Love it or hate it, winter is coming to a close. Celebrate its exit, last blast, or even the Full Worm Moon (eww) with an outdoor gathering after the sun goes down. Start by designating a meeting spot: backyard, porch, nearby public greenspace. If you have a yard, there’s nothing like a fire pit to keep things toasty, so stock up on dry wood and kindling. Small non-permanent fire pits are available, start at around 24 inches, and don’t require any digging – just a flat nonflammable surface. However, if a fire pit isn’t in the cards, an alternative focal point can be constructed creatively by filling a group of mason jars with tealights to emit flickering light, or wrapping logs with string lights: It’s all about the glow.
March weather can be a fickle trickster but most likely it’s going to be cold, if not freezing. Prepare by gathering blankets and amassing throw pillows to add color, pattern, and softness to lawn chairs – or be all “Friends” and take the couch outside. Invite guests to bring their own blankets, too. Stock up on extra masks, mittens, gloves, and caps, which are most likely on clearance right now. Consider assembling a “comfy crate” for each guest, complete with a lantern or light stick, blanket, and pillow. Solar path lighting, strings of lights, votives in jars, or paper bag luminaries with battery-operated candles are among other effective methods.
What’s a party without food? Keep the chills at bay with thermoses topped off with hot cider and cocoa, along with plenty of mugs. Red wine, cheese boards, apps, and s’mores are perfect for a socially distant campfire night. If planning on serving dinner, consider setting up a buffet indoors where guests can load plates one at a time and six feet apart before heading back outside, or pick up a tailgating buffet kit that includes aluminum pans, wire rack, and Sterno brand cooking fuel, which is non-toxic and biodegradable. Better yet, simplify your hosting by ordering take-out from your favorite restaurant(s).