8 Ways to Plan a Night In

8 Ways to Plan a Night In

Explore eight simple ways to plant the perfect night in with family and friends.

By: Katrina Simeck

Amidst the hustle and bustle of school, work, sports and other obligations, the thought of coordinating a night out with your loved ones can sometimes seem overwhelming. Use our eight easy ideas to save yourself the hassle and plan a fun night in.

1. Solve a Mystery
Draft a light-hearted mystery story and notify guests of the character they’ll be playing beforehand. Assign a few guests to act as detectives (kids will love this role) to interview the “in character” guests about their actions. Offer prizes to the first to figure it out!

2. Scream for Ice Cream
Host a simple dessert-themed get-together (any time of the year!) that involves less planning and less cooking than a dinner party. Buy several tubs of plain vanilla and chocolate ice cream, and ask guests to bring their favorite toppings.

3. Tell Your Story
Gather family and some friends together to share family history. Talk about family legends, tall tales and touching experiences. This is a great way for kids to learn details about past generations.

4. A Slice of the Pie
Host a make-your-own pizza night for a fun alternative to ordering in. Provide individual crusts (English Muffins and ready-made crusts work great) and a variety of toppings. Pick up a few checkered tablecloths to create some pizza parlor décor in your kitchen or dining room.


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5. Talent Show Tuesdays
Take some time to have each member of your family share a talent, and vote on most creative, wackiest or overall inventiveness. Have family members invite their friends to participate in the fun!

6. Coffee and Card Making
Gather paper crafting supplies, prepare a pot of refreshing coffee and have a card making party for you and your friends. This is perfect activity for the fall season, with the holidays fast approaching.

Provide inspiration and ideas (visit your local craft store to pick up simple items like stamps, decals, stickers and stencils), and let your creativity soar.

7. Borrow-a-Book Club
Invite friends over and ask them to bring one of their favorites reads. Have each person give a brief synopsis of the book — and why they like it — then have everyone trade books with one another. This way, everyone gets a chance to go home with something new to read.

8. Host an Art Gallery Exhibit
Feature your children’s (and their friends’) artwork in simple frames (from your local dollar or thrift store), and invite friends over for an art show.

For a fun twist: Ask guests to dress up, serve sparkling grape juice and even auction off the artwork with fake money or currency that doesn’t exceed $1.

A gathering with friends or a night in with family doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With these simple ideas, you can have a blast without breaking the bank.

Katrina Simeck is a single working mom on a quest to find a balance (or at least a little bit of Zen) between work and play. By day, she's a project manager for a cosmetics company; by night, she channels her creative energy into writing, crafting and photography. She is a staff writer at Parenting Squad.

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