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We promised you more fire pit fun in the summer issue of Hello, Dearest. Check out all the fun you can have with friends and family this summer!

Moms – you need a playdate. For you. Here’s what you’ll need to host an easy fire pit party. It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate, in fact, keep it simple and casual. And the great thing about evening get-togethers? It’s dark! The tidying required in advance is minimal.

Host a Family-Friendly Night

Have grown up time when you have little ones underfoot. It can be done — with a little planning and a shift in expectations. Try one of these ways to mix kids with adult-time:

  1. Pajama party & movie: Kids will want to be with the grownups for at least part of the time. Let them know that after they decimate — er, toast their marshmallows, they’ll be going inside to watch a movie. Have them change into pajamas, and they’ll be ready for bed when you get home, too!
  2. Outdoor fun: If getting kids to settle for a movie is unlikely, plan some simple after-dark activities (look on Pinterest for pretty much anything with glow sticks for older kids). Or they can ‘camp out’ in a tent near the grownups with their own snacks, flashlights, etc.
  3. Plan childcare: Either hire a sitter to come to your house and have guests with kids pitch in a few bucks to help cover the cost. Or, have all the parents sign up at the start of the party for a 15 minute shift of childcare duty. If you plan it for two hours and have 8 friends over, everyone only misses 15 minutes of the fun and there is an adult with the kids at all times.

Before the Party

  1. Decide what type of party: Is this a girlfriend’s night, a couple’s night or a family-friendly night? (Note: You can plan multiple events this summer, so don’t stress about trying to get everyone to this one.)
  2. Decide the date. Pick an evening in the next week to host. Too far in advance and sometimes people get all cancel-y.
  3. Invite people.
  4. Pick a fire. We’ve cultivated a board for you with ideas on Pinterest for your fire pit. Need a non-fire-pit-owning option for s’mores? Try terra cotta pots.Line medium size terra cotta flower pots with aluminum foil. (Note: You can use more than one so everyone can get close to the warmth.)Fill the pot(s) with charcoal and apply a little lighter fluid before lighting.It can take a little while for the coals to burn down, so start them right away.
  5. Collect needed items.
    • Fire pit supplies
    • Lighter (everyone forgets this one, so we put it here all by itself for emphasis)
    • Chairs, benches, blankets
    • Snack and beverage supplies
  6. Prepare in advance. Don’t get hung up on the details. Do all the prep ahead of time so you can relax, too.

At the Party

Nothing says ‘fire pit party’ like s’mores!

    1. Decide on your s’mores:
      • Go the traditional route: marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers. Done.
      • Make them in the oven in advance. (We have the recipe on the blog!)

      • Use Fudge Stripe cookies for an easier, meltier version.

      • Spread Nutella on the graham crackers. Yum.

    2. Prepare for the dark. Set out the ingredients on a table with a lantern or candles on it. (Note: Electric candles are fantastic when interspersed among food items.)
    3. Provide drinks. Set a cooler near the snacks with a Sharpie so people can mark their beverages.
    4. Ideas to jump-start the fireside conversations:

      • The last time I had a s’more was …
      • What’s the hardest thing you did this week?
      • Do you remember your dreams? Any recently?
      • What do you think it means to live ‘happily ever after’?
      • What would you like to be known for?
      • If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
      • If you could choose to visit 100 years in the future or 100 years in the past, which would you choose?
      • If you could change your name, would you? What would you change it to?
      • How does your life story begin?
    5. Breathe, listen to the laughter and conversation around you and delight in the knowledge that you made this happen.

Extra credit:

If you don’t have a fire pit or it decides to rain on the day of your fun event, we’ve got you covered, dearest. Check out some additional options for throwing the best backyard, grown-up, play date – ever.

Outdoor, non-fire pit option

Instead of a fire pit, you can use terra cotta pots to build your fire. You’ll need:

  1. Terra cotta flower pots, medium size
  2. Aluminum foil
  3. Charcoal
  4. Lighter fluid (optional)
  5. Lighter
  6. S’more’s fixings

Line the terra cotta pots with a piece of aluminum foil. Fill the pot with the charcoal. Apply a little lighter fluid and light the charcoal. It can take a while for the coals to burn down to a hot red/white, so start first thing. You may need a few pots to accommodate the number of people roasting. When the coals are completely cool (the next day), it’s easy clean up by carefully lifting out the aluminum lining and discarding the ashes.

Indoor option

If you don’t have a backyard fire pit, you can host a mock fire pit party with the same results — a chance to hang out with friends! Just set a cluster of candles on a coffee table and turn the lights down low. Provide snuggly blankets and serve oven-baked s’mores.

Oven baked s’mores

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (optional, but helps with the mess)
  3. Set a large marshmallow on half a graham cracker
  4. Place in a heated oven at 450 for 5 minutes.
  5. Top with chocolate and other half of graham cracker.
  6. Let sit for a minute until gooey, melty perfection.

Don’t get hung up on the details — do what brings you joy as you invite people into your space. Do all the prep ahead of time so you can relax, too. Listen to the laughter and conversation around you and delight in the knowledge you made this happen!