Easter excitement on the patio

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Egg hunts are the standard fun for this celebration, but there’s a lot more fun to be had outside to welcome the coming of Spring.

A nice bit of sunshine and some creativity is all you need for a perfect party outside. With creative use of common accessories, foods, and some bright color choices you can transform your patio into a catered Easter affair. Here are a few things to consider.

Food

Easter brunch or dinner are the big hitters, but a lunch picnic would be great too. You can still offer traditional brunch dishes and some sandwich favorites. Dinner is a more formal affair, even if you’re grilling out, but it holds more opportunity for brightly-colored, fluffy desserts.

Ham is the stand-by for dinner. Translate that into warmed ham-and-cheese grilled sandwiches for lunch. Other picnic foods like potato or fruit salad are almost requirements. If you want to add some green, try a cucumber salad. Many variations exist. You can try a plain salad or a creamy one. A nice fresh crunch into a big bite of salad is an energizing and healthy way to kick off the season.

Desserts should be light and bright. Rice cereal treats with pastel chocolate bits can be shaped into eggs and displayed in a bowl. Ambrosia, that whipped-cream and fruit dish from the old days is a very festive after-dinner treat. Add a drop or two of food coloring if you want it to pop. And don’t forget the bunnies. The bunny-shaped bits are the best part! Marshmallow, chocolate, candy. Whatever you like. You can even toast the marshmallow bunnies over the fire pit, just like the regular ones.

Think colors in the drinks, too. Raspberry or peach lemonade with their rosy hues can be served in addition to the bright yellow standard we all know and love.  

Decor

A few Peter-Rabbit-worthy tricks will help you hop along through decorating your patio for an Easter party. For example, you’ll probably have paper napkins and plasticware. Instead of buying plain colors, buy bright orange napkins and light green utensils. Fold the napkins in a tight triangle shape and slide the plasticware in. Display the “carrots” in a flat basket to appear like bountiful garden haul.

A printed tablecloth with a grass or Easter basket pattern will add more whimsy. For a simple centerpiece, pick up a few potted Easter lilies that can be planted. BONUS: They are perennials so they’ll come back next year.

The key with decor is light and bright, too, just like the meal choices. If you’re feeling a little shy, stick with soothing pastels in yellow, blue, pink and green.

Activities

Easter egg hunts differ for the children’s ages. Some big gatherings designate zones for each age group. Toddlers have plenty of fun with picking up and placing eggs in baskets; no need to hide them. A large, clear area of a floor indoors is a safe space for the littlest ones to “hunt.” Parents can stand back and let them try it.

Older kids enjoy challenges by degree. Break up the hunters by age group and assign them different areas of the landscape. The teens often enjoy a timed-hiding contest with the adults. The teens hide for the adults, the adults hide for the teens. You may want to do it sequentially so the same space is utilized for each team. Flip a coin to determine who hides first. Calculate about 30 seconds to a minute for each egg hidden. Hide equal amounts of eggs. Whichever team scores the most finds in the allotted time wins. Maybe the winners get to pick the next movie or the next meal out. Be warned - those teens can find some very clever hiding spots. You may want to ban certain areas, like the tops of trees.

After the hunts, egg shell mosaic crafts can be a way to get the kids interested in something other than their candy. Inexpensive craft frames and some glue is all you need. The painted egg shells make pretty stained-glass like patterns. Older kids and adults can re-dye some cracked shells with alcohol ink and glue them onto jewelry boxes, glass beads or pendants, or empty bottles. Supply an old pair of nail clippers so they can customize tiny shapes for their mosaics. A coat or two with a safe craft sealant will give it a professional look.

If craft time isn’t in the cards, have the kids crush the eggshells for compost or scatter them around the base of a tomato plant. Tomato plants thrive with added calcium. Some gardeners use the broken egg shells to create a barrier around their seedlings. Slugs and snails won’t crawl over the sharp points. Give the kids gloves to spread the shells.

Spring simple

At the core of the Easter celebration is a feeling of renewal. The party accessories and crazy games are great, but if that isn’t for you, a simple sandwich and drink outside on a sunlit patio, along with a beautiful, silent moment of gratitude and peace in your outdoor room are all you really need to usher in a fresh new season. Happy Easter!