St. Patrick's Day Party Ideas

St. Patrick's Day is about more than wearing green so you don't get pinched. You can throw a St. Patrick's Day party for all ages that is not only full of Irish charm but also educational with these great St. Patrick's Day party ideas.

Host a Potluck
A potluck lets you share recipes with your friends and sneak in a little reference to the well-known leprechaun's pot of gold. Suggested recipes include corned beef and cabbage (brine it yourself to impress your guests!), Guinness beef stew, Colcannon, or Irish soda bread. Add in some green gelatin and lime punch to complete the meal.

Kids don't need to be left out of the fun. They might enjoy a cookie-decorating contest, complete with loads of green frosting and sprinkles. Bake shamrock-shaped cookies in advance, and let their imaginations run wild.

A variation on a cookie contest would be one with cupcakes. Bake cupcakes colored with green food coloring ahead of time. Prepare and set aside bowls of green frosting, sprinkles, and other cake trimmings to see who comes up with the most festive creation. The whole party can help with the judging, and you can give out toys, such as a stuffed leprechaun or a leprechaun hat, as prizes.

As for the adults, you can prepare green beer. Select a light beer, and add a few drops of food coloring to each glass until you achieve the desired shade. Although Guinness would seem to be a natural for St. Patrick's Day given its Irish origins, it is not recommended for green beer because it is too dark, and the food coloring won't show up.

Most important, if you are having green beer, or any other kind of beer or cocktail at your party, be sure that a few people at your party are willing to serve as designated drivers.

Decorate for the Occasion
You might have your fill of green if you've set up an all-green menu, but don't forget that the party site can be decked out in St. Patrick's Day decorations, too. Consider the age of your guests when thinking about just how green you want your party to be. If there's no such thing as too much green, decorate tables with green and gold confetti, shamrock-colored balloons and green ribbon.

Run an Irish-Themed Quiz Bowl
Break the ice at your party by encouraging guests to form teams and test their knowledge about Ireland. You can round up historical facts and legends about the holiday and have guests compete for prizes, such as green cookies for the kids or maybe a little green beer for the adults. Here are some handy facts about St. Patrick's Day and Irish lore to help you build questions and answers:

  • St. Patrick's Day is March 17 because St. Patrick is believed to have died on that day around 492 A.D.
  • Three leaflets are on the leaf of a shamrock.
  • St. Patrick used the three leaflets on a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity.
  • Legend has it that leprechauns possess pots of gold.

Prizes for the quiz bowl might include a CD from an Irish band or a compilation of Irish music that you made yourself.

Play a Game of Pictionary
Set up a game of Pictionary with Irish-themed rules. You'll need to make a box of words and themes such as shamrocks, leprechauns, rainbows, gold coins and leprechaun hats instead of the standard game's assortment. Players can then pull out their words from a leprechaun hat and draw their entries in green markers on a whiteboard. You can offer prizes of chocolate gold coins and green cupcakes for the winning team.

Set Up a Guess the Gold Coins Game
Fill up a large glass jar with chocolate gold coins and ask guests to guess how many coins are in the jar. Try this contest with green jelly beans or green and gold Hershey Kisses for variation. The winner can take home the giant jar of treats as their very own pot of gold.

Entertain with Irish or Celtic Music
Check around the community for any Irish, folk or Celtic music bands that may want to play at your event. Many small groups are looking for new venues to showcase their talents, so you can book a bona fide Irish band.

If you can't hire a band, make a playlist of Irish music. Check out the music of the Chieftains, the Pogues, or even a little U2.

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Add an extra dose of Irish luck when you celebrate St. Patrick's Day. A few creative St. Patrick's Day activities can help you and your family do more than simply remember to wear green.

Give someone you know an Irish Gift Basket for St. Patrick's Day, and share the Luck of the Irish! To make these St. Patrick's Day gifts, simply put your thinking cap on-in this case a magical green Irish derby-and set your eyes on the rainbow. Before you know it, you'll have put together a gift basket that would rival a real leprechaun's pot of gold.

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