When I was sixteen, my parents threw a surprise birthday party for me. I still have the “happy birthday” banner that hung in our garage that afternoon — it’s displayed on my fridge even to this day. What a fun feeling it was to have a rush of gratitude overcome you so suddenly!
As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to throw Hans a surprise party. In past years, I’ve remembered this only days before his birthday. But this year, I remembered in early October — giving me plenty of time to gather up the troops and make a plan.
This was also a little self indulgent, I’ll admit — I’ve NEVER planned a surprise party before. Out of ALL the events over ALL the years! It was time to make sure I held on to my event planning talents by having some fun with this one. Here’s what came in handy in the process…
A CREATIVE THEME
That came easily, all thanks to Hans’ favorite fall food: pumpkin. (He’s on pumpkin pie number seven for 2014, BTW.) With a lot of help from my friends, the menu came together with pumpkin items I didn’t even know existed:
- pumpkin chili (this Whole Foods Market recipe as my base) with toppings including ground turkey, chorizo, cheese, olives
- savory bread pudding (called it “pumpkin” when it was really butternut squash)
- Chèvre pumpkin chèvre from Mackenize Creamery
- Pumpkin guacamole (℅ Barrio)
- Food Should Taste Good pumpkin tortilla chips
- And for dessert: two pumpkin pies (of course), a pumpkin cheesecake (℅ a Cheesecake Factory’s recipe) and these pumpkin cookies from Jen
…plus a couple non-pumpkin items. Let’s just say we ate very well that night.
A GAME PLAN TO GET HIM OUT OF THE HOUSE
I have to give full credit to my brother here. Drew came over the Monday before (questioning my last minute event planning skills) with the idea to ask Hans to go see a three-hour space-themed movie mid-Saturday afternoon. #jackpot Drew and Hans were gone by 2:45PM, giving me plenty of time to clean, prep food, get dolled up and greet guests before they returned at 6:30.
Sure, his eyes are closed, but look at that smile. And those jazz hands. #onlyagleekalwaysagleek
A GREAT GUEST LIST OF FAMILY & FRIENDS
These people — plus my unpictured brother, mom and Hans’ best friend — all pitched in, while managing to keep it all a secret for the past few weeks…
…all for one very happy redhead. Somehow, he had no clue — so all and all, I guess it was a huge success! Now if only I talked my mom into making two of those cheesecakes… there is a full holiday season ahead of us though. Keep the pumpkin coming!