Throwing an outdoor bash this season? Then check out these five summer party themes that guarantee a good time will be had by all. Sport an outrageous costume and rock all your favorite tunes at an '80s party or say aloha to guests at a luau extravaganza. Each theme includes ideas for decorations, activities and food. So what are you waiting for? Head over to the local party store and have some fun while preparing for your next summertime celebration.
Decor: Colors for a luau are always bright and bold hues, so you can get your paper dinnerware in a vivid range of colors such as blues, yellows, greens and pinks. Use tiki torches to decorate the yard and greet every guest with a lei-a cute yet inexpensive touch. Other ways to bring the island feel to your backyard include using a luau table skirt or an inflatable palm tree.
Activities: The limbo is a must, of course! Try this limbo kit to get you started-it includes everything you'll need, even the music for you and your friends to see how low you can go.
Food: Serving drinks such as mai tais, piña coladas and daiquiris is an ideal option for a luau. For munchies, anything tropical will do. The typical food at a real Hawaiian luau is served buffet style and includes pork roast, salmon, stuffed tomatoes, chicken long rice and mashed sweet potatoes. Fruits are great too-especially pineapple. Our Island Pork Burgers and Fruit Kabobs with Two Sauces are sure to have guests dreaming of the islands.
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Decor: Coastal decor is a great option when throwing this type of party. Lobster or shell-print napkins and paper plates are ideal. Blues, reds and oranges are the standard colors for a clambake. For an even more playful touch, set buckets, seashells and shovels on each table for a hint of the coast. Or, just cover your tables with classic red-and-white checkered tablecloths.
Activities: Most likely your party will be outdoors around the fire or grill, so choose a fun hands-on game like bocce or croquet. You can invest in one of these inexpensive sets that comes with everything you need (and can be used again and again).
Food: The traditional clambake combines lobster, crab, clams, sausage, potatoes, clam chowder and corn on the cob cooked in a huge fire pit. If you don't have a backyard for this kind of cooking, try recipes that are within the theme, such as New England Seafood Chowder and Roast Sausages, Peppers and Potatoes.
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Decor: Keep the colors elegant and classic-gold and deep reds and purples are perfect. Fill your serving table with wineglasses, festive napkins and plates. Elegant wine coolers are great for keeping white wines cool; invest in personalized wine stoppers for guests to take home as party favors.
Activities: Host your very own wine tasting and get guests involved by letting them judge the different types. Decide on a specific type of wine, a country or a region and have guests bring inexpensive bottles that go along with the theme. Cover the labels on each bottle, then have the guests rate each kind of wine. Calculate the scores and have a prize ready for the person who brought the top-ranking wine.
Food: For a wine tasting, a few hors d'oeurves will suffice, but a cheese with fresh bread or water cracker arrangement is a must. Try this Fruit and Cheese Platter, or for a more savory option, Mediterranean Marinated Shrimp.
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Decor: Keep your drinks cool (and liven up your party) with these inflatable fiesta cooler. For paperware and serving dishes, opt for brightly colored themed items, like these pepper-printed paper cups. And don't forget to have a couple of sombreros lying around for guests to wear.
Activities: No matter what your age, a piñata is always a good time. If entertaining kids, fill with candy and let them go at it. For a more adult version, fill with lotto tickets, pens, playing cards or any other age-appropriate trinkets.
Food: For a fiesta, anything spicy and flavorful is key. For the main course, try these Chicken Enchiladas-which are sure to have your guests saying gracias by the end of the night. For drink options, opt for Blush Sangria or Classic Margaritas.
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Decor: "Rock the Casbah" with a variety of extremely big, brightly colored decorations. Find balloons in electric blues and neon pinks to greet guests in the foyer. Then gather up your old '80s band posters to stick up around the house, hang neon lights outdoors, and cover tables with polka-dot tablecloths-another popular design of the decade.
Activities: It's no surprise that an '80s music dance-off is the best activity for this kind of shindig. Put together a playlist of popular jams from the legends (think Pat Benatar, Bonnie Tyler, Journey, Foreigner) or popular dance hits. Want to make it competitive? Award the best dancer with a party favor at the end of the fun.
Food: Easy-to-eat finger foods are simple to munch on and allow your guests to keep dancing all night long. Try the Homemade Take-Out Chicken Fingers or Chipotle-Orange BBQ Meatballs
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Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
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