Drum roll please…Have you ever been to a party with a hot dog bar? Yes, you read that right-a hot dog bar! Hostess extraordinaire, Janie Dickson, shares an intimate peek at the fall outdoor movie night soiree she hosted for her husband’s birthday. It’s safe to say this is one of our all time favorite ideas for Fall entertaining!


Throwing a party in these uncertain times can be trying. As I have said many times, as a host and hostesses our main goal is make our guests feel welcomed and make them comfortable at their level, not our own. One way in order to make that happen is to do everything you can to negate the conversation of questionability and set your party up to be successful with whatever inevitable curveball comes your way. If you are intentional and thoughtful with your decisions and direction, your guests will thank you for it and have a better time. At last, here is your September party inspiration and it’s based off of my husband’s birthday party.

While my husband isn’t one for birthdays, I never skip the opportunity for a soirée. He is casual and simple-they say opposites attract right? He is happiest with a cold beer, being outside and hanging out with friends, so this is where my party planning thought process began. I knew the party had to be outside, cold beer had to be in plenty and friends, while fun to gather, needed be separated if that is what made them comfortable. The party needed to stay casual, personal and cost mindful. Here is how it rolled out…

husband birthday party

The Party: I hosted a movie party outside where friends who could group on their own picnic blankets or areas if preferred.

Theme: The party took on an all American classic feel and was dubbed “Weiner and a Flick” (will make more sense as you read on) to bring a little light and humor into trying times.

Invitations: The invitations were in shapes of Hot Dogs and completed with an Arnold Palmer stamp.

Attire: The attire was “come as you are.”

Bar: The bar was complete with his favorite beer but taken further with other options and a signature cocktail of boozed Arnold Palmer’s (going back to the stamp and back to Classic Americana). You can read my favorite tips for setting up your own serving bar here.

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Food: The menu was a nod towards his favorite hot dog stand- The Trolley Stop in Wrightsville Beach, NC. We offered every topping you could think of (onions, chili, slaw, ketchup, mustard, relish, even crunched up Funyuns) and of course the buns were steamed (if you know, you know). Individual bags of Plain kettle chips were offered from a large wicker basket and guests could also scoop up a little simple green salad complete with a local restaurant made favorite dressing if they wanted something to off set the other parts of their plate. Easy and completely fool proof!

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Prior to dinner being served, the guests played Cornhole and socialized in the different seating areas set up through out the yard. I opted for multiple areas, so wouldn’t seem uncomfortable if a group decided to sit on their own.

husband birthday party

When it was time for the movie to begin, the (rented) popcorn machine revved up and I had a large tray full of candy usually found at the movie theatersout for people to grab at their leisure. Of course, I also included gummy hot dogs, because I just had to-think theme people! I also passed around individual containers of Blue Bell Vanilla ice cream (Husband’s favorite) with mini Coke’s and a plastic glass so people could remember their younger days and make coke floats. When the last time you made a coke float? FYI- they are just as good as you remember them!

Outdoor entertaining, movie night, outdoor movie, husband birthday, fall parties

Other Jane details

I had a large basket full of blankets in case anyone got cold at the base of candy table (made going back for seconds justifiable and less noticeable -wink wink).

At every picnic spot I placed a citronella candle on top of a tray (found 50 old cafeteria trays at an estate sale for $20) so any remaining summer bugs remained at bay and people had a solid place to rest their drink rather than trying to place in the grass.

Now to answer what I know you all have been wondering, what movie did we watch?…That was the hardest decision of all. After many, many group conversations (yes, Caddyshack was high on the list but felt almost too predictable) we ended with “Trading Places”. What would you have shown?

Aren’t you now ready to throw an outdoor movie/watching party soirée? I couldn’t think of a better idea this football season!

husband birthday party

Happy gathering,