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Chef Jess: Pumpkin-themed baby shower a perfect choice for fall

GRAND FORKS - Baby showers are often thought of as something that are loaded with soft pinks or baby blues, or, if the gender is unknown, sometimes you will get an array of pastel yellows and greens.

Clementine “pumpkins” fit the little pumpkin-themed shower and give guests an alternative to the typical sweets. (Photo by Accent contributor Jessica Karley Rerick)
Clementine “pumpkins” fit the little pumpkin-themed shower and give guests an alternative to the typical sweets. Photo by Jessica Karley Rerick

GRAND FORKS – Baby showers are often thought of as something that are loaded with soft pinks or baby blues, or, if the gender is unknown, sometimes you will get an array of pastel yellows and greens.
This fall, I just so happen to be co-planning a shower with my two sisters-in-law for my husband's younger sister. Since the gender of her little bundle is a mystery, we decided to think outside of the baby-hued box and embrace the warm colors of the season by going with a "Little Pumpkin" themed baby shower.

One of the first steps in planning a party is getting together your invite list and selecting your invitations. You might not even need to order invitations if you know that all of your attendees are active on social media, but in my opinion, it is still nice to get to touch and feel a real paper invitation. People always like to see something other than junk mail.
Because we decided to go with a seasonal theme, we were able to find pumpkin invitation templates online, plug in our specific information, click the order button and have the beautiful invites delivered within the week. There are always a lot of designs to choose from; we selected one based on the nursery being decorated in gender-neutral shades of gray and the chevron patterned baby blanket we had spotted on her registry.

A little-known fact is there are even a few online invitation sites that will address and mail the invites for you, but, of course, that would require you having all of your addresses ready at the time of ordering. It's usually a small fee, but sometimes saving yourself even a little bit of time can be helpful when you are planning an event.

Choosing a theme to match the seasons can also take a lot of stress out of decorating because of the seasonal items found everywhere you turn. In addition to the usual craft stores, you can often find a few things in your local grocery, dollar or hardware stores. If you are like me, you probably even have a few things that can be used around your house already.

For a few of the centerpieces, I decided to take a tip from Pinterest and decorate a few pumpkins to look like babies. While it is fun that we are going with a fall theme, we don't want to get too "harvest party" instead of baby shower.
To make the "lil pumpkins," I went to the grocery store and bought small pumpkins, which are often labeled as pie pumpkins. I then drew crescent shaped lines to look like sleeping eyes on the baby pumpkins with a black marker. For the mouths, I snipped the ends off of a few pacifiers and pinned them to the pumpkins using the holes. Because I was working on this for a gender neutral theme, I found a few baby hats to put on the heads of little boy pumpkins and a decorative ribbon to tie around the stems of the others to help them look a little more girly.

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As far as the food goes, keep it simple or try to find others who are willing to help or bring things.

In the fall, it's easy to find pumpkin spice items in the grocery stores or mouth-watering recipes online. One thing to keep in mind, which might be hard for some to believe, is that there can be too much pumpkin spice. For those that are not as fond of the spice, try to work in a few chocolate or apple items. If you are concerned that not everyone will have a sweet tooth, search out a savory recipe like pumpkin chili.

For another fun pumpkin-themed treat and something a little more on the healthier side, you can peel mandarin oranges and place a small strip of celery right into the middle. Your little mandarin oranges will look like miniature pumpkins.

Don't go crazy with elaborately patterned plates or serving ware. It's best to keep it simple and let people focus on the food and drink. Plus, you then aren't stuck with a bunch of baby or pumpkin plates, and you can possibly even save the extras for your next party.

Related Topics: FOOD
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