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How to Throw a Pie Potluck: Pro Party Tips + An Apple Pie Cocktail Guests Will Love!

Spend a pretty autumn afternoon celebrating the ultimate fall treat: pie! Here, all the easy how-to's


Move over, cake: Fall is pie’s time to shine. With pumpkins and pecans aplenty, it’s no wonder pie is the season’s most popular treat. And there’s no better way to celebrate this delicious dessert than with a pie party where you and your friends bake and bring your favorite pies. Guests will love sharing their recipes and indulging in sweets and sips in a cozy setting — and you’ll love how easily it all comes together. Keep reading for all the effortless how-to’s!

“I set up our pie party outside on our back patio — it was so nice to take advantage of the last of the colorful fall leaves,” says Dannyelle Nicolle-Ramjist, founder of “We started out with a beautiful table and used a pretty plaid blanket as a tablecloth.” To get the look of her party, above, layer a long table with a cozy flannel throw, lanterns, white pumpkins and rustic wood servers topped with pies and treats. Add DIY signs in front of pies so guests can see all the pies at a glance. Tip: For extra flair, stake 2 wooden skewers into a pie and string a mini pennant garland between each; knot to secure.

Bake up the perfect crust in no time

Pie party: A fresh-baked apple pie presented on a rustic table

Making a lattice crust is easier than it looks — and it’s sure to impress! To do: Cut dough into strips, then place horizontal strips across the top of the pie. Next, lift every other strip and place a vertical dough strip across. Repeat with alternating strips; finish by crimping edges with your fingertips. Or get fancy with a mini cookie cutter. Just stamp out shapes from a circle of rolled-out pie dough, then top your pie.

Related: Make This Ingredient Swap for the Best Pumpkin Pie Ever — So Easy!

Serve instant smiles with a tasty toppings bar

Pie party: tasty toppings bar that shows candy in little mason jars with spoons to add to pie slices

At her pie celebration, Nicolle-Ramjist invited loved ones to personalize slices with creative toppings. To do: Pour mini candies, chopped nuts, crushed candy bars, sprinkles and dried cranberries into separate jars, then tuck a spoon in each. Line up the toppings next to canned whipped cream and sweet sauces.

Illuminate the day with an autumnal candlescape

Pie party: Collection of pumpkin-shaped candles surrounded by autumnal leaves and cinnamon sticks on tabletop
Valentyna Yeltsova / GettyImages

Gourd-shaped candles cast a gorgeous, enchanting glow on your table. Plus, placing star anise and a bundle or two of cinched cinnamon sticks nearby will make your space smell like fresh-baked pies! To do: Start by clustering 3 different pumpkin-shaped candles (Buy on Amazon, $12.99 for 10 candles) on your pie buffet, a nearby console or dining table. Next, add a handful of star anise around candles and one or two bunches of cinnamon sticks tied with twine. (Click through for more centerpiece ideas.)

Wow everyone with bitty bites of bliss

Pie party: Mini pumpkin pie tartlets served on a wooden tray

To simplify serving, whip up pies in mini form! To do: Roll out refrigerated pie dough and punch out circles using a biscuit cutter. Press circles into the wells of a greased muffin tin, then fill with canned pumpkin pie mix (prepared to can directions); bake at 425°F for 15 minutes or until crust is golden. Let cool; top with whipped cream. (For more bite-sized treats, check out these delicious Thanksgiving cookie recipes.)

Toast to the season with apple pie sangria

Pie party: Apple Pie Sangria served in stemless wine glasses and garnished with fresh fruit and cinnamon sticks

This big-batch cider cocktail is like sipping the best of fall in a glass. To make enough to serve 8–10 people, pour 1 bottle of sparkling white wine (like Moscato), 3½ cups of apple cider, ¼ cup of orange liqueur, 2–3 cinnamon sticks and 2 apples (diced) into a large pitcher; stir. Let sit in the fridge overnight, then stir again before pouring into glasses. Optional: For a sweet kick, pour in 1 cup of caramel-flavored vodka. Looking for more fall signature sip ideas? Check out these 10 super-easy pumpkin spice cocktails.

Enhance the fun with some sweet competition

Make your pie tasting a potluck by asking loved ones to bring their favorite pie. As you set up the pie buffet, jot down a list of who brought each one and tuck it away, then assign each pie a number. Give each taster a paper and a pencil and ask them to rank their top three pies. Tally up the votes and award the bakers of the top-rated pies a prize, like an apron (pick one up at the dollar store), a gift card or a scratch-off lottery ticket.

Freeze leftovers for later with this savvy idea

Pies with fruit or vegetable feelings tolerate freezing temperatures better than custard and cream fillings, which can separate after thawing. To do: Pop pies in the freezer uncovered until frozen, then slide into zip-top freezer bags before returning to the freezer.

Brighten any surface with a blooming pumpkin display

Pie party: Blooming pumpkin arrangement on tabletop for fall
Galina Zhigalova / GettyImages

Bringing seasonal life to any corner of your pie party is a cinch when you showcase an eye-catching pumpkin bouquet. To do: Cut a hole around the stem of the pumpkin and remove. (Hint: Don’t make the opening too large — a smaller opening gathers stems for a fuller look.) Scoop out the pumpkin’s flesh and seeds, then fill with water. (Don’t toss the seeds! Click through to learn about the health benefits of pumpkin seeds.) Next, cut the stems of fall supermarket blooms so they stand three to four inches taller than the pumpkin. Insert stems, one at a time, into the pumpkin at an angle, forming a soft mound. Fill in gaps with branches, berries, or leaves from the yard. Tip: To enhance the pie party theme, display your pumpkin bouquet on a cake stand or pedestal plate; display on dining table or buffet table.

Say ‘you’re so special’ with treat boxes

Pie party: To-go paper boxes for leftover pie slices

Simple and stylish, these pretty little boxes — designed by the DIY pros behind Pretty Life Girls — are just the right size for toting home a sweet reminder of the fun day: a pie slice. First, order pie slice to-go boxes (buy on TableclothsFactory, $5.99 for 10) or create your own with this easy how-to from Tie boxes with baker’s twine. For optional extra flair, snip triangle shapes out of a sheet of scrapbook paper, then use brush-tip markers to jot down a sweet message, like: “An extra slice of delish to eat when you wish.” Affix the triangles to the boxes using a glue stick; arrange the boxes on a table.

For more inspiring party ideas, check out these stories:

Pro Tips to Throw the Sweetest Fall Dessert Party + an Irresistible Pumpkin Spice Treat

Friendsgiving Ideas: Pro Tips For A Happy Holiday Party + A ‘Drip Cake’ That Will Wow!

Pro Tips to Host Your Best Tailgate Party + The Trick That Keeps Food Hot for Hours!

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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