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Throw a neighborhood back to school party!

Kick off school with a s'mores party

While hosting a party seems like the last thing busy families have time to do, pulling together the neighborhood is one way to help alleviate some of the stresses a new school year brings. Kids are able to reconnect with friends, giving them a friendly support group, and a little more confidence for that first day of school. Parents have the opportunity to discuss and coordinate schedules with other neighborhood families. A party with the neighbors also inspires a sense of community and togetherness that can otherwise go unnurtured in the regular rigmarole of daily life. Here are a few quick tips and fabulous ideas that will help you pull together a super simple neighborhood s’mores party in less than 72-hours.

S'mores

1Send out enticing invites

On a quarter sheet of white cardstock, print out all of the party information: date, time, place, what to bring. Round the corners of the cardstock with a pair of scissors, creating a marshmallow-shaped piece of paper. Carefully stick a barbecue skewer through the bottom and top of each paper, then deliver to your neighbors 3 days to 2 weeks before the party.

2Neighborhood potluck

Invite your neighbors to bring specific food items for the party. The s'mores recipes listed below all require simple, everyday items. Graham crackers, cookies, chocolate bars, chocolate chips, marshmallows, a jar of jam or peanut butter. By asking each family to tote in one of the items, you can make the party preparations a breeze.

3Let kids help

Let your kids know that this is their party. Ask them to help prepare the food table with a tablecloth, colorful plates, and napkins. Show them how to greet guests at the door and teach them what to say in welcome. And, don't be too finicky when they don't get everything just right. After all, those great kids of yours will be back at school in no time at all and you're sure to miss having them around to help.

4Get grilling

Most families won't have access to a fire pit for roasting the marshmallows, but a barbecue grill works equally well. Once the guests arrive, take a moment to show how you'll be holding the marshmallows on skewers just above the grill grate. Be sure to invite parents to decide whether or not their child is old enough to hold their own marshmallow skewer, and always have an adult standing by the grill, enforcing safe cooking practices. Of course, if a hot grill won't work for your party, just use a spoonful of good-quality hot fudge and marshmallow crème to give your party an authentic feel without the worry of the heat.

Up next: S'mores games and recipes >>

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