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Fall Party Ideas

When it comes to fall party ideas, I can’t help but think of parties with lots of food. Cool weather just makes me want to eat. I can practically smell the clam chowder cooking in the kitchen!

Fall Party IdeasThere are lots of fun casual parties that are perfect for fall, like chili cookoffs and football parties, and of course Halloween parties. But I also like the fact that fall opens up opportunity for stylish parties like wine tasting parties or beer tastings, casual musical recitals in my home, and fondue parties (ohhh, for the love of cheese)!

October is when most of us kick off our fall party ideas, but I start thinking of Fall in the dog days of summer. My fall party planning begins in August!

Each year, my friends Tiffany and Larry open up their garage (nicknamed the "Black Dog Salon") for the best fall celebration outside of Halloween parties: their Annual Chili Cook-Off. You might be inspired to do a chili cook off of your own, but these fall party ideas would work for hot-wing cook offs, clam chowder competitions and more.

Fall Party Ideas

Fall Party Ideas: Chili Cook Off Ideas

If you're thinking about an easy party idea that everyone will enjoy, a chili cook off has it all. From Texas to Ontario, from Alaska to Alabama, regional cooks all claim to have the best chili. Now's your chance to prove it! Put it to a test.

My friends, who happen to also be neighbors, invite dozens of people to enter their best chili contest. Chili recipes range from mild to over-the-top hot. People really get creative too. Some chilies are Texas style, others are inspired by Indian food, Cajun food, smoked meats, seafood, wild game, you name it.

Here's what Larry and Tiffany do to make their cook-off a great success:

Send out e-invitations or snail mail cards, or get postcards or professional invitations online. If you want to go all out, you could print up custom T-shirts or aprons for your event.

Have each guest who wants to compete bring Chili in a crock pot (so that it can be kept warm). The chili receives a number so that the name of the person who made it is kept anonymous. Fall Party Ideas

Provide small cups and spoons so that each guest can try all the chili entries.

Pass out slips of paper with the numbers 1, 2, and 3 printed on each slip. Every guest (whether he or she entered or not) writes in his first, second, and third choice.

Finally, tally up the votes and award prizes. Here see my hubby with a repurposed old trophy.

Creative Chili Cook Off Prize Ideas

The first year Tiffany hosted the Chili cook off party, she want to give creative trophies. I remembered that I'd seen lots of discarded trophies at thrift stores for as cheap as a dollar.

Of course, they weren't chili cook off trophies, but instead old football, cheerleading, and basketball trophies.

She purchased three trophies (one for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place). chili Cook Off

To make them into chili themed prizes she hot glued red chili peppers on top of the footballs, basketball, etc. The trophies are hysterical (and cheap)! The idea stuck and she's repeated it every year.

The benefits of having a chili cook off are easy to see. People love it and you don't have to do all the cooking!

It's nice to provide a few side dishes like corn bread, chips, cheese, sour cream, and chopped onions. Since the guests provide most of the food, the hosts of our annual chili cookoff provide the beverages.

The hosts also provide some fun outdoor games and activities like cornhole and lawn bowling games. These games are great for adults and kids alike!

Who are the guys in the photos? Why it's Larry, the host and owner of the Black Dog Salon, and my husband who happened to win 1st place in the 2011 Chili Cook Off Contest. Yes, I'm pretty proud!

Fall Party Ideas

Will your fall party ideas include a chili cook off? If so, check out our Red Hot Chili Pepper Shop below for great chili cookoff party supplies.


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