to Gather

How much do you love having your home filled with friends and laughter and drinks and food? But how stressful is it to plan a party? What will they eat, what kind of batched craft cocktail should you make? Can you get the house clean in time? Never mind, let's just get everyone to meet at a wine bar.

There's always, always a reason to not have a party. And it is approximately as likely that you will discover a wrinkle in the time-space continuum as it is that you can catch even a couple, let alone a party's worth, of your busy friends free all on the same night.

So it was that my husband and I had moved into a house made for gatherings, a rambling old Victorian, and — other than the "before" party we hosted the day after move-in (a whole other story!) — we'd not had a proper party in the year-and-a-half-plus since.

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A Backyard S’mores Party — Gatherings from The Kitchn

I threw a backyard s'mores party for my sister's birthday and, years later, we're all still talking about it. We aimed for a simple yet pretty outdoor party, with little stress and preparation because who needs that, especially on a birthday?

We launched our Gatherings from Kitchn series a few years ago to bring you party ideas that are fun and gracious and yet always accessible in budget and details. This s'mores fête turned out to be our easiest party yet — with almost no cooking ahead, and just a few hours of setup. Want to see how we transformed the backyard and threw our S'moresgasbord for a crowd of 20?

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The One Thing You Should Get Right for an Epic Pool Party — Birthday of the Month

We've waited all year for pool party season to arrive, and it's finally here. Sure, pool parties are terrific if you're celebrating a birthday or holiday, but sometimes you don't even need a reason — it's just fun to get your loved ones (of all ages!) in the pool to soak up some sun.

Whether you're splashing around a public pool or lounging in a private backyard, you don't need much money or time to throw a truly epic pool party. As long as you give a little forethought into how the party will go, you really just need to do one major thing.

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How I Pulled Off My First Adult Dinner Party (on a 20-Something Budget) — Life in the Kitchen

I've always been in love with the idea of hosting dinner parties. My mother used to host game nights at our house when I was a kid, and she'd also throw parties for milestones throughout the year. As a 20-something adult, I've loved venturing into the playful, well-appointed world of hosting. But working with a tight budget, mismatched flatware (I know we have another fork somewhere around here), and small spaces means the way you go about it looks a little differently.

Here's the thing: That's OK.

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