(StatePoint) Sukkot in September? In anticipation of a warmer than usual holiday, there are some backyard (or front driveway, depending on sukkah placement) entertaining details that are important to consider. Everyone loves Sukkot, and in order to focus on the simcha of the chag, here are a few tips guaranteed to keep your guests cool, comfortable and happy when you entertain.
- Create Shade: Entertaining outdoors? Remember, not all guests are going to want direct sunlight for too long. Take into consideration the sun’s position in the sky during the hours you will be hosting, ensuring your seating offers guests the option to sit in the shade. Create DIY shades by hanging curtains or fabric around or above your party location. Different types of schach offer various levels of shade, and while there may not be enough palm trees on the east coast to offer the shady palm frond schach of southern California, pay attention to the shade provided by your chosen schach, for both halachic and comfort reasons.
- Protect Guests: Protect your guests from getting bitten and burned in your garden or yard. Be sure the space is clear of standing water in advance of the party. Also, create a small station with bug spray and sunscreen (kids’ varieties, too, if you’re hosting families). Keep it away from the areas where the food and drinks are being served. Consider adding citronella candles or tiki posts as an additional strategy for warding off mosquitoes and other insects. One of the benefits of yom tov is the ability to light a candle from an existing flame. Check with your local halachic authority about ways to transfer the flame to a tiki torch or table citronella tea light.
- Be Creative with Cold Drinks: Nothing is more evocative of summer than a cold glass of iced tea. Create an iced tea bar that includes several varieties to suit your guests’ different tastes. Serve varieties like sweet tea, no calorie tea, tea mixed with lemonade, and peach tea. Label each clearly with small chalkboards or calligraphy name cards. Offer guests ready to drink teas made with high-quality, fresh, natural ingredients, such as Milo’s. They fresh brew all of their teas and do not add any extra “stuff” like colors, acids or preservatives.
- Serve Cool Snacks: You may have the grill going, but you can keep things otherwise cool and light with snacks and sides like crudité, dips, pasta salad, fresh fruit skewers and cold finger foods, like tea sandwiches. Remember that some of these items cannot be left in the heat too long.
- Play Games: Take full advantage of your yard this outdoor entertaining season with a few simple, fun lawn games like cornhole, horseshoes and ladder toss. Want to make things more interesting? Create an elimination bracket and tournament for each game.
From refreshing drinks to fun and games, you can make the most of the summer with a few cool strategies.