Cooking For A Crowd
Theme Meals and Holidays
Recipes for Quantity Cooking

Theme Meals and Holidays

Pioneer Thinking
Want to throw a summer party that creates just the right atmosphere and leaves your guests raving about your ingenuity? The secret to making any party a success, say professionals, is to use personalized touches that delight and enchant your guests. And the carefree days of summer are perfect for celebrating with a party.

From the eagerly awaited last day of school until Labor Day, you'll find plenty of reasons to have fun. Whether it's a back yard barbeque or a more formal party, personal touches will help put guests in the right mood and let them know you value their company.

Any Occasion

Start with the guest list, including a variety of ages and a mix of listeners and talkers. Carefully consider their preferences, and then turn your attention to the food and decor. Build your menu around dishes you know will please your guests, and won't keep you in the kitchen for hours.

Charm your guests with an unexpected personalized touch by using M&M'S Colorworks Milk Chocolate Candies, available in 21 vibrant hues that make perfect decorations, centerpieces or party favors. Choose from more than 200,000 color combinations to match the colors of weddings, school teams and party themes -- whatever suits the occasion.

Continue setting the stage with little touches that appeal to the senses. Luminarias along the front walk, a festive door hanging, or scented candles and flowers throughout the house or outdoors help turn a party into a celebration.


Delight the bride-to-be by decorating for the shower in her wedding colors. Use matching Colorworks on flower shaped cookies or decorative cakes. For a fun activity, fill a glass jar and give it to the guest who guesses the amount inside.

To break the ice at a baby shower, create a personalized crossword puzzle on decorative paper. When guests arrive, ask them to mingle and figure out the answers. Keep it fairly simple: mom's and dad's names, baby's name, words that reflect your party theme, mom's favorite colors, and so on. Make guests feel special by using their names in the puzzle, with something unique about each one as the clue.

For an easy-to-serve dessert, adorn "baby block" petit fours with Colorworks in pink, blue or the colors of the nursery. To personalize a party favor that will send guests home with a smile, fill small baby bottles with the theme-colored treats. Who doesn't love a sweet gift?

Formal Parties

For a formal affair, less is more. The elegant simplicity of rich colors, a traditional table setting and quiet background music will set just the right tone. A sit-down dinner is an intimate and relaxing way to serve a few guests, while a buffet is more practical for serving many. Linen, lace or even an heirloom quilt will give your table a distinguished look. For a classy but fun touch, create a centerpiece by arranging decorative bowls and candles on a beveled mirror. Fill the bowls with Colorworks in black and white, maroon and cream, or purple and silver.

Festive Events

When it's a lighthearted feel you're after, think outside the box. If your dinnerware is in short supply or isn't perfectly matched, create an artistic style by mixing dinner and stemware patterns. Use household knickknacks and everyday objects as servers -- pretty bowls, baskets, even children's plastic buckets -- and fill them with candies in your special colors to provide an attractive accent.

Birthday Parties

Let your child personalize his party by helping create the theme. Then, turn your imagination loose. If the guest of honor enjoys treasure hunting, use gold spray paint to turn rocks into "gold" nuggets. Hide them in the sandbox or yard and see who can find the most.

Or, have a summer beach blast. Inspire your color theme by looking at books of tropical fish. Fill plastic sand toys with Colorworks candies in color combos to match, such as yellow and dark blue or black, bright blue and pink, aqua green and orange. Hang aqua streamers from the ceiling to give a "watery" feel. Use a fish-shaped cookie cutter to make fish sandwiches, served with fish crackers and a blue drink. Fill fish net goody bags with color-coordinated treats for party favors.

And for those celebrating "over the hill" birthdays, black Colorworks candies are a perfect way to carry out the theme, all in good taste.

Holiday Themes

Summer holidays offer three more reasons to celebrate the season. Observe Memorial Day in a meaningful way with a picnic. Bring photo albums to reminisce with relatives or create a time capsule to carry personalized mementos for future generations.

For the Fourth of July, have kids express their independence by decorating T-shirts with red, white and blue fabric paint. Create "daytime" fireworks with sidewalk chalk. Plan a menu of old-fashioned hamburgers and hot dogs. For dessert, decorate a sheet cake with candies in the shape of an American flag.

Labor Day is the perfect time to celebrate the end of summer. Have fun in the sun with lawn toys such as hoola hoops, jump ropes and Frisbees. How about every child's favorite summer pastime of bubble blowing? Give the family a sense of stepping back in time and make your own ice cream, letting the kids take turns at the crank. Assemble an assortment of Colorworks in summertime colors and let guests decorate their own sundaes.

Creating happy memories and leaving a lasting impression on your guests means throwing a party they won't forget. And whether you prefer down home or sophisticated, big crowds or intimate gatherings, the secret to great celebrations is simple: make it personal.

Source: Colorworks

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