Create memorable outdoor parties for less

The backyard is an entertainment hot spot as people seek affordable ways
to spend time with family and friends. But your outdoor party can be spoiled
quickly if unwelcome insects show up.

More than half of backyard revellers have moved a party indoors due to mosquitoes,
and 46 percent have left a party to escape the pests, according to a new survey
from the makers of OFF! PowerPad Lamp and Lantern.

Create an unforgettable party within a tight budget with these five tips from
Natalie Ermann Russell, author of “The Outdoor Entertaining Idea Book:”

1. Keep decor simple: Save money on decorations by making the most of the
greenery and foliage that surround you. Simple potted plants as centre pieces
create an elegant setting at little cost, and they’ll last much longer than cut

2. Set a realistic menu: Give yourself a break by creating a menu that is
realistic for your budget and your schedule. To get the best prices, focus on
foods that are in season and check out your local farmers’ market for deals.
Using produce from the farmers’ market also makes for less work — the flavours
of these foods are so intense and beautiful, they’re at their best when
prepared simply. For example, a pasta primavera with blanched farmers’ market
veggies can be assembled quickly, and is super colourful and so delicious.

3. Invite guests to pitch in: The beloved potluck is making a comeback. Your
friends and family will enjoy contributing to the event, but be sure to be
specific about what you need so that you end up with a good variety of foods.
And establishing a theme can make it even more fun. For instance, call it the
Fresh from the Farmers’ Market Potluck, where each person brings a dish to highlight
a different fruit or vegetable that’s in season.

4. Keep away mosquitoes for less: OFF! PowerPad Lamp can repel mosquitoes from
an area of up to 15 by 15 feet — the size of an entire patio — for less than
$10. It would take 15 citronella candles at a cost of up to $60 to protect this
same area.

5. Plan right: The fear of running out of food often drives hosts to prepare
twice as much food as they need — at twice the cost. Know your head count beforehand
and shop accordingly. A general rule of thumb is to plan for six to eight ounces
per person of the main protein (e.g., steak, fish, chicken) and one to two
ounces of a side dish like rice or pasta.

Use these simple and affordable tips to entice your guests to linger at your
next outdoor party. For more information about how to combat mosquitoes, visit