While the fall chill has arrived, don’t let it dissuade you from utilizing your patio. An outdoor gathering remains the safest option, and with the right touches, your outdoor space can be just as comfortable and welcoming.
So bring on the outdoor home tailgate parties, Halloween bashes, and socially-distant dinner soirees.
Snuggle up with a cozy throw (times however many guests are coming).
A cozy blanket is one of the best ways to keep you warm and toasty. Not only do they echo the fall vibe, but they are a warm element that can move with your guests as seating is rearranged to maintain social distancing.
For ease of use and sanitary considerations, look for blankets that are machine washable. Will kids be at the party? You can even use one of the blankets to create clear social distancing boundaries by laying it on the ground and let each kid sit on their own end.
Don’t let bugs drive you from your patio.
Citronella candles can be a wonderful way to banish bugs. But if you are not interested in lighting a flame, consider an electric bug repeller, like the Thermacell.
Make dinner easy and contact-free.
The absolute safest option is to invite your guests to bring their own — self-contained — dinner. This allows each party to be in complete control over their own food prep and handling. If you really want to make dinner, this can be done safely too.
Skip the self-serve buffet or family-style potluck. Instead, go for a grilled option — like chicken and corn on the cob, which can be individually platted using tongs.
Add an activity.
Whether it is your favorite comedy show or the hottest game in town, a projector lets you play it full screen outside! You can DIY a video screen with a curtain rod and a heavy, white sheet. Charades is another good game that can be played while maintaining social distancing.
Be prepared to turn on the lights.
Turning out the lights is a sure signal to guests they have overstayed their welcome. Don’t let Mother Nature turn the lights out prematurely. As the days grow shorter and the nights longer, having outdoor lights is an essential element to hosting a party.
Vintage string lights are a great way to develop ambiance. LED lanterns can illuminate a large space and be moved as needed. Candles can be beautiful, but make sure they are in a secure and safe location that can’t be tipped.
Keep drinks warm.
There is a reason a cup of coffee has been unofficially dubbed the ‘Seattleite’s mittens.’ A mug or cup of something toasty warms up your belly and your hands.
While your guests might want to bring their own thermos of something steamy to drink, you could also provide cups of your favorite hot chocolate or libation-infused tea. Both are simple to fix and can be served with minimal contact.
Place hand sanitizer by the door.
Inevitably, guests are going to need to use the restroom. When you send out invites, be upfront about who else is attending and the precautions you have in place to ensure safety. (Remember, everyone’s level of comfort is different. So if a friend or family member decides to politely decline, let them bow out gracefully. They are likely feeling just as sad to be missing out.)
An extra step you can take is placing hand sanitizer by the door. In addition to masks and hand washing, hand sanitizer allows guests to double up on their germ-killing assault at their own leisure.
Make sure you have extra masks.
Whether someone gets their mask dirty or they simply forgot to bring it, it is best to have a few extras on hand. Go for the disposable kind and consider packaging them individually in a plastic bag. This limits contact and allows you to quickly disperse them at a moment’s notice so that no one feels uncomfortable.
Need some extra furniture so everyone has a place to sit comfortably, 6-feet apart? Both our Seattle or Bellevue stores are regularly cleaned to ensure they are safe. Or, you can look at our selection online and call in an order.