Host an Outdoor Winter Party | Midwest Living

Host an Outdoor Winter Party

Find the fun in cold winter days by throwing a bonfire party for friends and family.

Circle around the fire

A bonfire provides the focal point for a snow-day party. Blanket-topped hay bales surround the flames and provide easy seats. Recycled-sweater koozies protect fingers from cold drinks.

Circle around the fire

A bonfire provides the focal point for a snow-day party. Blanket-topped hay bales surround the flames and provide easy seats. Recycled-sweater koozies protect fingers from cold drinks.

Keep it hot

Like a multicourse dinner, foods come out one-by-one: zesty chicken chili cooked in an iron kettle over the fire (left), loaded slider-style hamburgers (next slide), creamy beer-cheese fondue with chunks of crusty bread and sweet apple slices (slide 5).

Warm-Me-Up Chicken Chili

Fun finger food

Hamburger Steak Sliders, cooked inside the house and carried to the party, are easy finger food. Keep hamburgers warm on a pizza stone.

Hamburger Steak Sliders

Fondue over the fire

Warm up outdoor parties with a bubbling pot of fondue. At the Ice's party, beer-cheese fondue simmers on top of a large iron griddle.

Fireside Beer-Cheese Fondue

Serve hot foods in style

Grouped on a tray, vintage plaid insulated bottles offer steaming soups and drinks.

For some of our favorite hot-drink recipes, click on the link below.

21 hot drink recipes

Simple cold drinks

Why bother with ice? Freezing temps keep bottled beverages cold. For a festive display, serve drinks in a partitioned vintage box and metal pail, cushioned with soft snow.

Frosted Mitten cookies

Sugar cookies pair nicely with hot chocolate, served together on a tray or in a box.

Frosted Mitten Sugar Cookies

Easy snacks

Paper-wrapped cups hold pretzel sticks -- a quick midparty snack.

Keeping warm

A guest decides which coat to snag from a shovel "coat hook." Shovels, anchored in 3-foot-high drifts, act as holders offering tartan wool coats and nubby blankets. Vintage bushel baskets store fleece scarves, mittens and hats for those who need extra layers.

Light the way

Heavy-duty luminarias, made from snow-filled metal pails and candleholders, outline a path during the day -- and light it at dusk.

Double-duty decor

Vintage snowshoes, wooden skis, toboggans and sleds accent the party area as decor -- and double as activities.

Jar lanterns

Hanging lanterns crafted from mason jars and wire are lit as the sun sets.

When the temperature drops

Party guests stay toasty by the fire, which blazes until people leave around midnight.

No one minds when the sun sets and temperatures drop. In fact, it feels as if the party is just getting started. Hotdogs appear from the house to roast over the steady fire. Enamelware coffee cups are refilled with hot drinks. Chatter and laughter continue late into the night.

For Audrey, watching her family members enjoy themselves makes the party planning and preparation all worth it.

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