autumn table

Whether you’re throwing a Halloween celebration or having folks over to watch the World Series, or just planning an autumn dinner party, you can add in fall themes to give it that extra memorable impression for your guests.

1. Use the elements. You’ve got leaves, pinecones, gourds and abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables to incorporate. We so often forget about the natural world right outside our door. It provides an abundance of decoration as well as nutrition.

Autumn leaves in reds, yellows and browns can make a gorgeous centerpiece or accent to your holiday table.  Leaves can even be tucked into wine glasses, or try tying them around your guests’ silverware with a piece of string, burlap or vine.

2. Hang name cards off of pinecones or decorative gourds. 

3. Pumpkins can be carved out and filled with fresh bouquets of flowers. Hollow out your pumpkin (and make sure to save the seeds!), fill a glass or jar that’s shorter than the pumpkin with water and add your flowers.  Maybe there are some seasonal wildflowers growing in your yard you can use.

But honestly, no one will care if you seat them at a card table with no centerpiece, wobbly legs and your annoying boss, if your food is amazing. It’s that simple. But you don’t have to knock yourself out to make a delicious meal.

4.Use your local farmers markets for ideas. Cranberry stuffed anything is usually pretty amazing. Pumpkin ravioli with sage will probably get you a raise. One of my favorite fall dishes is pumpkin risotto. The constant stirring is kind of a work out (I said kind of!), and there’s really not much yummier than a rich and pumpkiny creamy risotto to make you feel warm and cozy. Pair it with a good Chianti, serve it with a side salad of seasonal greens, beets and toast those pumpkin seeds you carved out of your centerpiece to add on top, and no one will even want dessert.

5. Keep dessert classic to keep it easy.  Apple pie, sweet potato pie, pumpkin spice cake and even caramel apples (you can slice them and caramelize the slices for grown ups) all embody the season and never go out of style.

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Photo: ElinB