1. Tortilla “Pinwheels”
If you can’t serve anything better than deli meat and cream cheese wrapped in a store-bought tortilla, you probably shouldn’t serve anything at all.
3. Communal Shrimp Cocktail
Individual portioned shrimp cocktails in cute glasses with a little shot of cocktail sauce? OK. Giant plate of sad, pale shrimp that everybody at the party gets their hands all up in? No.
4. Super Saucy Chicken Wings
Sure, it can be fun to savagely gnaw on a stick of meat while sauce drips down your fingers. Not at a party, though, with a drink in your other hand.
5. Towering Burger Sliders
If you can’t actually bite into them, it doesn’t matter how impressive they look.
6. Short, Flattened Burger Sliders
Because 1) they look terrible, and 2) White Castle has perfected the art of the smushed, ugly slider, and there is no way yours will be as good.
7. Deviled Quail Eggs
The only thing you’re proving is how much time you have on your hands.
8. Raw Broccoli/Cauliflower Crudité
Raw carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers, etc. make totally decent crudité, if vegetables are your jam. But cauliflower and broccoli should never be served raw. No amount of dip will mask the taste of “tree.”
9. Anything on an “Amuse Bouche Spoon”
The oddly shaped spoons mean you have to open your mouth really wide, chomp down, and swallow pretty forcefully. And then there’s the problem of what to do with the empty, slobbery spoon.
10. “Secretly” Healthy Dip
If you substitute non-fat Greek yogurt, PEOPLE. WILL. KNOW. Just stick with sour cream from now on.
11. “Teriyaki” Meatballs
Teriyaki has recently reached dessert-level sweetness. No one wants sweet meat on a stick.
12. “Low-Carb” Versions of Classic Appetizers
Bacon wrapped asparagus is great, but subbing zucchini for bread and calling it bruschetta is not cool. Ditto anything with a “portobello bun.”
13. Raw Fish/Meat in Cones
This one isn’t your fault: The restaurants started it. No one wants to start the night feeling confused by the juxtaposition of chewy raw meat and a crunchy cone. Also, after more than an hour on the table these become a legitimate food safety hazard.
14. Soup Shooters
Best-case scenario: The soup is actually really delicious and everyone has to wiggle their tongues around inside the shot glass because it’s too thick to slurp.
15. American Junk Food/Dim Sum Hybrids
Enough with the buffalo chicken wontons and the reuben spring rolls.
17. “Actually-an-Entree-Just-Smaller” Appetizers
Pot pies are glorious; they deserve to be the main event.
18. Cheese Plate on a Stick
Better option: cheese plate on a plate.
19. Appetizers That Look Better Than They Taste
Cute. But black olives, raw carrots, and cream cheese???
20. Crustless Mini-Quiches
The crust is essential. It is what masks the fact that a mini quiche wants to shrivel up and die.
21. Stuffed Mushrooms
Even the most expertly stuffed mushrooms congeal at room temperature.
22. ”_______” Puff Pastry Bites
Usually about 87% puff pastry, 13% random filling. And 100% guaranteed to flake all over your sweater and make it look like you have serious dandruff.
23. Trail Mix
Are you throwing a dinner party in the middle of the woods? No.
24. Poorly Conceived Cheese Balls
These cheese balls are glorious. But don’t think you can mix cream cheese, olives, and ground beef and get away with it.