It's Halloween party weekend for many of us. I can feel the anxiety from here, rising like steam from party hosts.
If, like me, you like to make most of the food you serve at parties (or, also like me, you can't afford to have it catered), do yourself a favor and prepare as much of it as you can before the day of the party.
Many foods like soups and chilies freeze wonderfully, so make them early.
Prep for dish ingredients - chopping, roasting, grating, etc - can also be done ahead of time, ready to be assembled on the day.
I put a list of items I'm making on the fridge with 3 columns: prepped, made, served. If dishes have more than one component (for example, herb butter for a squash soup, or homemade dip with vegetables), I list them together. This helps prevent the last minute "I forgot to make the salsa for the nacho dip!" or even worse, you forget to bring out part of the dish when serving.
As I go along, I add a check mark to each column.
Honestly, this is a life saver. It also is handy for anyone who is helping you serve. They can look at the list and know how many things they should be looking for.
Doing a lot of work beforehand means doing considerably less work on the day of the party. Plus, you are less likely to end up stuck in the kitchen while your guests are there. It's YOUR party. You deserve to have fun too.