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Brown-Baggin' It Party

Sara Hicks Malone By

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Brown kraft paper isn't just for grocery bags, lunches and book covers.


This inexpensive material can be used for something worthy of a special dinner or fun kids party idea. Perhaps to celebrate back to school? For these decorations, you can use either a roll of kraft paper or brown paper shopping bags.

1) Lay down a roll of kraft paper as your “tablecloth.” (You can also use paper bags: Cut off the bottoms and spread out the main bag body. Match the creases in the bag for an orderly look, or let them fall misaligned for more of a crazy-quilt effect.) At each place setting, trace your favorite plate, then trace or draw the utensils freehand on either side. Create a monogrammed plate using letter stickers. To add some interesting polish, consider making a slit for your napkin.

tablesetting ideas brown bag

2) Make a festive garland of brown-paper pennants using scissors (or an Exacto knife), a hole punch and some twine.

brown bag wall garland

3) Guests always appreciate fun party favors. Whatever you choose to give them, wrap it up in a small lunch bag decorated with some basic school supplies: gift cards, , stamps, etc.

brown bag party menu

What to serve on your brown-paper table? Think bag lunches for inspiration.

You could have an all-sandwich party, for instance, with a variety of Tea Sandwiches—a dainty counterpoint to the more rustic look of the brown-paper décor. Or go with hearty Chicken and Waffle Sandwiches, Grilled Tuna Sandwiches (nicer than standard tuna salad) or Chicken Salad with Gremolata Mayonnaise. Side dishes could include bagged potato chips (buy individual-size packets, in a variety of flavors), as well as pickles and classic sides like cole slaw and potato salad. And of course you’ll end with Ice-Cream Sandwich Bars.

If you stick with sandwiches, you can also draft your kids to make lunch—it might even get them in the habit of helping during the school year! To get them really motivated try child-friendly fun snacks like PB&J Waffle Sandwiches, Crescent Dogs or Teddy Bear Sandwiches and, for dessert, a Fluffernutter Taco or anything on Panda Bread.

Your party guests will never look at a brown bag the same way again!
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