New Traditions: Theme Parties

Winter in Ohio can be such a gloomy time, that sometimes we have to create our own fun. Here are a few tried-and-true ideas that are relatively easy to make happen and should liven things up during this cold season.

Winter in Ohio can be such a gloomy time, that sometimes we have to create our own fun. Here are a few tried-and-true ideas that are relatively easy to make happen and should liven things up during this cold season.

Weekend brunch:

What’s better on a gray and snowy Saturday or Sunday than friends getting together for a late-morning brunch? You might even urge everyone to wear PJs. Have light jazz playing, and if there’s a fireplace on premises, fire it up. The menu should include mimosas of orange juice with cheap champagne (serve in wine glasses), a breakfast casserole you can pre-make and bake right before party time, a tray of donuts and other pastries and a bowl of colorful fresh fruit. This is a good low-key party, geared to relaxation and conversation, that could accommodate a sizable guest list.

Beer tasting:

Invite your friends who love craft beers over and ask them to each bring a six pack of their favorite brew. Focus on all-Ohio or even Akron-Canton area breweries to add local flavor. Have everyone taste the same beer at once and offer their thoughts, using small plastic cups for tasting. Perhaps the person who brought the beer can offer an introduction. It might be best to cap the party at eight beers to sample; too many could get unwieldy. A good food accompaniment would be a big pot of chili (possibly made with beer) and multiple toppings (shredded cheese, onions, sour cream, Fritos), plus plenty of salty snacks to absorb the alcohol. A good door prize might be a set of beer glasses, a growler, bottle opener or gift card to an area brewery; the winner could be the person who brought the most popular beer.

Movie party:

Before compiling your guest list, think about which of your friends truly love movies, what genre they might all enjoy and how many people could be seated comfortably around your flat-screen TV. There are many thematic possibilities, from teen flicks (“Clueless,” “The Breakfast Club”) to romances (“Pretty Woman,” “The Notebook”) to musicals (“Hairspray,” “Dreamgirls”) to action flicks (“Pulp Fiction,” “Die Hard”) to horror (“Scream,” “Silence of the Lambs”). It might be best to go with shorter and lighter movies, although depending on your crowd, a double feature of subtitled art films might work. Food-wise, stick to popcorn (the buttery or kettle-corn varieties) and soft drinks (with alcohol added, if desired). Have a movie-trivia contest related to the movie and its stars, with candy bars as prizes. Tell everyone to dress comfortably.

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass