Autumnal dining table place setting. harvest partyAs the air turns crisp, the season for cozy get-togethers with friends and family has returned. Here’s how to celebrate autumn with a fall harvest party complete with soup, sips and sweet treats.

Party preparation

Set a party date and spread the word, either via simple emails or Facebook event invites, artful digital invitations like the “fall entertaining invitations” from or paper cards you purchase or make yourself. If weather permits, plan to host your party outside with an outdoor fireplace or fire pit as a cozy focal point. (Freestanding patio fireplace options are available starting at $80 from home improvement stores and online retailers).

Autumn ambiance

Decorate with candle-lit pumpkin lanterns (carved for function rather than frightfulness), centerpieces with fall-colored dahlia blooms and a bucket or cornucopia overflowing with mini pumpkins. Create a playlist of party tunes or find an appropriate pre-made list from a streaming music service. Pair your playlist with a speaker with enough oomph to cover your party scene, such as one of the portable Bluetooth varieties.

Fall food

Spice up your favorite store-bought or homemade cider with fruit slices, cardamom pods and cloves for an irresistible kick. Consider a selection of bottled hard ciders and seasonal brews as well. For an autumn take on the typical cheese platter, roll and press your favorite cheeses into apple shapes, coat them with smoky paprika and garnish with stems on top. A cheddar beer stew in bread bowls makes for a hearty main course.

Tasty treats

Set up a campfire donut station for guests to partake in the joy of warm fresh-made donuts (provide adult supervision for the younger donut chefs). For more sweet treats, use leaf, apple and pumpkin cookie cutters to bake and decorate a spread of autumn cookies. Homemade caramel or chocolate dipped apples topped with nuts or sprinkles make a great party favor to send home with guests.

However you choose to celebrate the season, may your autumn be an amazing one!