Summer is heating up, and it’s time to look ahead to 4th of July party ideas! My family hosts a backyard bash every July 4th but we’re currently in the middle of a move, so instead of getting ready for our usual fireworked festivities, I’m going to share some of our favorite 4th of July party ideas through the years.
1. Put out a variety of yard games, such as croquet, ring toss, golf toss, a football and baseball and gloves for playing catch, and frisbees. Having a great selection of yard games in sight will encourage your guests to spread out throughout your backyard (versus everyone crowding on the deck or in the kitchen).
2. Set up a slip and slide. Have your guests bring their swimsuits and a towel, and help the kids beat the heat and burn off some energy with a slip and slide or sprinkler set up in your backyard.
3. Keep the kids entertained even after the water fun wears off with buckets of toys and playthings. Fourth of July-themed tattoos, stars and striped pinwheels, “snapper” fireworks, sparklers, and glow bracelets for when the sun goes down have all been huge hits with the little ones at our parties. Interested in doing something unique and unexpected? Make up some DIY 4th of July Candy Rockets! Fill the insides of these rocket with toys, trinkets and candies for a fun and festive surprise.
4 . Keep guests safe with plenty of sunscreen and bug spray close at hand. I like to set out little buckets with sunscreen and bug spray in several different places on our deck, patio, and backyard, so guests never have to look far to find some and reapply. Make your outdoor area a mosquito-free zone by spraying your yard with a specialty mosquito yard spray prior to your party, or for a more all-natural approach, consider making or purchasing all-natural citronella candles to burn and keep the bites away.
5. Have a s’mores buffet! If you have a fire pit in your backyard, consider setting up a fun s’mores buffet for your guests. Think beyond the Hershey bar and include a variety of chocolate options including the traditional milk chocolate, Hershey’s Cookies & Cream bars, dark chocolate options, and even Reese’s peanut butter cups. Chocolate lovers can swap out the standard honey graham crackers for the chocolate graham variety, or try cinnamon graham crackers for a unique s’mores taste!
6. Keep costs low with budget-friendly DIY decorating. Look around your home to see what you already have on hand that could fit your Fourth of July party’s red, white, and blue theme. Red baskets or bowls from Christmas repurpose well for July 4th. Low-cost red and blue handkerchiefs are a cheap and easy way to dress up a tabletop when opened up and laid flat. Raid your recycle bin and spray paint glass jars red white and blue, or tie with ribbon or fabric for low-cost patriotic centerpieces. Mason jars also make great party decor. Tie them with ribbon or stick the center of a festive napkin inside (with the edges of the napkin coming up and out of the top of the jar) and fill with silverware for guests, or Twizzlers licorice for a fun little candy display that resembles fireworks.
One of my favorite low-cost 4th of July decorations is this denim pocket bunting I made last year out of old blue jeans. You can hang the pockets as shown for a decorative banner, or set a single pocket on top of each guest’s placesetting to hold their napkin and utensils.
7. Consider making your party a potluck. When it comes to food, summer potlucks are a great option for large parties. As hosts, we like to take care of the meat, buns, and beverages and ask our guests to bring a side dish to share. I love the variety we end up having, and the fun of tasting new dishes and recipes. Feeding a lot of people and don’t want to be chained to your grill? Try my crowd-pleasing pulled pork BBQ Sandwiches. This recipe can be prepared a day or two before your party, which is such a time saver! On the day of your party simply warm it up (and serve it) using a slow cooker or roaster. In our experience the pans will likely be scraped clean by the time your party is over, but just in case there are leftovers this recipe is also freezer-friendly.
Wishing you all a safe and enjoyable upcoming 4th of July holiday!