The Big Chill: Five Ways to Warm Up Your Outdoor Autumn Event

The Big Chill: Five Ways to Warm Up Your Outdoor Autumn Event

Summer usually gets all the glory when it comes to outdoor events, but fall is no slouch either. After all, who doesn’t love the changing leaves, crisp air and blazing blue skies of a beautiful autumn day? (Not to mention the hot toddies that follow once you get home.) The worry, of course, is how falling temperatures may affect your guests. Here are five ways to make the most of an outdoor fall event, and keep everyone cozy from head to toe.

Set up a tent

Tents are a good idea no matter what the season to protect against weather contingencies, but in the fall, they can also serve as a cozy retreat when the mercury drops. For the coldest days, ditch the canopies you’d use in milder weather and arrange for heated tents with sidewalls secured at both the top and the bottom, as well as doors instead of wall openings. (If you still want a view of the foliage, make sure to get sidewalls with cathedral windows.) You can either get patio heaters or, for bigger tents, secure propane-powered console heaters, which can be installed outside the tent. Bonus points if you get some ceiling fans to keep the air circulating, and prevent warmth from pocketing around the top of the tent. (In the market? Check out our post on tent rental ideas.)

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Keep the hot drinks flowing

Hot drinks don’t just warm up your hands and belly – according to studies, they make people feel friendlier and more cheerful. Channel some of that positive energy (and add a little seasonal flair) with big batches of warming drinks, like mulled wine, hot toddies or spiced apple cider. Be careful on truly cold days, though – alcoholic drinks, contrary to conventional wisdom, have been found to lower body temperature, so they’re not a great idea if guests don’t have an indoor space in which to warm back up. For a less boozy option, go for some rich egg nog or hot chocolate.

Rent the right kind of heaters

For evenings that are nippy but don’t require full-on shelter, your first line of defense should be outdoor heaters. So which kind should you get? While ceiling- and wall-mounted spot heaters offer concentrated heat and reduced clutter, their scope is limited. Instead, opt for a freestanding patio heater, which emits 360 degrees of heat in a diameter as far as 20 feet. Other perks? They’re portable, which means you can move them around as needed, and they provide an instant meeting spot for folks to congregate around.

Wrap up tight

If there’s one thing slankets have taught us, it’s that blankets are no longer just for the indoors. While most people wouldn’t dream of wearing one outside (to their detriment, we say!), slankets or just plain old blankets remain a great way of staying cozy when you most need it – out in the elements. Keep your guests snuggly with fleece blankets that they can wrap up in when the weather turns nippy. Best of all, blankets can double as a kind dynamic accent for your decor, so make sure to buy or rent ones in warm colors with festive prints.

Go for a warm color scheme

Placebo effect or not, studies show that warm colors like red, orange and yellow can actually make people feel warmer – not to mention more energized and (careful now) more hungry. Make the most of your fall backdrop by incorporating traditional fall colors and accents into your decor, increasing the event’s festive atmosphere and subtly raising attendees’ internal temps.

David Sonntag
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