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How to host an indoor games night

Jacinta is a freelance writer and public relations consultant. She has a passion for health and wellness communications but also regularly writes about entertainment news and lifestyle topics ranging from travel, parenting, crafts and fo...

Staying in over winter

From SheKnows Australia
It's cold outside and warm in your home sweet home. So why not invite your friends over for a night of delicious food, hilarious games and lots of frivolity?

Friends playing board games

Winter doesn't have to mean that your social life quietens down, instead it's a perfect excuse to go back to some good-natured fun with a games night.

They're a fun event to organise and, with a little thinking ahead and planning, you can create a night that is guaranteed to be filled with interesting conversation and laughter.

What to serve

The beauty of hosting a games night is that there is actually less pressure on the food because people are coming over for the games just as much as the eats.

You will want to serve food that can be eaten while playing, so entertaining experts The Everygirl recommend serving finger food.

"Keep it simple. Don't cook if you don't have to. Stick to appetizers until you graduate to hosting a dinner party and serving a full meal."

More great entertaining tips for every stage of life >>

Sushi platters

sushi

Everyone loves sushi these days and, while the preparation can be a little tricky, sushi rolls can be stuffed with a multitude of fillings (think tuna, avocado, chicken, prawns, cucumber etc). You can also easily create both vegetarian and meat options to keep everyone happy.

If you are feeling daring you could also pop over to your local fishmonger in the morning and get fresh fish cuts, such as tuna to serve sashimi-style.

Don't forget your condiments like soya sauce, wasabi and even some flash-boiled edamame.

Carnival food

popercorn

If you have a little more time on your hands, why not get right into the spirit of the games night by serving carnival food?

If you don't have time to go to the trouble of making carnival food from scratch, then you can also whiz by your supermarket and grab Chiko Rolls, fries, frankfurts and popcorn.

Classic cheese boards

cheese

You absolutely cannot go wrong with a cheese board. As this is a simple option go all out with your selection of crackers and breads, take the time to toast Turkish or pita bread slices and go all out with the cheeses you provide. The key is to include a variety of soft cheeses, such as brie, and hard cheeses like a vintage cheddar. For complementary sweetness, try adding raisins, preserved figs, fruit pates or other dried fruits.

If you don't mind doing a little prep work before guests arrive, you could also try creating your own fondue bubbling with mixed cheeses and cream, and served with breads and pickles.

Old-school parties

cupcake

Because you really want to serve simple food that can be eaten by hand (while playing your games), a great food option is to serve old-school party food like meat pies, sausage rolls, feta and spinach rolls and finger sandwiches. Just don't forget to have lots of condiments for dipping!

This option also allows you to have fun with desserts, so think about serving the classic fairy bread, chocolate crackles or mini cupcakes.

Mexican mania

tacos

Everyone loves Mexican and, again, it's a cuisine that can suit both meat-lovers and vegetarians.

One of the easiest Mexican options is to create a taco bar where you can heat up the taco shells as guests get hungry, then place them on a table that has already been laden with other traditional fillings such as salads, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, cheese and jalapenos — and yes, be prepared because your guests might just start a jalapeno-eating competition!

Night tea

tea

If you're just having the girls over, bring the glamour of a high tea to your games night. Everyone will love nibbling on sandwiches, sweet and savoury pastries and other naughty treats, and because it's winter, serve it with cups of hot chocolate instead of tea.

Another nice play on this theme is to ask your girlfriends to come over in their comfiest PJs and slippers. Although it sounds corny, you and your gal pals will love hanging out in comfort and relaxing with food, games and laughs.

Boys' food

pizza

With calorie-counting out the window, you could consider serving what is best known as "boys' food". Plan and cook ahead hearty treats like mini hamburgers, chicken drumsticks, hot dogs, mini pizzas and hot chips. It's kind of like re-enacting a day out at the footy or going on a boys trip, and it's nice to just let loose on the diet every now and then.

This style of food means you can cook most of it in advance and keep it warm in the oven, so as the host you don't have to miss out on all the games action!

More easy appetisers for entertaining >>

What to play

board games

More than the food, the greatest decision you have to make is what do you play? And, unsurprisingly, the options are endless.

Here are some of the top five options you can consider:

  • Board games — e.g. Monopoly, Scrabble, Game of Life etc
  • Trivia — create your own questions or find some online and take turns hosting rounds
  • Cards — have some classic fun with a poker set or traditional card games
  • Kids' games — get out hilarious games like Twister or Hungry Hippo
  • Imagination — think, move and play with a night of Charades, guess the song, or the always-controversial "Truth or Dare"

More entertaining ideas

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