A potluck dinner is an excellent way to spend time with friends and loved ones without having to bear the entire burden of cooking an elaborate meal for a large group of people all by yourself. If an autumn-themed potluck dinner is on the horizon, you can spice up the party by suggesting a seasonal theme.
Although a potluck dinner party may seem like an anything-goes affair, they generally work best when one person acts as coordinator to ensure the overall meal will cover all the necessary culinary bases. For a harvest-themed potluck occurring in the fall, ask any gardeners on the guest list to serve up a dish featuring freshly harvested vegetables from their gardens. Autumn leaves can be a decorative party motif, augmented by small gourds and dried corn cobs. For an added touch, use a hollowed-out pumpkin as a serving bowl for a dip.
A Halloween potluck allows participants to demonstrate their creativity through both their costumes and their cuisine. There are numerous spooky recipes that can be used, such as rat-shaped mini-meatloaf spattered with a blood-red tomato sauce, or cookies shaped like eyeballs and witches' fingers. A Halloween potluck can be topped off with a costume contest, with different prizes for various categories, while spooky music and sound effects will add an appropriately scary touch.
An Oktoberfest theme has a lot to offer potluck participants, who can bring such traditional dishes as savory German sausage, tangy sauerkraut and, of course, plenty of German beer. This is an ideal theme for a backyard barbecue party, and polka music can contribute to the festive atmosphere. Menu ideas can include German sausages, schnitzel, sauerkraut, kohlrouladen (German cabbage rolls), spaetzle (a type of German noodle) and, for dessert, a fruit strudel.
With vegetarianism becoming a popular option for many people, try hosting a vegetarian potluck featuring meat-free dishes that even non-vegetarians will enjoy. After assigning each guest a specific type of food (appetizer, salad, dessert, etc.), ask them to do some research and find a vegetarian dish they can easily prepare. It's a good idea to check in on everyone's choices to avoid any potential duplication. Ideas run the gamut, and could include any number of choices, such as a garden vegetable stew to middle-eastern lentil-bulgur loaf.
- My Recipes: Plan a Backyard Oktoberfest
- Notecook: Typical Easy German Potluck Ideas
- My Happy Halloween: Tips to Host a Halloween Potluck Party
- AllRecipes.com: Halloween Bloody Baked Rats
- HGTV; Party Planner - Potluck; Marissa Ponikowski
- BNET; A Moveable Feast - Vegetarian Potluck - Recipe; Patsy Jamieson; December 1999
- Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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