the low-stress way to throw a party

i'll be honest. that title is a bit misleading because i wouldn't actually know how to throw a party without stressing out. so i won't have any nuggets there, but i'll tell you what happened on Wednesday when we hosted our extended family for Halloween & trick-or-treating.

both my husband and i are procrastinators. not a good combo. i had already bought all the "decorations" and food that i needed, but everything else was left until Wednesday. Reese goes to preschool Wednesday so i figured it'd be no problem to get everything done. except that she's the easy one.

the baby decided she wasn't going to nap so i strapped her into the carseat and drove around the block a few times. she totally fell asleep, transferred perfectly... and woke up twenty minutes later. screaming and needing me to hold her.

the only thing i got accomplished during that nap? writing an email. completely unrelated to the party or anything else relevant.

so she was awake and i had pumpkin muffins to bake, chili to get started in the crockpot, the meat to brown, a pumpkin pie to make for my first time ever, the entire garage to set up and streamers to hang... along with everyday life things. like taking a shower and brushing my teeth.

after 30 minutes of mutli-tasking-while-holding-her, by the grace of God she did go back to sleep. and it was crunchtime. i got a good portion of the cooking done and started with the streamers.

i know what you're thinking: streamers? and you're right. i'm one of those people who is a perfectionist about some things and not about others. certain things matter to me and other things don't. party decor is one of those things that doesn't matter very much to me. streamers were my low-stress plan.

and here's how they turned out:

* disclaimer: all the photos will be grainy and terrible. i don't use a camera anymore, just my phone.

not too bad except it ended up taking a lot longer than i'd anticipated.

everything else was store bought. disposable tablecloths, cheesy Halloween paper plates & napkins, and plastic-ware i had leftover from last year. nothing fancy, but everyone got fed and everyone had fun.

so, even though i'm not super picky about the decor, i'm still a perfectionist about what little i do plan, if that makes sense. i still have to make sure the low standard i've set is met to my liking. it's a very strange concept but it's just the way i am.

here are the stages of party planning for me:

 • brainstorm a hundred cute and creative ideas.
 • estimate the time and cost of all that, and start scaling things down dramatically.
 • get to the store and realize i can buy the cheesier stuff for half the price and change my whole plan altogether.
 • procrastinate and stress like crazy the day of, and start cutting things out of the already-pared-down plan.
 • get a few things done and decide it looks fine and it would be a better idea to take a shower than try to add one last project into the mix.
 • relax and enjoy the people instead of the decorations that'll be thrown away in a few hours anyway

the thing is, we're making memories for our kids. and though Tessa will  never remember her first Halloween, Reese will definitely remember the one where she went as Strawberry Shortcake and she stayed in character until the wig came off and all her cousins came over for pizza and trick-or-treating and they ran around the front yard for hours and she eventually passed out at 11pm when she could finally accept that the party was over.  those are the things we'll remember. the decorations at the party? not so much.

so, i guess what i'm trying to say is, if your gifting and talents lie in creating magical parties with all the amazing details, please do all of it! and enjoy it and take pretty pictures too, so i can look at them in awe... but if that's not your gifting and it stresses you out? don't worry about it! don't do them. just enjoy yourself and the memories that won't be thrown away at the end of the night. oh, but also try not to procrastinate.


  1. I LOVE the SSC costume!! So cute! And good for you to throw a "stress" free party...my kinda party! :)

  2. LOL so true.. I do the same thing when planning parties.. it's always an interesting moment when I hit the store and realize that I can save a ton of time and money by just getting the premade stuff in the party aisle. By the way, LOVE your blog.

  3. Oh my goodness...you and I are exact opposites. I'm the one who is trying to cram "little" projects in until the very last minute, barely finding time to shower...and by the time the guests arrive, I'm so frazzled that I can hardly enjoy the party, much less be good company for anyone. I NEED to be more like you! {p.s. My hubs is a HUGE procrastinator!}