I love to throw a party! I know when I say that some people just roll their eyes and say “not me, no way. It’s too much stress!” I am not a fan of stress so over the years I have learned how to throw a party without making life difficult for myself or my family. My next pool party is going to be on Memorial Day. I’ve thought ahead, planned ahead and I’m sharing every little detail on How to Throw a Memorial Day Pool Party so you can host an awesome party, too!
Invites: Keep it simple!!
You don’t need to invite your whole block or everyone at your office to host a fun Memorial Day pool party and barbecue. Set a limit on the number of your guests and only invite friends and family members who you know will attend. Send out invites via email or Facebook to make it simple and organized.
You would think a cute table setting would take some cash money to make happen but I am all about the easy and inexpensive. A red & white checkered tablecloth can be found in plastic form at the dollar store. If your dollar store doesn’t have the checkered variety, simply choose a solid red. I don’t know about you but I do not want to wash dishes after a party, even using my dishwasher. Get Solo blue plates and bowls and of course, red Solo cups. Plastic forks, spoons and knives are the way to go too, however, don’t get the absolute cheapest. Get utensils with a little weight to them. Nothing worse than a plastic fork tine breaking off into your potato salad! Pick up some patriotic-themed napkins at the dollar store and your table setting is complete!
Now for a super-easy centerpiece! Just purchase a few small, inexpensive flags on sticks (they are everywhere right before Memorial Day). Buy a lovely, red geranium from your local nursery and then stick a few small, inexpensive flags in. Voila! Easy and affordable centerpieces.
Involving your children in the party prep process is such a great idea. Your kids will feel important and getting them involved in creating some party decorations will not only keep them occupied but will also provide some great bonding time between you and them.
Here’s a cute decoration that you and the kids can create together. These adorable Memorial Day Paper Lanterns can be made from any construction paper or cute scrapbook paper. Here are the instructions:
Cut paper to 6 by 9 inches; fold in half lengthwise. Fold edges back 1/2 inch for rims, and crease; unfold. Glue a 1/2-inch by 9-inch strip of decoration paper on each rim. Cut slits from middle fold to rims, spacing 3/4 inch apart. Shape into lantern: open paper; bring the ends together to overlap slightly; staple. Staple 3/4-inch by 8-inch paper handle inside the lantern. Glue on construction paper stars (made with a craft punch) or decorate with patriotic stickers. String your lanterns on a long piece of crepe paper or ribbon and hang across the yard!
For additional easy decorations simply purchase any flag or red, white and blue decorations at the dollar store. Even red, white and blue balloons are a cheap way to bring color to your party!
A Hot Dog Bar is the perfect solution for serving a big crowd and keeping your costs manageable. Have your guests contribute the side dishes like baked beans, mac & cheese, potato salad, a veggie tray and you will have a great interactive, food-friendly party. Of course, you can also scale your hot dog bar up by purchasing gourmet dogs and sausages and having a variety of buns, breads, etc to hold the dogs.
There will obviously be some prep work, but that’s better than slaving over a stove during or right before the party. I would set a large table with cute bowls or jars for the ingredients of each hot dog combination. Print out the menu/instructions below so your guests have some guidelines. I encourage my guests to come up with their own versions and give it a creative name!
I feel this list has something for everyone’s tastes and the kids can still have their plain ketchup and mustard dog…no need to make something different.
*New York Style: *yellow mustard and sauerkraut
*Chicago Style: *yellow mustard, relish, diced raw onion, chopped tomato and a dill pickle spear
*The New Englander: *baked beans
*Philly Dog: *grilled green or red peppers, grilled onions and American cheese
*The Reuben (aka Kansas City Style): *sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing, shredded Swiss cheese
*Italian Hot Dog: *grilled peppers, onions and potatoes, ketchup, mustard, salt & pepper
Texas Hot Dog: bacon, American cheese, chili
Here are a few tips for these toppings to keep things as easy as possible – grill the onions and peppers right along side the hot dogs. Slice, place on foil, drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Seal the foil packets. Assemble these packets ahead of time and just throw on the grill with the hot dogs. Use canned baked beans (unless someone is bringing them) and canned chili. Keep each in a mini crock pot to keep warm throughout the party.
If you don’t want to offer this many toppings, simply choose a few of these options and print out the menu/instructions for your choices. Enjoy!
Dessert: Keep it simple! Set out big bowls of fresh strawberries, huge platters of watermelon slices and bake some brownies with red, white and blue sprinkles on them. I make my brownies from a mix (shhh….don’t tell. They are delish!)
Its a pool party so you definitely need some all-American pool toys. You can get these patriotic inflatables from ToySplash for a tiny bit of cash (Hint: reuse them for the 4th of July and other patriotic holidays). Our American Beach Ball and American Pool Doodle is sure to please all the kids! Everyone will enjoy floating around the pool on an American Print Inflatable Pool Tube as well! Check our website for other American pool accessories!
Here’s a fun game to play with the kids using the American Pool Doodles:
Fill a lightweight plastic pail about halfway with water. Suspend it on a rope stretched across the pool – adults or older kids holding either end of the rope. Then give two or three children a pool doodle to whack the pail of water. The object is to spill the water out of the bucket on your opponents! For added fun, add some lightweight pool toys to the pail and give them as prizes just like the candy in a regular pinata!
Here’s a game for out-of-the water fun for the kids:
Flag Tag Relay
What you’ll need: Buckets of sand, small American flags on sticks or dowels
How to play:
To set up the race, divide the group into 2 teams. For each team, place a bucket of sand filled with small American flags (1 per teammate) on the far side of the yard.
On cue, the first kid from each team races to the appropriate bucket, plucks a flag and marches back to his team as quickly as possible (no running allowed!) to tag the next person. The game continues in this way until all the members of one team have returned to the starting line with a flag in hand. At day’s end, make everyone a winner by letting all the kids take home their flags as favors.
***Games for adults: ***
Be sure to have everything on hand for pool volleyball which is always a winner at pool parties. As the evening tends to quiet down, you can always get out the floating Pool Black Jack Card Table for some exciting casino fun in the pool!
You gotta have some tunes at your party. Here’s a great list of pool party music in no particular order:
California Girls – Beach Boys
Jumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones
Boyfriend – Justin Bieber
Maneater – Daryl Hall & John Oates
Wipeout – The Sufaris
Soak Up the Sun – Sheryl Crow
Bleach Blonde – This Century
Walking on Sunshine – Katrina & The Waves
Beach Baby – First Class
Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People
The Boys of Summer – Don Henley
We Are Young – Fun
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
Brighter Than the Sun – Colbie Caillat
Born in the USA – Bruce Springsteen
Walking on the Sun – Smash Mouth
Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffet
Firework – Katy Perry
Surf City – Jan & Dean
Love Shack – The B52s
This list has something for everyone’s taste. Of course, add some of your own personal favorites but keep it upbeat and peppy!
**Keep the music playing right in the pool with this PoolTunes Floating iPod Light Speaker.
I hope you get some helpful tips from this pool party guide. Remember – don’t stress! Your guest will have memories of the fun they have at your party, not the perfect food or expensive decorations!