Save for the 4th of July and a long weekend for Memorial Day, summer is lacking in the official holiday department. That could be part of the reason why we as a society have developed the casual summer backyard gathering; it’s a party anyone can have, on any day, in mostly any place, without the need for a reason to do so.
A good summer party is a straight shot of pure distilled summer relaxation. It’s playing games that don’t require their participants to break a sweat. It’s closing your eyes and letting the sun’s bright rays shine through your eye lids, filling you with a combination of energy and optimism that only summer can bring.
Part of the appeal, here, is simplicity. A good summer party has a few key requirements, but none should be overthought or stressed upon. No one needs a bouncy house or a catering service. Spending too much on food or entertainment makes it something else all together. Spending too much on alcohol just makes it a better party.
Essential things needed for a Summer Party
Your state’s laws will dictate just how explosive an evening you and your guests can have, but, any good summer get-together is better off with a little pop. Of course, take every safety precaution necessary and keep anything bigger than a sparkler out of the hands of young ones.
There’s something about a cheap set of outdoor string bulbs that emits a welcoming warmth, just bright enough to illuminate the food table, but dim enough to encourage a tranquil vibe.
Cooler and coozies
No one likes a room temperature beverage, let alone anyone not confined to a room at all. A deep cooler is paramount to any summer gathering. Get fancy and order coozies to commemorate the day.
Card games, yard games, drinking games and thinking games, adding a dose of competitive energy to the party is one way to turn up the volume on fun.
The smokey flavor of grilled summer cuisine is a staple of the season. Stock-up on charcoal or check propane levels the morning of the party to avoid an embarrassing trip to the corner store before dinner.
The baseline for any good summer party is the spread. Sure, encourage guests to bring dishes and set aside a table for them, but a host should always arrange for something special to offer to those who have made the trip.
Tiki torches still carry a social stigma that came about by no fault of their own. Useful little backyard accessories, they add to the familiar glow of summer parties and help to keep away the sworn enemy of summer fun, mosquitos.
Pops would roll his eyes to see you buy a pre-chopped and pre-rolled bundle of firewood for the party, but the convenience factor is hard to beat. Besides, you’ve got meat to grill, tables to set, and lights to hang.
Unless your party’s guest list is comprised of tots and tikes, they’ll likely seek a place to sit for the duration of the afternoon or evening. Providing a variety of seating options and areas is party hosting 101, and facilitates free-and-easy socializing.
Even with their minuscule size, flies and mosquitos can be a big bummer at outdoor parties. Luckily, smart folks have invented all kinds of sprays, candles, and lights to keep the buggers away.
An evening soiree won’t call for it, but no pool party or cookout is complete without proper sun protection. It’s also a great opportunity to rock that floppy oversized sun hat you’ve been meaning to find an excuse for.