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Labor Day Party Ideas
Untitled Document

LABOR DAY PARTY IDEAS

Libby Langdon’s Tips for Making the Most Out of Your Holiday


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Labor Day is on its way; break out the BBQ and be prepared to say goodbye to the summer season. Labor Day is always a great time to enjoy one last hurrah with friends and family as the kids go back to school and the adults kick it back into high gear at work. Why not slow down for one last weekend, savor the flavors of a farmers' market, enjoy the most beautiful weather of the year and curl up with friends and family by a bonfire…winter will be here before we know it!

Libby Langdon, an interior designer and expert commentator on HGTV’s hit show, Small Space, Big Style, has some great tips and ideas on how you can make the most of this holiday!

LABOR DAY PARTY IDEA #1: SCREEN A MOVIE OUTDOORS ON THE SIDE OF YOUR HOUSE

Create your own drive-in movie on the side of your house; it can be anything from Aladdin for kids, to Animal House for adults. You can rent a TV projection machine inexpensively from RentQuick.com (or maybe borrow one from a school) and hook it up to a VCR or DVD player. You can use a sheet on the side of house as a screen or even screen the image directly onto the side of your house. Create a "candy buffet" filled with Milk Duds, Mike & Ikes and licorice. Make a bunch of popcorn and big pitchers of lemonade (or margaritas!). Set out tiki torches and luminaries so folks can find their way in the dark. Ask everyone to bring, quilts, blankets or beach chairs to sit on and start the movie when it gets dark. If you want to make an entire evening out of it, put together a pot luck dinner beforehand so everyone has a chance to chat before the movie!

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LABOR DAY PARTY IDEA #2: CUBAN “SO-LONG-TO-SUMMER” SOIREE

This is for those people who have to be pulled away from summer kicking and screaming…I say why take it lying down? Get in there and whoop it up in a big way one last time! Create Havana in your backyard and stage a living room/lounge outdoors. Bring indoor chairs and tables outside, string white lights in your trees, use brightly colored or checked oilcloth tablecloths and use lots of colorful dahlias and sunflowers in vegetable cans (leave the labels on!). Use various colors of napkins and make napkin rings out of brown paper to look like cigar bands. Set out domino sets, lots of votive candles and small bottles of hot sauce on the tables. Offer cigars for after dinner and play lots of great Latin music: Tito Puente, Cesaria Evora and Buena Vista Social Club. Serve a buffet of black bean and corn salsa with chips, grilled pork tenderloin tacos with fresh tomato and cilantro, grilled fish tacos with tomatillos, grilled corn on the cob dipped in cayenne butter and grated manchego cheese, spicy coleslaw and popsicles for dessert. Add a little heat in the cocktail department with mojitos, caiprinhias, fresh limeade fizzes, peach margaritas and ice cold beer.


LABOR DAY PARTY IDEA #3: POT LUCK/RECIPE SHARE DINNER

Invite a bunch of friends who love to cook over for a pot luck dinner and then ask them to make their favorite dishes using ingredients from the farmers' market. Ask them to bring along copies of their recipe printed out to give to the other guests. You’ll enjoy a wonderful evening with other “foodies,” you don’t have to do all the cooking yourself, you’ll go home with as many new recipes as there are guests, and you can guarantee there will never be a lull in the conversation!

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LABOR DAY PARTY IDEA #4: DESSERT AND STARGAZING/FIRE PIT WITH BLANKETS

Spend an evening watching the stars with someone special. Fun with friends and family comes in quiet forms also, and this is a great way to enjoy the end of summer even as the weather starts to cool off a little in the evenings. These days you can find a fire pit (a large copper bowl that holds logs for a homemade bonfire) pretty inexpensively, particularly at the end of the summer. Be sure to set it up in a safe secure spot in your backyard, surround the fire pit with chairs and put blankets/quilts on chairs, and turn out the outdoor lights around your house. Invite friends over for a rich dessert and red wine or champagne, or just make s'mores and serve beer. Stay up late enjoying the fire and the stars, telling stories and reliving the glory days of summer.


LABOR DAY PARTY IDEA #5: FARMERS' MARKET DINNER

There is no better pleasure for a cook than to prepare a meal using produce at its peak, and Labor Day is the prime time for that. Create a menu using only fresh local produce – you’ll be supporting local farmers and enjoying all the best flavors of summer – I have great recipes for lobster/basil/corn risotto, heirloom tomato quesadillas with corn and cilantro, eggplant bruschetta, linguini with “late tomato” sauce, and peach crostata.

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LABOR DAY IDEA #6: “PUT UP” VEGETABLES FOR FEBRUARY

My sister in N.C. does this and she gets to enjoy the sweetest, most delicious summer corn on the coldest January day. It’s simple to do and nothing brightens up a meal better than fresh summer produce. I can share easy methods that don’t take up loads of time or require all sorts of special equipment. I have great cold weather recipes for corn risotto, tomato soup, spicy pepper sauce/nachos, and pasta with zucchini sauce...they will inspire you to prepare now and enjoy later!

For design tips, food and entertaining ideas and all things “Libby” go to www.libbylangdon.com

Tips provided by: Libby Langdon
Article edited by: Amy Taylor

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