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Hosting a Fall Barbecue: 9 Points to Remember

Fall barbecues are a comfortable alternative to their summertime cousin. Cooler temperatures mean you won’t melt when you fire up the grill, most insects have called it quits for the year and you won’t find yourself glued to your seat with sweat. All in all, fall’s a great time to fire up the grill.

So how can you throw an autumn barbecue? Follow the steps below to make your outdoor soiree a smashing success.

1. Plan for Crazy Weather

Fall weather is unpredictable, especially across the Northeast and Midwest. One day it’s sunny and 80 degrees, and the next it’s windy with a high of 50.

For the most successful fall barbecue, plan for inclement weather. Weigh or otherwise tie down decorations so the wind doesn’t carry them off. If you don’t want guests traipsing through your home, clean out the garage or screened-in patio so invitees have a place to sit out of the sun or rain.

2. Send Out Formal Invites

Invites send the message, “I’m a classy adult.” Plus, an RSVP tells you how many people to plan for and how much food and other supplies to buy.

Include the basics of when and where and add information about what guests should wear. This reduces embarrassment — showing up in a dress when everyone else is in jeans can make guests feel awkward. You can also indicate whether you want people to bring along a potluck dish or whether you’ll handle the menu yourself.

3. Plan Your Menu

Did you know meat has seasons, just like produce does? If you’re barbecuing in the early fall, wild poultry like duck and pheasant come into season. It’s why we eat turkey at Thanksgiving. In late fall, beef dishes reign supreme. While factory farming means you can find the meat you crave any time of year, buying it in season improves the flavor.

Fall means pumpkin-spice everything, making planning the dessert course easy. Vegetables such as winter squash and carrots come into season, and they grill very well when skewered and brushed with olive oil.

4. Honor Dietary Restrictions

Many people follow specific diets for health or conscientious reasons. For example, those with celiac disease can get very sick if they consume gluten. Many people adopt a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle out of concern for animals and the environment.

Offer menu items tailored to meet more than one restriction. For example, whip up this cowboy caviar that’s both gluten-free and vegan. If you serve your meal buffet-style, let those with restrictions go to the front of the line to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.

5. Elevate Your Drink Game

Alcohol can drive up the cost of your fall barbecue. You can save money by allowing guests to bring their own brews. You can even make doing so fun by incorporating a wine or beer tasting and asking everyone to bring a favorite to share.

You can save money by whipping up both alcoholic and virgin punches perfect for the season. Punch bowls save you time from refilling drinks as guests can serve themselves. You can also keep the alcohol content lighter to save additional cash and prevent any unwanted issues.

6. Provide Fun Activities

Sure, you want to sit around and gab, but the best parties include fun activities for all. Have fun interactive games planned, such as charades. Break out the volleyball net and the cornhole game. Guests will appreciate the chance to burn off their meal while having a blast.

7. Build an Epic Playlist

Music creates a mood. If you want a cheery barbecue, create an epic playlist full of uplifting songs that get people dancing. Ask your guests for input, too. You can include a spot on your invitations for them to list some favorite jams to add. Then, dock your iPhone and rock on.

8. Make Cleanup Easier

Barbecues rule because they create less of a mess to clean up. You don’t have to worry about guests spilling merlot on your white carpet if you’re all outside.

Set out trash and recycling bins in advance. If you hate doing dishes, you can find eco-friendly disposable plates and cutlery that won’t end up choking marine wildlife. Silicon wine glasses won’t break and cut bare feet, and they look way better than red plastic cups.

9. Enjoy Time With Guests

Relax and have fun with your guests. If you’ve followed the above tips, your barbecue won’t require much work during the event itself. Yes, you want to win barbecue of the year, but doing so doesn’t require you to play full-time maid and butler. Mix and mingle with everyone and thank each guest for attending. They’ll look forward to your next event eagerly when they feel welcomed and relaxed.

Throwing the Perfect Fall Barbecue

Fall’s cooler temperatures make grilling more pleasurable. Why not welcome autumn by throwing a classic barbecue for your friends and family?

Author Bio:
Dylan Bartlett is a lifestyle blogger who writes about dating, relationships and similar topics on his site, Just a Regular Guide. Follow his Twitter @a_regular_guide for frequent updates!