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by JEANINE BEHR GETZ

From Halloween to Valentine’s Day and all around the calendar, the “Holiday Party” is not just meant for December anymore.

Perhaps you have recently been invited to a fabulously scary Halloween gathering, a post Turkey Trot moveable feast or even a naughty or nice Valentine’s party?

Brett Galley and Co. at Hollywood POP let us in on the new party trends, gives us some DIY secrets and shares five easy steps for planning the perfect Holiday Party.

 

Everyone loves a good party, anytime of year. But for some, like me, planning and executing a perfect party seems relatively daunting! I am anxious to learn five easy steps from HPG. You all always have great advice and such creative ideas.

Designing a celebration can be as simple or as extravagant as you want it to be. For the occasions we get to share with our clients or friends and family, holidays are usually the most creative times of the year. People are looking for different ways to celebrate without always going in conventional directions. We put this easy guide together for your readers and share some of our DIY secrets too.

 

Great, thank you! So what should be our first step?

Easy enough! Step 1: Pick a holiday.  From an intimate Christmas dinner party, to a more extravagant  Halloween costume ball,  to a New Year’s Eve cocktail party to ring in the upcoming year!

 

I must ask, what is an example of a wildly extravagant Holiday Party that HPG has organized?

Halloween is definitely an office favorite at HPG headquarters. Hollywood POP created the extravaganza that once took over Greenwich’s Belle Haven with haunted houses and innovative themes such as “Frankenstein’s wedding”.  Bette Midler’s ‘Hulaween’ fundraising gala in support of the New York Restoration Project is an annual treat to be a part of.  For Hulaween’s 20th Anniversary in 2015, we re-created Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” with a troupe of dancing zombies that were later featured in VOGUE magazine. HPG ghostly attendants of “American Scarelines” greeted guests as they entered the star-studded event.

The key to every memorable holiday party is to give people something they are not expecting.

 

With Halloween around the corner, what is the next “easy” step?

Step 2: Pick a theme. People always remember the details and out of the ordinary experiences. Whether you have a group of five for dinner at home or an office-wide costume ball for 200 applying the theme to everything from the food served to the entertainment will etch your event in your guests’minds.

 

What are a few trending themed ideas for small cocktail parties?

We’ve arranged a magical master to host a séance, booked private cooking lessons for dinner parties. Game nights can also be fun. Hiring an actor to host your own version of the Newlywed Game, charades or Ellen’s trending Heads Up.

Theme out your party in a quirky way. Throw an alphabet cocktail party- Pick a letter- Call it a “B” party. Let your guests know it will B- FUN, they should B-ON TIME, from clothing to food, drinks & décor, everything will start with the letter “B.” Guests can wear Black, Blue, or Brown and accessorize with a Barred scarf, Bifocals or a Beret. Serve Bloody Mary’s and munch on Biscotti. Create a  Balloon design not to be Believed! Most of all prepare to B-significant!

 

8Sounds like a Bona fide good time! Onto Step 3, what’s our next step?

Step 3: Focus on the Food! The “what we eat” movement and creative food presentation are very relevant trends impacting menu choices. Many events and hosts are putting a focus on food and not just on where it is sourced from but also how their guests will experience the look and taste of what is served.

 

Of course I have to ask for some new food trend examples…

The food carts versus food trucks dichotomy seems to be a more recent shift in catering. While food trucks are still popular, many clients are bringing various mobile food carts indoors giving guests a personal food truck experience to dining. As guests mingle or sit at tables, themed food carts travel around the party with just about any type of food you can think of: French Fry carts with various types of salts from around the world and dipping sauces; burrata carts with fresh local cheese and flavorful toppings, or on the theme of winter holidays a latke cart with a variety of accompaniments to make guests the perfect bite.

Some other trends are incorporating a coffee shop serving freshly made donuts, hot chocolate and coffee drinks to your guests before the bear the bitter cold. This always makes guests leave with a smile. Nostalgic Candy Shoppes with classic treats are a hit, no matter the age.

 

I attended a farm to table themed dinner party this summer, where the host prepared most everything from his garden and then gave each of his guests a basket of garden goodies with recipes to take home. Heavenly.

No doubt as farm to table restaurants are popping up more and more and the trend is spilling over into events and dinner parties as well.

 

4So far so good, steps 1-3 seem manageable. What is Step 4?

Step 4 of course is to Deck it Out!  To send a holiday party above and beyond we find that the most well-received touches at parties are those that are personal to the host and in turn those touches make their guests feel more welcomed.

We designed a  “Down Home Holiday” for a private client. They loved their ranch out in Colorado but couldn’t take everyone out there so we brought Colorado to the east coast! With touches of rattan, mounted game on the walls, and a custom faux birch bar, we took inspiration from items you might have found out west and incorporated them into a cozy and wintery lodge design.

For a Christmas party, the host loved jewel tones, so that drove the design. We gave conventional items like ornaments a twist by putting them inside ice sculptures that chilled exotic varieties of caviar.

Taking small decorative items and repurposing them into another design can be simple to do and impressive to your guests.

Here are some cute HPG recommended DIY ideas for Thanksgiving themed table decorations.

Photo Table Runner5

Roses, Mums & Broom Cob in a Pumpkin “Vase”

Rosemary Sprig Place Cards

 

Very creative DYI links. I have some rosemary in my garden that will be sprucing up my Thanksgiving Table. What is the last easy step to planning a perfect holiday party?

Step 5: Hire Off-Beat Holiday Entertainment

It’s ok to go a little left field and trust your guests have a sense of humor. Offbeat entertainment often grabs our corporate clients looking to give their audiences something different from the typical office celebration.

 

 

I am a fan of offbeat, what are some entertainment ideas for our readers?

We are HUGE fans of bringing in big names in entertainment, street musicians, lookalike performers, and comedians to fit any event theme, budget and party genre. For a memorable event in the whirlwind era of ‘Gangnam Style,’ our clients asked HPG to arrange a performance for their holiday gathering and that’s just what we gave them! The look-a-like and dancers were so convincing, the guests actually thought it was the artist Psy at the party. And…nothing says ‘Tis the Season’ like several sassy Coyote-style dancer/bartenders who brought their tantalizing moves & outrageous antics to a private holiday party, getting guests to dance with them on the bar all night! (Santa put a few more on his Naughty List after that one). For another party, we organized bringing in street musicians, their raw rhythm and urban rendition of “The Little Drummer Boy” gave a stylish vibe to the party.

 

10These 5 steps are a great guide for our readers.

  • Pick a holiday
  • Pick a theme
  • Focus on the food
  • Deck it out
  • Look for off -beat entertainment

 

Maybe there are 6th, 7th and 8th steps?

Again, there could be 5 or 25 steps, depending how big or small you want to make your holiday party. But these 5 are solid steps to make it happen. For your readers, HPG is always an email or call away if they need some assistance with one or all steps!

And remember what happens at your Holiday party ……stays at your Holiday party!

“Live for today , plan for tomorrow & party tonight!”

 

Thank you HPG. Happy Holidays to all have fun planning and partying!