Outdoor Entertaining On A Budget: Pick a Theme

We tend to do more outdoor entertaining when Fall comes and the weather starts to turn a little cooler. Fall makes me think of the wonders of God’s creation and how everything He made was good (Genesis 1:31). I wanted to share some great ideas and tips for outdoor entertaining on a budget. First of all, come up with a super outdoor entertainingcool theme. All of our themes tend to involve movies.  We have had a couple of  Souper Hero Movie Nights and served different types of soups with bread, salads, hot/cold drinks, along with something sweet and watched a superhero movie like Wonder Woman or Captain America.  We’ve done Stargate themes using blue jello as the event horizon and called it Summer Gate and chose 3 to 4 Stargate episodes to watch for the evening or we’ve watched one of the Stargate movies. As Christians, we want to follow God’s mandate and not watch anything inappropriate (Psalm 101:3) and sometimes we allow our guests to choose the movie. Be sure they are clean and age appropriate. We often have children at our events. We are not drinkers so we never serve alcohol (or allow alcohol at my house).

We watch lots of movies outside. We purchased a projector a few years ago for about $150.00 and we use a white roller shade as the movie screen. So for $175, we can continually have outdoor movie night events. We also invested in a firepit for those extra cool nights in late fall and winter. We can comfortably seat 10 -15 guests on our back patio. Be sure to keep a supply of warm blanket/throws on hand for anyone who needs a little extra warmth. You can usually find them at Walmart for less than $4.00; we continually buy them all during the year so we have enough. If you do not want to have any outdoor event, just watch a movie indoors instead.

Our next scheduled outdoor entertaining event is going to be pie themed. Yes, pie.  We are calling it Pie Fest. The plan is to order pizza (pie) and have the guests bring over their favorite pie. I am making Sweet Potato pie (recipe below) and my daughter is making an Apple pie. It’s going to be very interesting to see which pie flavors our guests will bring. We are still debating which movie to watch but it will be something about food, possibly The Hundred-Foot Journey or Julie and Julia. We own a lot of movies so there is no extra expense for that; however, if you don’t own it, there is always the Red Box.  Here is my favorite Sweet Potato Pie Recipe:


  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk

I use pre-made pie crusts to save time.

  • 2  unbaked 9-inch pie crusts


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add sweet potatoes and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. (A knife should penetrate easily)
  2. Drain, cool, peel and mash.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  4. In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, butter, sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk and blend into the sweet potato mixture.
  5. Pour into pie shells and bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until done.

Plan your outdoor entertaining event using some of these basic tips and it’s sure to be a hit. Our friends tell us we throw the best parties in town and you can too.

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