4th of July Party Ideas
Since your 4th of July party will most likely be an outdoor affair under the stars and the fireworks, your decorations should also sparkle and shimmer. Red, white and blue twinkle lights dress up trees and bushes, and you'll have no problem finding American flag-themed decorations like flags and balloons at a party store or your local drugstore or market.
Star-shaped napkins, serving trays and bowls can hold all of your salty snacks and dips. Buy flowers in the colors of the holiday to dress up your tables, and add sparkling pinwheels and glow sticks to the arrangements for a fun patriotic touch. Younger kids will love to play with the pinwheels, and older kids will think glow sticks and glow-in-the-dark jewelry are very cool once night falls.
Sparklers light up any 4th of July party, and they make dazzling decorations for cakes and other desserts. But be sure to keep them out of children's hands. Although sparklers are considered novelties rather than fireworks, they can be dangerous if handled carelessly.
If fireworks are legal in your area and you plan to have them at your 4th of July party, it's important to know how to handle them safely. Here are some fireworks guidelines:
- Follow the directions on your packaging.
- Only allow responsible adults to handle them.
- Do not aim at people, houses, dry leaves, grass or other flammable materials.
- Always have water handy in case your fireworks ignite.
- Do not attempt to re-light malfunctioning fireworks.
- Dispose of fireworks safely by soaking them in water before throwing them out.
While you're waiting for the sun to set and the fireworks to start, there are plenty of ways to keep your guests entertained. At a family party, classic outdoor games like a tug-of-war, egg-and-spoon races and balloon tosses (with red, white and blue balloons, of course) go over well with all ages.
If your party is taking place in a large outdoor area, break up your guests into two teams for a friendly tournament of flag football, volleyball or Ultimate Frisbee.
A bonfire is great for keeping guests warm. Assign some guests to keep the fire blazing, a few others to toast marshmallows for S'mores, and ask any musicians in the group to bring a guitar so you can have a group sing-along.
For a season-appropriate treat you'll remember all year long, plan a traditional New England-style clambake, a lobster feast or a down-home barbecue with ribs, burgers, hot dogs and fresh corn.
Cool sides like potato salad, pasta salad and coleslaw make great accompaniments to any of the above main courses.
For dessert, serve fruit salad in a hollowed-out watermelon, all-American apple pie and a rectangular sheet cake frosted with white icing and topped with raspberries and blueberries to resemble the American flag.
Also, as with any warm-weather holiday, you want to make sure your food doesn't spoil in the heat. Keep all perishable food in bowls over ice, and keep food in a cooler as much as possible.
Fourth of July (serves 1)
- 1/2 oz grenadine
- 1/2 oz Blue Curacao
- 1/2 oz cream
Slowly pour grenadine, Blue Curacao and cream into a shot glass for a layered effect that shows off the patriotic colors. Need tips on how to layer your liquids? We've got them!