First things first: Ice down cans of Schlitz, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Schaeffer's in a garbage can -- the more cheap beer the better. Supplement with bottles of Boone's Farm wine -- to be chugged straight from the bottle. Keep the blender whirring with a constant supply of margaritas (don't forget the Grand Marnier, and try a better tequila than just standard Cuervo -- a marg is no place to skimp), and play the '60s white-trash sophisticate by dying them with food coloring.
Let people know that your double-wide is the party place by driving your car up onto the lawn. Nothing screams redneck more than a junker on cinder blocks with the hood open. Plus, old license plates strung together make excellent wind chimes.
To put people in that Florida Panhandle spirit, decorate your yard with NASCAR banners, hay barrels and a kiddie pool half-filled with dirty water. Hang some ratty bras and undies from a clothesline. Encourage your peeps to dress as trashily as possible -- wife-beaters, cutoff jean shorts, trucker caps and mullets all fit the bill.
Keep the bastards happy by blasting Kid Rock and David Allan Coe while serving up tasty low-budget treats like Spam possums (Spam and cream-cheese dip molded into the shape of a possum), Tater Tots, Cheez Whiz, pigs in blankets, fried pork rinds, Jell-O Green Stuff and the pièce de résistance -- deviled eggs. And don't forget the best dessert of all time: Kitty Litter Cake -- crumbled white cake with microwaved tootsie rolls served in a brand-new kitty-litter tray. Yummy.
Take your friends on a quick jaunt to the tropics by transforming your yard into a festive Hawaiian luau. Decorate with tiki torches and surfboards; inflatable palm trees and a pool wouldn't hurt, either. To be seriously legit, though, you'd better truck in a load of sand.
At your luau, which means "feast" in Hawaiian, the menu should consist of lots of fresh fruit, particularly pineapple, papaya and mango, along with several seafood dishes. If you're truly inspired, you could even roast a pig in an imu -- a traditional Hawaiian underground oven. Cocktail selections should include frozen daiquiris, Mai Tais, Singapore Slings and Sex on the Beach. Garnish with festive umbrellas if you're short on time, or serve the drinks in cored whole pineapples for a more authentic look. (Just be sure to collect everyone's keys.)
As your guests arrive, adorn their necks with leis and seashell necklaces to complement their favorite beachwear attire -- bright flowered shirts, coconut bikini tops, grass skirts, boarder shorts and flip-flops. (You did mention attire on the e-vite, didn't you?) Get them hula-ing to the classic sounds of "Copacabana" and "Surfin' U.S.A.," then start a limbo contest. How low can you go?
To prep for a fancy-shmancy garden wine-tasting party, we turned to the downfallen domestic diva herself, Martha Stewart.
Always full of handy tips, Martha breaks it down with a "Wine Tasting Party 101" page on her website.
"For an introductory tasting, compare six wines -- three white and three red, each made from a different variety of grape," wrote the jailbird-to-be. "For the whites, try a Sauvignon Blanc, a Chardonnay and a dry Riesling. For the reds, try a Pinot Noir, a Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon." Sounds easy enough, but we recommend hitting up your local wine shop for some practical label advice. (Like this: Stay away from wine in a box.)
Martha also recommends using crystal wine glasses, which will add an element of elegance to your party -- if you actually own a matching set of wine glasses. For everyone else, we suggest using the plastic variety. There's much less broken glass to clean up the next morning if the party gets out of control.
And since baking anything as extravagant as Martha suggests takes time and, well, forethought, keep it simple with cheese and crackers, grilled veggies, and dessert trays full of mini cakes, cookies and chocolate croissants. And don't forget the water: You'll definitely want something to cleanse your palate.
Lawn Olympics 2004
In honor of the Olympics in Athens this summer, we suggest hosting a preppy, Caddyshack-themed party: all yard games, all the time.
With so many quality lawn games to choose from -- horseshoes, miniature golf, badminton, bocce ball, Frisbee, croquet -- the size of your yard will be the deciding factor. But no party would be complete without the infamous Jarts, which unfortunately are no longer manufactured. (Something to do with their oh-so-dangerous long, steel darts that "may cause injury or death." Puh-lease.) We suggest scouring your neighborhood garage sales and eBay for the contraband, because, really, what fun is a party without a little bloodshed?
Sustain your hardworking athletes by keeping the food coming and the drinks flowing. The menu should feature burgers, brats, potato salad and lots of keg beer, with Red Bull/Go Fast and vodka and tequila shots thrown in for those who are losing steam. If you're less competitive, break out the bocce ball and sangria for a lazy Italian-style afternoon.
Lacoste shirts, plaid pants and Sperry Top-Siders are the suggested attire for gentlemen; ladies can go with either a tennis skirt, Polo shirt and visor outfit or a bright Lily Pulitzer shift. Linen and seersucker suits are acceptable substitutes for both sexes.
To honor the big winners, give them homemade medals fashioned from ribbon and tin foil, and make them stand on top of blocks while you blare the "Star-Spangled Banner" extremely loud. God bless America -- and summer.
Sure you can throw fabulous parties at home, but sometimes you just want someone else to mix the cocktails. And don't worry about being on the wrong side of the velvet ropes: Public-relations guru Wendy Aiello has some insider advice on getting past the bouncers.
"Denver is a small town. It's not as hard to get on these party lists as you think," Aiello says. "There are only a handful of people in town throwing these parties, and we're pretty democratic. Find a friend who knows a friend who always gets invited, and ask them to have you added to the list."
If that doesn't work, pretend. "If you want to be sneaky, show up and casually give the doorman your name. When he says that you're not on the list, make a minor fuss. Swear that you called to RSVP, and they must have forgotten to write it down," she says. "But don't make too big of a scene. Whether or not you get in all depends on how you act, so act like you're supposed to be there. Whatever you do, don't be snotty."
And always dress appropriately. Sexy, low-slung Sevens will work most of the time, but always have a great summer dress for backup. As our mothers always said: Dress for where you want to be, not where you are. That goes for guys, too, so leave the ballcaps at home.
If none of these tried-and-true tips work, says Aiello, you can always duck in through the servers' entrance. Just "wait until later in the event; it's easier, because people are usually a lot more relaxed." -- Dunn