Even if you’re not Irish by birth or heritage, you can always be from the Emerald Isle on St. Patrick’s Day! Everyone likes to claim the luck of the Irish!
If you are ready for some holiday partying, you will need to decide if you are going to have a dinner or have appetizers and drinks. Unless you have a catered or potluck dinner, you might be too tied up in the kitchen to be able to party yourself. For a more rollicking party, an appetizer and drinks party might be the better way to go.
You’ll need to send out invitations that will excite your guests about a good time. You can find lots of cute, seasonal paperless invitations online. You can find St. Patrick’s bordered papers and green envelopes at office supply stores. Then you can create your invitations on your computer, and print them on your printer.
You attach a real “lucky penny” or a pressed lucky four-leaf-clover to a cardstock invitation. Dollar stores and party stores have many inexpensive holiday necklaces, pins and favors that could be mailed with invitations—ask your guests to wear them to the party.
You may want to make a larger invitation if your guests are close by enough for hand-delivery. You can fill little black pots with gold coin chocolate candies on which you attach your written party invitations. You may also get small pots of shamrocks (Oxalis acetosella) from your local garden center to use.
On your invitations, please encourage your guests to get into the “wearin’ of the green” and to wear green to the party. You could even ask them to wear green costumes—party supply stores and dollar stores have lots of St. Patrick’s Day socks, shirts, necklaces, hats and headbands, and even leprechaun costumes. Fun green clothing items can also be found at local thrift stores. Have prizes for the most imaginative costume, the most use of green, or whatever is applicable to your guests’ costumes.
Decorations can be as much or as little as you deem appropriate. Simple green and white (and orange or gold) crepe paper streamers are very versatile and inexpensive. Hang them, drape them, twist them from your walls, windows, mantel, counter, bar. Do be careful not to use crepe paper on fabrics where they could get wet, because the color will bleed.
Balloons are also an inexpensive way to fill any party space with bright colors and festivity. You can rent a small helium tank from a party supply store or buy a small home helium tank. Green and white balloons can be tied with green and white ribbons in clusters around the room, or they can be allowed to rise to the ceiling so the color and hanging ribbons fill the room with fun.
Tie green balloons in threes to be free-flying shamrocks. You can also create lucky four-leaf clovers by tying two green balloons (inflated to about eight inches in size) together at the necks. Then do the same with the two more green balloons, and twist the two pairs of balloons together at the necks to make a cluster of four balloons like a clover. Tie the cluster with ribbon and let them float or tie them to chairs.
You could also create a rainbow arch of balloons at your doorway or entrance of your party space. This could be a simple arch or more complex one. You can find many videos and directions on the Internet about how to make these arches. Here is a link to the directions. After you complete the rainbow arch, you can have pots of gold and green beads at the ends or party tubs of iced beer.
Lots of Irish cut-outs are available, or you can cut out your own shamrocks, rainbows or pots of gold out of colored construction paper. Make sure to use low-tack masking tape so you won’t mess up the paint on your walls or furniture.
Use pots of real shamrocks, vases of green and white carnations or pale green stalks of Bells of Ireland, loaves of Irish soda bread tied with green ribbon, green votive candles, or bowls of green apples for centerpieces.
You can use large glass beer steins as flower vases, as candleholders or fill them with green or gold candies. You could also have a basket of Irish potatoes tied with white, green and orange ribbon or a black or gold pot filled with plastic gold coins or gold-covered chocolate coins. On the Internet, you can also find many free printables for St. Patrick’s Day which can also be printed out to use in table centerpieces.
Make certain to prepare an Irish music playlist before the party to keep it lively. If you don’t have any Irish music on CD or your I-pod, you could check your public library to see what they have. You can also google “Irish part playlist” to find lots of choices.
Now the only thing left is to get your food and drink choices ready for the party.
Obviously, you need to get your green beer or Irish stout on ice. If your guests are real beer-lovers, you might want to ask everyone bring a different brand of Irish stout and have a beer-tasting contest to rate the best.
For a St. Patrick’s Day appetizer party, you can have “normal” appetizers, but you may want to add a lot of green for fun. You can have a platter of green fresh vegetables like celery, cucumber, broccoli, green peppers and zucchini, and a dip, naturally green or doctored with green food coloring.
You can have a fruit platter with green grapes, honeydew melon, green apple slices. Loaves of Irish soda bread with butter, orange marmalade or lemon curd as spreads make for sweet treats. You can fix this easy corned beef and Swiss cheese appetizer.
You can make flatbread mini-pizzas with green toppings for your tomato sauce and cheese—broccoli, green peppers, green onions, spinach, zucchini and arugula. You can also fill small wonton wrappers baked at 350 degrees in muffin cups for five minutes or Tostitos Scoops with homemade or bought spinach dip, cold or heated. You can also use homemade or bought guacamole with these cups or with pita or tortilla chips.
Your heartiest appetizer could be potato soup kept in a slow-cooker crock and served in small hot cups so your guests can manage this item in their hands while standing up. Another great idea is having a mashed potato bar, with the potatoes served in martini or margarita glasses and having assorted toppings like crumbled bacon, green onions, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and butter to enhance their flavor. You could also have a baked potato bar with a selection of toppings.
Take some of these St. Patricks Day party ideas and make them your own. Erin go bragh!