Festive party foods are meant to fit a number of occasions -- from office parties to cocktail gatherings. And the types of foods served translate easily from one type of occasion to the next. For instance, barbecued wieners can be served at work or at home. And seven-layer dip transcends the dining room table, making for an easy potluck dish at the conference room table.
Plan ahead. How many people will be involved? What sorts of serving dishes and utensils will you need? Make sure you have all ingredients. If you're serving a dip, be certain to have chips, crackers or crudités on hand.
Keep the food true to the party theme. Make traditional Mexican food for Cinco de Mayo and apple pie for Independence Day. There also are a lot of spooky options for Halloween, including cheese balls that resemble goblins and funnel cakes made to look like spider webs.
Plan on four to six bites per hour per person for the first couple of hours of a cocktail party and about three for each subsequent hour, according to The Party Food Planning Guide. If you're participating in an office potluck, don't plan on cooking for the entire office. People might want a taste, but your dish isn't the only one they'll eat, so cook for only a portion of your co-workers. If you're making chili or a soup, plan on a few spoonfuls per person.
Test new dishes before serving them. If you appear out of your element, your guests will pick up on it. So if you run across something you might like to serve, test it on other people before the big party.
Consider presentation. Many foods are considered "party foods," but giving them a little something extra special can make a difference. If you plan on serving radishes with dip, take a little extra time to make radish roses. Peel the carrots and remove the from the celery.