Oscars: How to Plan a Family-Friendly Party

When awards season reaches its peak, use the movies as inspiration for food and fun.

Hosting an Oscars party is a great way to entertain a variety of friends and family members. After all, movies appeal to all ages and genders! Here are some tips to keep everyone happy while you watch the winners.

The Food
Put a sophisticated spin on traditional movie snacks and serve gourmet flavored popcorn. Try the following combinations (tasty salts and powders are available at the Spice House in Evanston):

  • Plain popcorn with olive oil and truffle salt
  • Buttered popcorn with Italian seasoning mix
  • Plain popcorn with cocoa powder and chili powder

 

Take culinary cues from this year’s Best Picture nominees. Here are some fun and flavorful suggestions:

Proper English tea sandwiches (such as cucumber on white bread) are an ideal way to commemorate the "The Iron Lady.”

Celebrate "The Descendants" with a taste of Hawaii by making some easy shrimp and pineapple kabobs. You can also try this fancy Hawaiian Pizza recipe or build your own at Homemade Pizza Company. Round out your tropical tour with a tasty Mai Tai. For an easy mocktail that looks just like a Hawaiian sunset, pour equal parts of pineapple juice and orange juice in a glass, then add a splash of grenadine.

For a French fête à la "Midnight in Paris" or "The Artist," slice up a baguette from your favorite bakery and serve it with a variety of cured meats, cheeses, and veggies alongside some macarons or eclairs from a local bakery. Serve with a glass of absinthe from the North Shore Distillery.

Take your fries and turn them into frites for a traditional Belgian treat straight out of "The Adventures of Tin Tin" by serving your favorite fries in a fancy newspaper cone. Drizzle with truffle oil and serve with mayonnaise to transport your taste buds to Brussels.

Give classic baseball treats a twist for "Moneyball." Make some fancy hotdogs and serve with caramel corn from Garrett's Popcorn (try varieties with nuts for an upscale "peanuts and Crackerjack" experience). Wash them down with some craft beer

You can't commemorate "Bridesmaids" without a little cake. Petit fours from Whole Foods or the The Fresh Market are a great way to get your cake fix without the hassle of baking and serving, and they will go great with your favorite champagne.

For general Oscars-themed food fare, display classic movie candy in an assortment of martini glasses. Choose a mix of chocolate and fruit-flavored confections. Chocolate malt balls and gourmet jelly beans are a must, but don’t forget old favorites like Junior Mints and Twizzlers.

The red carpet gets a nod with Red (Carpet) Velvet Cupcakes. Simply decorate store-bought red velvet cupcakes with gold dragées or gold leaf.

Round out the dessert offerings with Cookies by Joey. This cookie company based in Wheeling was among the goodie bag treats the stars received for last year's Oscars!

The Fun
Of course it’s fun to offer casual (or catty!) commentary while the stars strut their stuff, but you could also play Oscars Bingo with your kids or make your own Oscars brackets. 

Before the little ones go to bed, let them entertain the adults with their own red carpet walk. Grown-up-sized sunglasses, jewelry and shoes (and maybe a feather boa?) complete the fun.

And don't forget the music!

The Night Out
If you don’t want to stay at home, step out for one of these local Oscars events:

Rosemont – Morton’s “A Night on the Red Carpet”

Chicago – Gene Siskel Film Center “Oscar Night America” (the official Academy Awards party for Chicago)

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