The backyard is…
the ideal place to throw a summer party,
but how do you elevate the traditional barbecue to new levels?
There are several ways you can transform the ordinary backyard picnic into an exciting celebration.
One of the easiest methods is to create your party around a theme.
Themed events are always memorable, and if you plan properly, you may become the master of festivities in your neighborhood.
Keep Cool With a Beach Theme
One of the best things about summertime is spending an afternoon at the beach.
You can easily incorporate this beloved pastime into your next outdoor party.
Purchase some children’s pools, fill them with sand, and have a sandcastle building contest.
Set up volleyball nets as well as Frisbee and beach ball zones.
Have the children play hot coconut instead of hot potato.
You can provide a water element using sprinklers, water balloons, small pools, and buckets of ice.
For your menu, provide guests with foods you may pack for a jaunt to the shore.
Small sandwiches shaped like surfboards, cookies decorated like beach balls, and a watermelon boat filled with fruit salad are great beach foods.
You can also pour punch into a clean sand pail and let guests scoop it out with plastic shovels.
When night falls, light a bonfire and roast marshmallows.
To really make the event memorable, send guests home with small favors such as a beach ball, glittery sun block or a beach towel.
Travel the World
Many people enjoy the unique flavors at an international food festival, so why not host one in your own backyard?
Set up various stations representing different countries, and provide music, games, activities and food to reflect each area.
Provide scones and cucumber sandwiches for a tea party in England, or make a pasta and cheese dish, and set up a Bocce ball game in Italy.
You can also represent different states at your food festival.
Nothing screams summer like a luau, and planning a Hawaiian-themed party is easier than you think.
Turn your yard into paradise by adding tiki torches, surfboards, decorative lanterns and colorful tropical flowers.
Have partygoers wear Hawaiian clothing and leis, dance the hula, and compete in limbo contests.
Roast a pig on a spit, and provide a variety of fruits such as bananas and pineapples.
Think Like a Child
If you really want to make your backyard barbecue extraordinary, draw upon the memories of your childhood.
You can create a theme around any childhood story or interest.
One example is a pirate’s banquet complete with hot dogs and beans, spiked rum punch, and pirate’s stew made of cubed chicken, melted cheese and seashell pasta.
Provide chocolate gold coins or malted cannonballs as dessert.
Fun pirate activities include treasure hunts, fake tattoo stations for the kids, and musical islands, a version of musical chairs.
For a picnic that will please both adults and children, turn your backyard into the legendary Wonderland.
Create a rabbit hole entrance out of clothing lines and old sheets, and let your guests step into another world.
Fill your yard with eye-catching miniature and oversized décor.
Label all your snacks with cards stating that your guests should eat or drink each item.
Include activities such as croquet, three-legged races and a race through a mock hedge maze.
Make Food the Central Theme
If you and your guests are food addicts, you can create a theme based on your favorite tantalizing treats.
A barbecue theme is one of the easiest to prepare for, and virtually everyone loves some form of barbecue related food.
Serve your guests baked beans, grilled chicken, ribs, corn bread, coleslaw and potato salad.
Set up a dance floor on your pavers and have a line dancing contest.
Present the winner with a whole fruit cobbler or pie.
You can also throw a dessert party and skip the meal completely.
To cool down your guests, set up a frozen yogurt bar.
Place two picnic tables side by side, and set multicolored bowls across them.
Fill the bowls with any toppings you can think of, including shaved coconut, miniature butterscotch chips and crushed cookies.
Place several containers of frozen yogurt into a bin of ice.
Provide guests with cones, waffle bowls, small cups or oversized bowls, and encourage them to invent crazy creations.
Anyone can put together a backyard barbecue, but it takes some effort to create an impressive and unforgettable fiesta.
When deciding on a theme for your next picnic, consider the ages and interests of your guests.
Once you have a theme, choose a menu that will not only entice your friends and family, it will stay on their minds long after the party ends.
With a little imagination and some planning, you can host a backyard bash to remember.