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Dig in to a potluck picnic in the park


 
It’s time to shake off Jack Frost once and for all and bid spring a cheery hello! We’re ready for fresh air, light on-the-go eats and some quality time with our besties. Well, what are you waiting for? Grab a blanket, a basket and, OK, maybe a light jacket if it’s still a li’l nippy outside, and get ready for the perfect potluck picnic at your local park.

 

You’re invited!

When it comes to a party that revolves around food, the more the merrier! Print up cutesy flyers on pastel-colored pages and hand them out to your gang. Include the pertinent deets plus a specific location within the park where you’ll be settin’ up shop. Draw a map and have X—or a picnic basket—mark the spot.

 

Plan the menu

Setting up a Facebook event or an Evite page to keep track of who’s bringing what will prevent you from having pounds of brownies and no potato chips. Go old school with a sign-up sheet in the back of your school notebook. Assign everyone a type of food—appetizer, entrée, side dishes, dessert or drink—and make sure some people are coming with paper goods, like plates, napkins, cups and cutlery.

 

Eat this, not that

When it comes to food, you want to keep things clean and manageable. Finger foods are fab, but if they’re saucy, you might wanna nix ‘em. Think in individual-sized portions: Baked chicken drumsticks instead of chicken breasts, cupcakes instead of layer cake. For snacks and sides, consider munchies like peanuts or edamame. The shells can be chucked in the grass or tossed into a compost pile.

 

Pick your spot

If the weather is already boiling hot in your hometown, choose a shaded area in which to spread your blankets and baskets. If it’s still on the cool side, sitting in the sun might provide some welcome warmth. Aim for a flat space that can comfortably fit your entire group. Many picnic areas have picnic tables. If you can, lay out your food buffet-style on a table to keep critters at bay.

 

Need some supervision?

No sweat! If your mom insists on coming along, set up a separate parent party a few tables away. Your ‘rents can gab about grown-up things while you guys (and gals) gossip the afternoon away.

 

Get your game on

Not ready to call it quits? If your local park offers a lot of amenities—think basketball courts, baseball diamonds, volleyball nets and playgrounds—go ahead and get active with your friends. Divide those who want to play into teams and burn off that lunch. Remember: You might need to bring your own bats and balls, so do come prepared!

 

If your park isn’t loaded with nets and courts (or other folks are using them), consider games like capture the flag, tag and hide-and-seek that don’t require any specific space or equipment. Wanna go back to grade school? Pull out games like Red Rover, Mother May I? and Red Light, Green Light.

 

Do you have more ideas? Tell us about ‘em, babes!

BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 4/17/2013 12:00:00 AM

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