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Even though we may not get an official break anymore, we can’t help but get caught up in the energy and fun of summer. One way to embrace that feeling? By throwing a party. Whether you’re interested in hosting a dinner party or a daytime barbeque, we have fun summer party themes and all the tips you need to make this summer an epic season of entertaining!
You know the saying: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enhance what’s already working. This is the perfect M.O. when planning your summer barbecue.
You can’t go wrong with outdoor favorites like burgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, and watermelon. Not only are these summer standbys crowd-pleasers, they’re easy to make in large batches.
To make your menu feel a little more special, consider amping up your condiment game. Set out onion jam and truffle mustard for hot dogs and burgers.
Then, rather than a bowl of plain watermelon cubes, toss in a little feta and mint for a fruit salad that’s the perfect blend of sweet, fresh, and briny flavors.
Looking for a way to make pasta salad feel a bit more special? Simply switching up the pasta shape can add a bit of wow. If you usually go for elbow macaroni, try a bow-tie shape or even a tri-color pasta to add visual interest.
Sweet lemonade is loved by kids and grownups alike. To make it easy for people to serve themselves, make a big batch and put it in a drink dispenser. Reusable cups are always preferred, but if you go the disposable cup route make sure to include a permanent marker so guests can label their drinks. That way they’re less likely to lose track of their cup and you’ll go through less.
Looking for something a bit more adult? Don’t over think it and set out coolers full of beer and spiked seltzers. Easily elevate the look with a beverage tub or drink bucket in metal, copper or acrylic.
Nothing is worse than trying to eat a hot dog standing up while also trying to balance your plate and drink. So, provide lots of seating options for your guests. If you’re expecting more guests than you have seating, consider laying out some blankets so people can cozy up on the ground to eat—kids will especially love the picnic vibe.
As for table decor, keep it simple. A gingham tablecloth can add a pop of color, as can bud vases filled with flowers from your garden or the local florist.
Last but certainly not least, no summer barbecue is complete without a few lawn games. Both cornhole and giant Jenga are classics that almost anyone can play.
A movie night is a great way to bring your entire family together—and by moving it outdoors, it’s easy to get neighbors and other friends in on the action. These easy steps make the indoor-outdoor transition a breeze.
Movies and popcorn are practically synonymous, and while plain or butter is always a crowd-pleaser, we love the idea of offering extra snacks to mix-in. Some ideas: Honey roasted peanuts, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and peanut butter candies. Just arrange the popcorn, extras, and individual popcorn boxes on the table and allow people to create their own mixes.
Beyond popcorn, consider other fun treats like a tray of brownies, boxes of old school movie candy (hello, Raisinets!), and individual bags of pretzels or chips.
A customizable seltzer bar feels a bit more special than simply offering cans of soda. Create a space where you can have a bucket of ice, glasses, and bottles of plain seltzer. Alongside, include different types of juices (tangerine, pineapple, and cranberry are all great choices) to mix in, along with bowls of cut fruit for garnish.
Want to provide some alcoholic options? Let guests add vodka or tequila into their special seltzer creations themselves.
You obviously can’t have a movie night without a screen. While there are plenty of options that come with a stand (and at a variety of price points), you can also hang a screen on a fence or the back of your garage if your setup allows.
From there, all you need is a seating area. Lay out blankets and towels, then throw down as many outdoor pillows as you can, so people can lounge and get comfortable.
If you have a pool, consider hosting a grown-up gathering for a day of socializing and sunshine. People tend to come and go at their leisure during a pool party, so it’s ideal to create a setup that allows for that natural ebb and flow.
Rather than offering up an entire meal, consider lots of bites and noshes for people to pick and choose from. Mix chopped tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and put it in a bowl next to toasted baguette slices for guests to make their own bruschetta. Other easy grab and go options are guacamole and chips, sandwiches, shrimp cocktail, and fruit salad. One thing to keep in mind: Summer days are hot, which isn’t great for food that’s sitting out. Set things up inside, or at least in the shade to keep them fresh for as long as possible.
Expecting a big crowd? Stick to the theme and fill an inflatable pool with ice, bottled water, soda, and other beverages.
For mixed drinks, consider creating a poolside bottle service. Take a bar cart on wheels and stock it with bottles of liquor, a bucket of ice, plastic cups, and mixers. Then, wheel it near the pool for people where people can DIY their own cocktails.
You can’t have a pool party without pool floats. While giant flamingos, unicorns, and swans are always fun, you can also go for classic rafts in fun colors.