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Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip for June 2007

Party Planning, Part II: Things You Might Forget to Bring When You Plan a Party Somewhere Else

After years of organizing them, we've gotten pretty good at bringing all the supplies to parties outside our home (see April's tipsheet on why it may make sense to move your party somewhere else). But I remember scrambling around at other parties, trying, for instance, to put food away when we didn't have the supplies and the original packaging couldn't be reused (as is often the case).

While every party is different, these are some things you may want to bring:

Plates
Cutlery
Cups (hot and cold, if you're serving hot drinks)
Corkscrew
Matches, if there's a gas stove (very handy if the pilot or electronic ignition doesn't work)
Portable sound system adequate to fill the room
Music to play on it
Flashlight to help you see the connectors as you assemble and disassemble the sound system
Serving bowls
Serving utensils
Cutting knives
Spreading knives (for cheese, hummus, etc.)
Empty containers with lids
Plastic wrap
Rubber bands and/or clothespins/clips (for reclosing things like bags of chips)
Finger food: salty, sweet, spicy
Main dish food
Beverages
Desserts
Cooler with ice
Trash bags (a trash bag was really handy when the box of 300 plastic knives, forks, and spoons couldn't be closed again at our last party)
Reading glasses, in case people send messages ahead
Blank book and/or posterboard for people to write nice things in
If it's a charity event, a donation can (old coffee cans with a slot cut in the plastic lid work fine)
Whatever it is that you're showing off at the party (examples: If the party is for your newly adopted child, bring not only the kid but pictures of your first moments together, etc. if it's a book release party, make darn sure you bring your books!)
A checklist of all the things you need to take home again!

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