How to Throw the Best Darn Patriotic Party on the Block
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As of 5 years ago, we’ve thrown a 4th of July party every year at our house. 5 years was (as of the writing of this post) when we moved in. 2 weeks before the baby was born. Yes, I was clearly unbalanced. But we did it. And now we live on this awesome property in this awesome town, and are fortunate enough to throw big get-togethers where friends and family hang out, let the kids play, and sometimes drink a bit too much. (The grown-ups. You knew what I meant.)
And I think the party I love the MOST is probably for the 4th. But keep in mind that a patriotic party can also be your end-of-the-summer shindig for Labor Day! Either way, it’s worth taking a few notes on how to throw the best darn patriotic party ever!
It all started when our friends (who moved here the same time as us) asked if we could do the party at our house. The problem was that their POA didn’t allow firecrackers and fireworks, but since we lived outside the city limits, nobody gave a hoot unless it started a fire. (Although one year one of the *BIG* fireworks fell sideways and launched across the street and into the neighbor’s yard dangerously close to their house. Still not sure how we didn’t get a call on that one…) Anyway, we agreed, and the rest is history.
Being from the South, I feel it’s my duty to be the best dang hostess there ever was. Which means a TON of food, a variety of food (because we have several littles with food allergies–and not just my littles), as many pool toys as we can find, a bazillion water balloons, and a fireworks show that literally grows every year!
So whether you’re showing your luvs for our country on the 4th, or the 1st Monday of September, (or any other day that we celebrate our country and its heroes) here are some fantastic guidelines on throwing the BEST patriotic party ever!
1.Plan for the HEAT
We live in Texas and it’s not just hot–it’s sweltering here. Humidity you can cut with a knife. We used to put up a super long tent on our patio for shade, but we have a patio cover built now. Even with that in the shade, it’s still hot. So we have some really large fans to put on one end of the patio to keep air circulating and flies away if they’re bad.
Also–should go without saying but make sure you have stations with lots of water.
And if you’re putting seating and some yard games out, find some shade for those!
2. Have ENOUGH food, and a VARIETY of food
I know it’s a holiday, but I always put healthy options for any get-together for 3 reasons:
1- Some of us would like to pretend we’re sticking to our diets. (Ahem.)
2- Some ‘holiday’ foods seem to cause upset tummies with the artificial this and that plus lots of sugar. Mine are prime examples. So I make them get veggies and/or fruit when they fix their plates, and they have to eat said veggies before stuffing their faces with cupcakes or cookies.
3- Some people have legitimate dietary restrictions (like Diabetes or food allergies) and need something besides stuff full of sugar or salt or other allergenic ingredients.
*I always recommend having a few veggie trays, fruit trays, and cheese/cracker platters.
*Sometimes I’ll save packages, just fold them neatly and hide them in case anyone needs to see ingredient lists. I know that sounds cumbersome, but do YOU want somebody going into anaphylactic shock at your party? Didn’t think so.
Check out more ideas for Patriotic Party on my Pinterest board too!
One HUGE tip on beverages for summer is to invest in a really good cooler. Lots of people are jumping on the Yeti bandwagon, and I don’t disagree that those things are great. But there are other brands that don’t cost as much and still give just as much cooling power. We bought a brand called Bison, and they’re awesome! They’ll keep ice for like 3 days, no lie (even with people opening and shutting to get out drinks all afternoon!)
- Have kids’ drinks where they can reach them (as long as they’re spill-proof)
- Have water bottles readily available and in clear view.
- Spread drinks around the party area (inside + outside) so you don’t have traffic only for drinks.
- Have a few trash cans around to collect empty cups, cans, and bottles.
- And for heaven’s sake, make sure all the booze is readily available and on ice!!
Always make sure you have a big amount of chairs and seating. Nobody likes to be forced inside just to sit down. Or relegated to the concrete. And don’t forget that darker colors soak up that heat more than lighter colors! I’ve been legit burned on the backs of my legs before from a black chair in the sun!!
We’ve borrowed lawn chairs from friends before, and I try to snatch up ones on sale and keep them stored. We actually use those things a lot! Don’t worry about them matching–nobody cares.
5. Entertain the kids
Quite honestly this one doesn’t require a ton of thought. You can either ask your kids, or just look on Pinterest for summer activities for parties. (Click on image above to check out my Pinterest board for Patriotic Party ideas.)
We have a pool, so we make sure we have a ton of inflatables, including a blow-up volleyball set. But I also invest in the Buncho balloons where you fill like eight million at once and they have a water balloon fight. We keep sidewalk chalk stocked, and we have a trampoline and a zip line. But we’ll also buy a few cheap large balls for the kids to kick around too.
I’ve also seen some really cool takes on classic games where the components are spray painted red, white, or blue to make them more festive. Some examples were the big jenga version, croquet, outdoor bowling, horse shoes, and bean bag toss.
There are seriously so many cool things to set up for outdoor activities, but keep in mind that kids usually like to just…play!
6. Keep the bathroom FRESH
- Leave a stack of clean hand towels on the bathroom counter. (Or opt for disposable ones like these pretty ones that simulate linen!)
- Leave rolls of TP on the back of the toilet in case it runs out.
- Make sure the soap dispenser is FULL before guests arrive–it can get low super quick! Try a beautiful clear glass one that you can refill!
- Try to check in on the bathroom frequently–it can get messy with a ton of people over that are in and out of the house!
7. Special accommodations
Like for breastfeeding mamas that need to nurse. Or smaller kids that may need a nap. Have a room or two that are clean, and nice and cool and dark for this kind of stuff. And make sure those Mamas know the rooms are there for that, and to feel free to lock the door if they need to!
8. The dollar store can be your best friend
I honestly love the convenience of Amazon. But. The dollar store has SO MANY cool little finds, and can be a budgetary savior for parties. If you start early you can find some really cool stuff. And don’t sweat finding things that are already themed for a patriotic party. Just look for things in those colors and put stuff together.
*And most of all–don’t kill yourself going overboard!! People like looking at cool decor, but it won’t make or break your party!
9. Safety first for fireworks!
There are seriously some super cool new fireworks that come out every year! But keep in mind that even the most overzealous designated fireworks igniter may not be the most responsible. (I hate to say this but men in particular–and teenage boys–are sometimes totally oblivious to the fact that fireworks can maim you. And that said maiming is one of Moms’ worst fears.)
Be proactive in making safety precautions.
Have PVC pipes that can be dug into the ground for fireworks that shoot out far distances. Use solo cups with a hole punched in the end for sparklers (again–see the Pinterest board.) And make sure there’s adequate distance for all ground firecrackers and where people are sitting.
*Oh yeah–and make sure you have bug spray handy for when the sun goes down!!
9. Don’t frazzle yourself beforehand–have fun!
And really the rest of being a good hostess is making sure food and beverages are refilled when needed, or cleaned up, and MINGLING! You want your guests to feel welcome! There’s nothing worse that having a host or hostess running around like a chicken with their head cut off. It makes everyone feel like the party is a burden and then sorta stresses everyone out. And honestly makes the atmosphere like ‘womp-womp….’
Have a good time and everybody else will follow suit–these are your friends and family! Make sure they know that you LOVE them being there!
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