For a dinner party with a different twist, try one of these ideas:
Throw a theme party featuring food, drink, music, and decor from a foreign country or a distant region of your own country. Learn a few simple food-related phrases in that country's language, and teach them to your guests as you eat. Or, for the sake of variety, have an international buffet.
Host a progressive dinner. Ask each guest to prepare and serve one course and have a quick game at his or her home. You can coordinate the transportation of guests.
Serve elaborate but substantial finger food, such as stuffed croissants or chicken croquettes with a savory dip. In summer, prepare a cold alternative, such as ceviche (raw, marinated fish) or cooked kebabs with a spicy dip.
Have a potluck picnic and ask everyone to bring a new favorite dish with enough to share with all. Provide recipe cards to your guests so everyone can learn how to make something new.
Try a favorite campfire dinner at home. Place a hamburger patty, potato slices, carrot pieces, one or two thin slices of onion, and a pat of butter on foil. Season with salt and pepper, seal the foil by folding, and bake the contents for 45 minutes to an hour at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). You can also take this meal to cook in the fire on a hike or campout, or at the end of a day at the beach.
Host a murder mystery dinner. You can buy a commercial murder mystery kit, or you can write your own story to fit your guests. Better yet, enlist your most creative friend to write the story so you can be surprised with your other guests. Then you provide a good meal and let the play begin.
Throw a luau in your yard, complete with pineapple, roasting pig, and tiki torches. You can find fun props at any party store, and the food can be casual. If you don't want to or can't roast a whole pig at your house, you can make island-inspired pork ribs in a crock-pot and serve pineapple skewers and fresh coconut. Give your guests leis as they join the party.
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