Finger foods, sometimes referred to as hors d'oeuvres, are simple to prepare and require minimal clearing up as no utensils are required. What you decide to serve at your birthday party depends on whether your guests are adults, children or both. Prepare cold finger foods such as crudités or sandwiches, which can be prepared in the morning before your guests arrive, leaving you more time to organise other aspects of your party, such as the decorations.
Chop a selection of raw vegetables, such as carrots, peppers, cucumber and celery for a healthy finger food option. Arrange the vegetables onto a platter with a selection of dips such as a hummus, sour cream or tzatziki. Sweet, crunchy vegetables look attractive on your table and appeal to adults and children alike. Raw vegetables retain their vitamins and the bright colours will catch children's eyes.
Sandwiches do not have to be bland. Use a selection of different breads such as multi-grain, granary or herb-infused to make your sandwiches more interesting. Make a combination of meat, cheese and vegetarian fillings to cater to all tastes. If the party is for a child, use a cookie cutter to turn your sandwiches into different shapes, such as stars or hearts.
Bake some cheese straws using ready-made puff pastry which is available from most grocery stores, and some grated Parmesan cheese. Brush a beaten egg onto puff pastry and sprinkle with Parmesan and a little paprika or cayenne for an extra kick. Cut the pastry into thin strips, about 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) thick and twist each piece to make a spiral shape, bake in the oven for five minutes and serve warm or cold.
Finger foods do not need to involve creating everything from scratch. Save time by filling brightly coloured bowls with nibbles, such as nuts, crisps or pretzels. Place the snack bowls around the room, rather than just on the buffet table. Snack bowls are an inexpensive way to make your buffet go further.
No birthday party is complete without cake. Bake a batch of regular-size or mini cupcakes as a sweet-treat for dessert. Use the cupcakes as the centrepiece of your table by placing them on a cupcake tower. Add edible glitter or experiment with different flavoured frostings to give your birthday cakes an extra edge.