By Sue Ann Truitt
February, the shortest month of the year, there are more holidays than in any of the longer months. Anyone who entertains often will attest to the fact that theme parties are the easiest to plan. It is the theme that coordinates the colors, decorations and foods. It also adds an element of surprise and excitement to the party. The cold drabness of the winter needs to be left at the door when the guests enter a theme party.
What qualifies February as a "Party Month"? It is not just the holidays in the second month of the New Year but the additional party possibilities as well. A February party can celebrate Super Bowl, Groundhog’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Washington’s Birthday, Lincoln’s Birthday, President’s Day, Mardi Gras, Chinese New Year, and a U.K. Wildcat Party. Suggestions for some of these parties are:
Groundhog’s Day Party – On the invitation, ask guests to wear brown. Have guests make hats out of brown paper bags to be worn during the party. Decorate with enlarged poster-size pictures of the guest of honor, the Groundhog! Prepare pieces of paper with different times. Put them in a brown hat. Have each guest write their name and time they think the ground hog will see his shadow. Draw out one piece of paper which will determine the correct time. The person who guesses closest to that time wins a prize. The prize could be a six-pack of decorated brown bottles of beer. Cover the table with a burlap cloth. In the center, place a square of heavy plastic. Mound dirt or potting soil on the plastic hollowing out a hole in the center. Place a stuffed animal resembling a Groundhog in the hole. Votive candles randomly placed on the table complete the look. The menu could feature brown foods creatively presented. Possibilities are Black Bean soup, small sandwiches on dark brown bread and chocolate mousse. Once you begin thinking along the line of a brown party, ideas spark.
Valentine’s Day Parties have been recognized with red roses and heart-shaped cakes. Changing the party into a costume party offers a different focus. Have guests and their significant other come dressed as "Two Great Lovers". Parades and prizes always turn into memorable moments. To select an interesting seating arrangement at the table, cut out a red paper heart for each guest. Then cut the heart into two pieces with angles, curves, etc. Give one half piece to each person while the other half of the heart is at a place on the table. Guests match their part of the heart to the one on the table. Random seating then takes place.
Washington’s Birthday Party could be set up as an actual birthday. Instead of cake, serve a Cherry Pie cut with a hatchet instead of a knife. Use signage to show the house as Mt. Vernon, the hostess as Martha and the host as George. Costumes for Martha and George would add a fun note. Further research will reveal other historical references.
Lincoln’s Birthday Party will provide another historical research project. The party or a portion of the party could be held at the Mary Todd Lincoln House. With the many Todd-Lincoln ties in the Lexington area, the party would be an ideal Scavenger Hunt Party.
Presidents’ Day Party – Have each invitation designate the name of a President or President’s wife. Then, the guests would arrive dressed as the assigned person or with a sign noting a famous quote from the assigned person. The menu should feature foods liked by some of the Presidents. Small signs would identify the foods. For example: Washington’s Cherry Pie, Regan’s Jelly Beans, Kennedy’s New England Clam Chowder and Lincoln’s Chicken Fricassee.
With nine party possibilities in February and 28 days, all you party people can throw a party every three days with one day left over to plan for a March party. Have Fun!