A Backyard S'mores Party: The Party Plan

Gatherings from The Kitchn

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It's my turn this month to bring you another of our Gatherings from The Kitchn, and oh boy this is a fun one! My younger sister celebrated her birthday in July, and for this birthday — a big one, although I'll keep the number quiet — she wanted to throw a casual backyard party, with strings of lights over a fire pit, many good friends gathered round, and the most loaded S'mores buffet you've ever seen.

This week I'll show you what we did, and how. It was actually the easiest party we've thrown yet, involving almost no cooking ahead and just one afternoon of work. Our reward was a sticky-fingered crowd of friends enjoying everyone's favorite campfire treat — it was a S'moresgasbord!

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Pair graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate with a bonfire and you have a nostalgic treat that everyone seems to love with abandon. The make-your-own S'mores buffet is a super fun concept for a party, although I should make it very clear that all the clever ideas for this particular gathering came straight from my sister — I was just along for the ride!

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My sister's backyard, before we did anything to it. The plan was to turn this into a charming party space for S'mores and hanging out.

The Party Idea: A Backyard S'moresgasbord

My sister lives with two roommates in a little house in the suburbs. They have a small, pretty backyard, with a green lawn and a beautiful tree overhead. While they do have a fire pit, there isn't a huge patio or lots of fancy landscaping.

The goal was to transform the yard into a good space for a party, with places to sit and lights strung in the trees. We would set out a buffet of S'mores ingredients and a stack of marshmallow roasters from Rome Industries, light the campfire, and let people go to town.

We wanted to invite plenty of people, too — especially since this was a much easier sort of party to throw for a crowd. We expected about 20 people to come.

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The Party Look: A Pretty Picnic

We wanted a look for the party that wouldn't involve too much work but would still be pretty, feminine, and picnic-inspired.

My sister found a couple of old doors in her garage, and we planned to turn them into impromptu tables, low to the ground and covered with sheets. We also raided my basement for a few strings of globe lights, which I had left over from my old house. We bought flowers and gingham paper napkins. My sister made some pink-painted jars to hold the flowers, and she also made a quick pennant garland from twine and printed cardstock.

And that was it! No huge projects, no late nights cooking ahead.

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The Party Menu: Just S'mores — Sweet and Savory

The menu was the easiest part of this party. We went to the grocery store and loaded up on S'mores ingredients. We had been discussing the menu for weeks — with my sister coming up with ever more creative and over-the-top S'mores ideas. (Yes, bacon got involved.)

I'll give you a rundown of the most popular S'more combinations tomorrow, but one thing I should point out is that we decided to include some savory S'mores, with wheat crackers, mozzarella and goat cheese, and prosciutto and tomato. No, these aren't strictly S'mores (no marshmallows?) — but they could be toasted over the fire, and we thought people might appreciate something savory among all the sweet.

For drinks we would have big jars of cold water, and buckets of ice with beer. We invited the guests to bring any drinks they liked, but we also picked up a couple six-packs of chocolate stout, which seemed to be the most suitable drink to complement a table of S'mores!

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The Party Shopping List

Here's a rundown of what we went shopping for on the Saturday morning of the party. This was our base list, but I admit we picked up quite a few other things in the throes of grocery store inspiration!

Spreads

  • Peanut butter
  • Nutella
  • Lemon curd
  • Lime curd
  • Dulce de leche

Fruit & Vegetables

  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Pineapple slices
  • Tomato
  • Fresh basil

Marshmallows

  • Marshmallows
  • Flavored marshmallows
  • Chocolate marshmallows

Cheese & Meat

  • Mini mozzarella balls (bocconcini)
  • Goat cheese
  • Prosciutto
  • Salami

Crackers

  • Graham crackers
  • Cinnamon graham crackers
  • Chocolate crackers
  • Gluten-free graham crackers
  • Carr's wheat crackers
Chocolate
  • Reeses peanut butter cups
  • Ghirardelli chocolate squares in mint, caramel, dark chocolate, semi-sweet, and white chocolate
Other
  • Tea light candles
  • Lighters
  • Ice
  • Hand wipes
  • Wax paper bags for wrapping up finished S'mores

Tomorrow I'll talk about the S'mores combinations we made, and give you a "recipe" for my very favorite. Watch for the full party post on Wednesday — I can hardly wait to show you how it all turned out!

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A Backyard S'mores Party