You don’t need to be of from Ireland to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day! Anyone can be Irish for a day and enjoy the traditions of parties, parades, food, and drink. On March 17th the theme is pure green, and lots of it.
Throwing a St. Patrick’s Day party will get everyone into the spirit and help them celebrate the holiday with some good, old-fashioned, Irish fun. We’ve got many ideas for planning, invitations, and activities. Now go ahead and paint the town green!
Invite guests to your party with Irish-themed invitations. They don’t have to be store-bought, you can make homemade ones very easily with your creative ability. Design your own invitations on the computer and print them off, or if you have the time, use construction paper and cut out shamrocks, pots of gold, four leaf clovers and mugs of green beer. Use markers to neatly print out your information and add finishing touches with glue and glitter. Too much green? Accent your invitations with rainbow colors and a pot-o-gold. Seal them with shamrock stickers, and they’re good to go.
Set the scene for your St. Patrick’s Day party with green crepe paper, balloons, and streamers. If you’re feeling elaborate, order a few helium balloons and place a banner to deliver an Irish message. Trees are not only for Christmas. Many stores also carry strings of green lights for a St. Patrick’s day tree. If your party is being held in the nighttime hours, consider decorating your porch rail with green rope lights. Switch out your light bulb for a green one and you’ll see everyone in a different light.
You can often find foil centerpieces, hanging decorations, garland, shamrock confetti, and banners at party supply stores. Any of these items can be made at home or used as an activity for a children’s party. A blarney stone makes a great conversation piece and you may find your guests kissing it for the gift of gab. Party supplies also double as decorations. Green tablecloths, paper plates, napkins, and plastic cups will adorn your table and complement the food. Kids love party favors and cleanup is a breeze because you send them home the favors home with the kids.
There’s no assurance that all of your guests will wear green but there are several things you can pass out to the party-poopers to make them compliant. Consider leprechaun hats and/or bow ties for the guys and string beads for the girls. Irish buttons and leis are not gender specific and work well for both adults and children.
Create a festive environment with a CD packed with Irish folk songs. If you’re fortunate to know anyone who plays the bagpipes, invite them over to play upon the arrival of guests.
A big part of the St. Patrick’s Day is food, and lots of it. Serve your guests traditional Irish bacon, corned beef and cabbage or lamb stew. Lettuce, green bean, or pea salads, and tortilla chips with guacamole dip make great side dishes. You can also add green food coloring to spruce up just about anything. Green Irish bread, scones, pasta, and cake all taste better on St. Patrick’s Day. Ask close friends and family to bring green side dishes and see what they come up with. You might be surprised.
Want to keep it simple? Rueben sandwiches made with rye bread, corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese topped with mayo will surely quench their craving and you can precut them so your guests can choose just how much they want to eat. This is a good introduction to corned beef for children who are likely to skip the main course and head directly to the dessert table.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with shamrock cut-out cookies, green cupcakes, lime jello, lime sherbet, key lime meringue pie or sugar cookies. Basic brownies topped with green frosting are easy to bake and can be decorated with sprinkles to add delicious detail. For a more natural approach, serve green grapes, apples, or applesauce.
Candy can be offered in a unique fashion. Look for candy dishes specifically for St. Patrick’s Day, which often look like a kettle or pot. These can hold foil-wrapped, chocolate coins and presented as a pot of gold. Holiday specific candy are shamrock suckers, green saltwater taffy, jelly beans and milk chocolate leprechauns. Need more ideas? There’s plenty of green candy to be found if you look in the candy section of your favorite store. There, you can probably find spearmint leaves, gummy apple rings, Andes mints, or mint juleps.
You’ll need to provide some beverages for your Irish friends. Kids will love anything with a greenish hue and bit of flavor. Lime Kool-Aid is a favorite or you can add green food coloring to Sprite or 7-UP for a carbonated drink. There are various recipes available for green punch. Just mix and match to satisfy taste requirements and green color.
Let the over-21 crowd toast the occasion with green beer and spirits. If your St. Patrick’s Day party is large, consider ordering a keg of beer that’s already dyed green. Otherwise, you can use food coloring to color individual mugs of beer. Traditional spirits include Irish whiskey, Bailey’s Irish Crème, and Crème De Menthe Liquor. Irish coffee spiked with a dash of whiskey will warm your guests up on a blustery day.