Tips & Tricks for Hosting a Cozy Fall Gathering

Autumn is finally here—yay!—and we don't know about you, but we're feeling inspired to throw a big, magical fall dinner party. It's our favorite season, after all. Why not share it with friends and family around a beautifully set table?

But with so many recipes, fall dinner party menu ideas, and crafting projects floating around out there, it can be hard to know where to even begin. We're here to squash (!) your dinner party fears once and for all with a ton of fall recipes, fall décor ideas, and delicious, seasonal desserts that your guests will be talking about long after the party's over. Whether you're in the mood for an upgraded meat and potatoes (how does a strip steak with lemon mashed potatoes sound?) or something a little more challenging (say, a from-scratch pasta that'll delight all your friends), there's likely something for you on our list of ideas.

Of course, food's just the tip of the iceberg here. We've also got ideas for adorable, woodsy place card holders, apple tea lights, and delicious caramel apple favors that'll round out the evening nicely, while cozy decor touches will keep your home warm and your company smiling. So send out your invites, round up a few friends, and don't forget to light up your fireplace while you're at it.

Crispy Chicken Thighs With Garlic and Rosemary

The best dinner party recipes are the ones that smell heavenly, enticing your guests into your home with their aroma. This crowd-pleasing chicken dish fits the bill perfectly—and it's irresistibly crispy to boot.

Get the recipe.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

This fresh, easy-as-ever salad is bound to be a regular in your fall dinner menu rotation. Chopped apple, hazelnuts, and Pecorino cheese make it a winner. Pro tip: Serve it family-style for maximum simplicity.

Get the recipe.

Roasted Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

Comforting, homey, and simple, this sweet potato dish makes for an excellent side at any fall dinner party. It also works beautifully in your work lunchbox the next day...but that's assuming you have leftovers.

Get the recipe.

Spiced Grit-Fried Chicken Cutlets

What's better than an easy chicken dinner? We love this one, which pairs two Southern favorites (grits and fried chicken) for a taste that's simply out of this world.

Get the recipe.

Potato Gnocchi With Pork Ragù

Aiming to impress? Then forget the classics and opt for this homemade gnocchi. Topped with a delectable meat sauce, it's a fantastic and memorable entrée...but it's certainly a little on the more advanced side.

Get the recipe.

Rotisserie Chicken and Potato Chowder

The best dinner party menus are the ones that yield leftovers. Like, a lot of leftovers. This creamy soup does just that, meaning you can enjoy it for lunch the next day at work too!

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Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken With Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Asparagus

If you're not used to serving a crowd, now may not be the right time to try setting 12 different timers and using every rack in your oven. Opt for this one-pan meal instead, which lets you cook both the main course and sides at the same time. A spicy sauce keeps things flavorful.

Get the recipe.

Peanut Butter Acorns

These darling acorn-shaped treats will be polished off in no time (and are super-easy to make).

Get the recipe.

Try Hosting Outdoors

Fall weather can be unpredictable, depending on where you live, but hosting an outdoor party in fall is unexpected—and your last chance before the chilly winter months. The Drop It cups are perfect for your outdoor event. Grab the  Cocktailing Cups - Set of 4 Small Cocktail Glasses or the beautiful wine cups: LOVE on white wine glass and LOVE on clear wine glass.

Muted Color Scheme

Developing a theme is a fun part of event planning. Use it as your guide for all decisions from invitations to party favors. A theme can be as simple as selecting a color palette that is used in all the details.

Apple-Themed Centerpiece

You don't have to go over-the-top to create a stunning scene. Rather than opt for a big, dramatic centerpiece, interior designer Jenny Komenda used an apple-themed ombre effect to create something much more visually stimulating.

Hurricane lanterns are another great option for outdoor dinners. They add light for function, glow for ambiance, and their shape and size make them practical in windy settings.

Plum and Thyme Prosecco Smash

Pair a fun, seasonal beverage with your meal or appetizer, like this Plum and Thyme Prosecco Smash.

Get the recipe at My Diary of Us.

One-Pan Autumn Chicken Dinner

Planning a dinner party is hard, so make your entrée easy by cooking it one-pan style. This one pan autumn chicken dinner features all your favorite autumn veggies, with half the work.

Get the recipe at Cooking Classy.

Salted Caramel Apple Snickers Cake

No meal is complete without a comforting dessert. Put the finishing touches on your fall party with this show-stopping salted caramel apple Snickers cake.

Get the tutorial at Half Baked Harvest.

Caramel Apple Favors

If you plan on giving out a party favor, choosing something cheap, but useful or consumable. Our go-to gift for autumn? Caramel apples.

Get the recipe.

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