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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all! Just curious, I've seen posts lately about how many of you have parties for upwards of 50 or more people! I aspire to that, but how do you do it cost wise with food and alcohol? Im planning on 25 with my party and between food, alcohol, and favors (which favors I do to an excess) it already is hundreds of dollars! Do you have people bring food? Alcohol? We are providing both but maybe in the future to have more people enjoy the party we could have them bring dishes or drinks as well. I just can't even fathom hosting an even with more than 25 people! But I would love to!
 

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I mentioned in another thread that we have a Halloween potluck every year. We supply the plates, napkins, eating utensils and a couple of food dishes. Everyone else brings something to contribute. I think you'll find that most people enjoy coming up with something special for a Halloween meal. One year a friend went by an international food mart near his house and picked up some insect related food items from other countries. It had the appropriate "ick" factor, but we had fun trying them anyway. And just for future reference, silk worm pupa have an earthy taste to them. LOL So give the potluck idea a try sometime, it definitely makes things easier on you.
 

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Agreed - provide utensils, plates, napkins, a main dish or two, bottled water, candy, cookies or donuts, and ask folks to bring dishes and beverages potluck style is a great way to go about it.
 

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One of the ways we cut down on expense is to make a couple of stew/chili dishes that really go far for your money. We tend to do a white chicken chili and make a big patch of cornbread - both relatively inexpensive per serving. And leftovers can be frozen for both, so we deliberately make a larger batch than we think we'll need. A few family members will also bring some items for us, so that certainly helps too.

Forgive me for not remembering, but someone here recently suggested having a "contest" by asking guests to bring a food item, and then people could vote on on the dishes for prizes - scariest dish, tastiest dish, most disgusting-looking dish, etc. You encourage people to be creative as well as end up getting a good amount of variety & cut down on your own expense - genius! :D

We don't drink much soda, but starting in September, we pick up some cases here & there when they are on sale, and then the expense doesn't come all at once. We also make sure to buy stuff that can be re-used each year - vinyl tablecloths, plain orange or black cups & plates so that if some are leftover, we just save them in a bin for the next year, etc.

I think most people are happy to bring a dish or drink to a party, as long as they know in advance that it's appreciated or helps out. Perhaps calling them to say that you want to keep your party going but you're tight on finances, and would they be willing to bring a dish or alcohol to share? Just be sure to plan it a little so that you don't end up with 18 desserts & no main dish, KWIM? Ha ha!

 

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Discussion Starter #6
Great ideas! Yea after this year I'm definitely going to start at the very least doing byob because alcohol for a big party just gets to be so expensive! Thank you all for your input! :D
 

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I make the main dish and one side and a couple dessert then I ask half of my guests to bring side dishes and the other half to bring desserts and its a bring your own liquer/beer. I used to ask people to bring just food but then everyone brougt dessert so by asking half to bring an actual side dish I don't end up with all desserts being brought.
 

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I provide all the food and alcohol and it does get pricey. I just look for the best deals I can and spread out purchases like plates, napkins, etc. I usually have about 50 people. I don't do favors but I do provide prizes for the costume contest. People always ask if they can bring something and last year I started saying yes!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That's the thing is I do like to provide food and alcohol because then i can get it to match my theme! I could just never do it for more than 30 to 40 people and that's the issue. When you put so much time, energy and money into props and setting up you want as many people as possible to enjoy it!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That's the thing is I do like to provide food and alcohol because then i can get it to match my theme! I could just never do it for more than 30 to 40 people and that's the issue. When you put so much time, energy and money into props and setting up you want as many people as possible to enjoy it!
 

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We've always bought in bulk and we typically have between 50-70 people.

Our menu is typically as follows:

Chick-fil-a chicken strip tray with choice of sauce
Crock pot of taco dip
Chex mix
Muddy buddies
Peanut/candy corn mixture (tastes EXACTLY like a PayDay bar)
Chips and dip
A cheeseball of some sort
cookies/cupcakes
And we'll typically have a cake.
 

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I would also stress that you organize who brings what. We started supplying the food plus drinks because after all the years doing parties, our guests have gotten lazy about what to bring. We ended up with a lot of salsas and chocolate chip cookies and nothing sustainable for a long evening. But if you have nice friends, you can tell them what kind of dish you are looking for from. Then you will have a nice mix of apps, meaty dishes and desserts.
 

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I belong to a local "Diner's Club" which is kind of a floating potluck that is held once a month. Each month a volunteer hosts at their home and for the past several years we've been hosting for October. We provide some alcohol, a main dish and maybe a side dish or desert. For the main dish this year we're providing pulled pork and Texas Chili. Both of which freeze well so they can be made ahead and just thawed and heated up for the party. One thing we do to offset the hosts expenses is hold a 50/50 raffle where the host gets half the pot and the winner gets the other half. People also bring small prizes that are raffled off before the big drawing. The raffle money has never come close to meeting what we spend, but every little bit helps.
 

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It can get pricey but it doesn't have too. For me, how much I spend changes from year to year depending on bank account and time. I have always asked my guests to bring something -- either spirits or horror- devours to share. For several years I had a contest and it really worked. Some times there was way too much food. But I agree with wanting things to look a certain way and go along with my theme so I make the food and drinks I want to set the stage and let me guest's contribution supplement.
 

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We supply all the food. We tried the everyone bring something and it was a lot of the same thing...or no one brought anything. My tip on the food is to plan ahead. Think of what you are going to make food wise and what all it takes to make things and through out the months prior to the party when you go to the grocery start looking at the items and expirations dates. Start buying anything that will store until your party. We have had crackers and barbeque sauce months ahead of time.
Drinks on the other hand, we supply pop and jello/pudding shots and we make a specialty drink or 2. If they want anything other than that we ask that they byob.
 

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We're pretty lucky when it comes to cutting expenses. I know alcohol is expensive but fortunately we come from a large family of nondrinkers so we don't have to worry about paying for that. Soft drinks and lemonaid are much cheaper so it allows us to spend a little more on food. I would imagine if we did want alcohol at a party, the complexity of food would decrease. So instead of a large taco bar with all the fixings, we would make a large pot of stew that's relatively cheap per serving. Its about balancing a budget and deciding where its okay to cut back to save a little and where it isn't.
 

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I have found that when I supply a main course, it never gets eaten. Also, anything that I make that's "spooky" never gets eaten either. So I whip up a few dips in the crockpots, do a puking pumpkin with guacamole, and a few other snacks. I always have the party around 7pm, as well as announce on the invitation that I will serve snacks. People will get that they need to eat dinner before the party. As for alcohol, I usually make a specialty punch and provide pop (MN represent) and water. I don't hand out favors, but I do give out prizes for the costume contest. That adds up. Last year, I had an assortment of wines and craft beers for the winners to choose from. Overall, it doesn't break the bank.
 

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We are having a "stuff your own baked potato" party. We bake the potatoes everyone brings something to stuff it with, chili, cheese...
 

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We supply all the food and drink. Some folks bring something anyway (even when we specify for them to just bring themselves and an appetite) which gets mixed into the shuffle.
We shop at Aldi's - very good food, even better price. But we also look for specials starting in August of things that will keep. I just bought 10 2-liter bottles of coke products at Acme for $1.00 a bottle. Also, we live near a potato chip company, Herr's of Oxford, PA, which has some great deals at the factory store.
Menu is pretty basic, 2 crock pots of chili, a few dozen hot dogs, honey-baked kielbasa, wings, salad, cornbread, shrimp brain mold, hors d'oeuvres, snacks, dip, and plenty of desserts.
The rest, well, we like to entertain so figure the expense as part of the process.
 

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Kenneth- I would love to have your peanut/candy corn recipe!! :)

I normally have 50+ people show up, but I start the party a little later (7:30-8ish) and provide light appetizers that I buy from Costco, so set up is easy and provides just the right amount of food. I also get 2 kegs of beer and let people know that if they prefer something else to drink, then they need to provide it. Hope that helps! :)
 
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