hot chocolate party outside, in the cold. Our dotted pumpkin showed signs of wilting, so yesterday, when dinner wasn't quite ready yet as the kids got home, I decided to do the hot chocolate party while we still had the pumpkin as a lantern. The kids, of course, jump for hot chocolate any time, and as we sat outside, sipping hot chocolate and enjoying the scent of the pumpkin, we reminisced about how I first invented these parties when my son and I were visiting my in-laws in the winter 10 years ago, and we needed something to do to escape the smoky living room.
Here is what you need:
at least one child (an adult will do if he or she has a sense for whimsy)
a porch, balcony, or patio outside
a place for everyone to sit
cold weather, though preferably not wet
a late afternoon or early evening when it's already dark outside
a hurricane light or lantern
steaming hot chocolate (I make mine in a half liter pitcher with 2 tablespoons of cocoa and 4 teaspoons of sugar, which I dissolve in about a cup of boiling water, then fill up the pitcher with warm milk)
a mug for every attendee
Once you've set everything up, ask everybody to come and bring his or her coat, maybe even gloves, a hat and scarf. After all, this is about sitting outside when you usually wouldn't. Hot chocolate parties outside obviously don't last long, 10 minutes maybe, until the mugs are empty and everybody starts shivering, because, obviously, it's cold. But it's a lot of fun to enjoy the outside for a while, together, all bundled up.