An Irish party needs a green and gold color scheme, whether your party is on or near March 17th to honor St. Patrick or around June 16th to celebrate Bloomsday, the first day of the narrative of "Ulysses" by James Joyce. Encourage your guest to wear green or period costumes to the party, and hold a contest to see which guests do the best job of representing the theme.
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Decorations to Set the Stage
Real and artificial shamrocks set a festive tone on your porch, doorstep and throughout your house. Shape cardboard shamrocks into garlands and drape them over your front door and indoor windows, or build a huge shamrock from cardboard to arch over your front door. Rainbows and pots of candy covered with gold foil decorate corners, indoors and out. Use a giant rainbow as wall decor or a smaller version for a table centerpiece.
Colored Foods and Irish Traditions
Both children and adults get into the party mood with food and drinks that you've dyed green with food coloring or sprinkled with green and gold sugar sprinkles. For children, serve green milkshakes, green dyed hard-boiled eggs and green cupcakes. For adults, go with Irish beers dyed green and traditional Irish favorites made with modern twists, such as soda bread with an assortment of Irish cheeses, corned beef and cabbage sliders, Irish sausages, and cake made with Irish beer.
Irish-Inspired Fun and Games
If you live in an area with an Irish-American population, invite a few Irish dancers, either children or adults, to provide entertainment at your party; include both a demonstration and dancing lessons for your guests. Or, play Irish music and ask your guests to improvise Irish jigs, handing out prizes for the most enthusiastic dancers. The Gaelic game of "heave-ho" involved tossing hay sacks with pitchforks to see who could throw the farthest, but kitchen spatulas and paper bags stuffed with newspaper work for a party game.
Let your guests make their own party favors, such as sugar cookies, decorated with green and gold sugar sprinkles and icing, or fabric crafts such as T-shirts, pillows or picture frames, painted or stamped with shamrocks -- three heart stamps with their points touching form one shamrock. For a more elaborate favor, let guest cover clothespins with green contact paper and clip them to a wire circle to form a St. Patrick's Day wreath.