Summertime is the perfect time to take your parties and celebrations outdoors! The best part about throwing a party in the summertime is that there are endless options when it comes to summer party themes. With a little bit of preplanning, a tasty menu, and some fun decorations, you can put together a celebration that your family and friends are sure to enjoy.
Outdoor Party Ideas
Outdoor parties can be as simple or elaborate as you want – it is totally up to you. Here are a few fun outdoor party ideas and a few recipes to get you started.
Backyard BBQ Party
Host a classic backyard BBQ party for friends and family with traditional picnic food. Even a simple summer BBQ can be turned into a fun party with friends with just a little creativity. It can be so much more than just delicious food on the grill, tasty summer salads, and ice-cold drinks. Although the focus of a BBQ is the food, you can go all out with country-inspired decorations. Everything can be used for this theme, from sunflowers and mason jars to paisley print and plaid tablecloths.
Maple Bourbon Chipotle Chicken Wings
1 1/2 lb chicken wings
For the Spice Rub:
2 tsp olive oil to coat wings
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
For the Sauce:
6 slices of bacon (cut into 1″ pieces)
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp grated shallot
2 tsp chipotle chilies minced (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce)
Place chicken wings in a large bowl and drizzle with oil to coat. Whisk together all dry ingredients from spice rub in a small bowl. Add spice rub to chicken, using your hands to coat wings evenly. Let rest for 15-20 minutes.
Prepare a pan for the oven by lining it with foil (for easy clean-up), and placing a wire rack in the pan. Place chicken wings skin side down in a single layer on the rack, and bake for 40 minutes in the center of the oven, turning wings over after 20 minutes. Turn over once more and broil for 4-5 minutes for crispy skin. *These can also be cooked on an outdoor grill.
While wings are baking, prepare the sauce. Cook bacon in a saucepan over medium heat until lightly browned then remove from pan. Add garlic and shallots to a pan and cook for 2 minutes or until softened. Add chilies and cook for 2 more minutes. Add remaining sauce ingredients and return bacon to the pan. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer for 15 minutes to combine the flavors. Set aside.
When wings are done, cover with sauce and provide extra sauce for dipping.
Beach or Pool Party
Throw a party at the beach or bring the beach to your backyard with a fun pool party theme. This theme is usually characterized by sand, seashells, striped décor, beach chairs, and seafood. You can set up beach-inspired games for the day or host a bonfire gathering at night.
Even if you can’t actually have your party on the beach, don’t let this stop you. If you’re throwing a beach-themed party at your house, be sure to stock up on blue linens, outdoor pillows, glassware, and rustic beach signs.
Backyard Dinner Party
Host an evening dinner party in your backyard for an intimate and memorable time with your loved ones (bonus points if you have a pool as your backdrop). Set up one long table or a few groups of tables with elevated yet casual decorations (string lights are always a go). If you prefer cool summer nights over daytime heat, this is the perfect summer party idea for you.
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice or a pitcher.
Stir or shake to combine, then serve over ice.
Tex-Mex Summer Fiesta
Get the margaritas, chili, and tacos ready for your Tex-Mex party theme. This theme combines Western and Mexican fiesta party elements for one unforgettable celebration. Consider using a variety of colorful garlands, paper flowers, cactus plants, piñatas, and Mexican serape table runners for your decor. You can also add a nacho bar with a variety of toppings and a margarita station to make this a fun Tex-Mex fiesta.
Place pork in a large resealable freezer bag. In a blender, combine lime juice, pineapple juice, 4 tbsp maple syrup, oil, garlic, chipotles and sauce, salt, cumin, and paprika. Blend until smooth and transfer to a bag with pork. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine pineapple, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeño, and remaining maple syrup. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat; grease the grate well. Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade; grill for 6 to 7 minutes per side or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center reaches 145° F. Let stand for 10 minutes; chop coarsely.
Serve pork in tortillas with pineapple salsa, feta, and avocado slices.
Turn your backyard into an island with a luau summer party theme. This theme is easy and allows for a variety of DIY projects. Tropical flowers, palm trees, grass skirts, and fruity cocktails are just a few things you can incorporate to make your guests feel like they’re in Hawaii. In addition to luau-inspired décor, you can encourage guests to dance by playing Hawaiian music.
Summer Camp Party
If you’re looking for a nature-oriented party theme, a summer camp Woodland theme is a great idea. Plants, bear-themed décor, wood signage, s’mores, and a campfire will help transform any backyard or park set-up into the perfect camp getaway. Encourage guests to wear camping-inspired apparel and provide throw blankets and custom pillows for comfortable seating. If your party goes into the evening, try screening a movie in your backyard with a popcorn bar to keep guests entertained.
Ice Cream Party
We can always rationalize eating ice cream, but it’s especially refreshing during the summertime. Take a trip back to your youth and re-create an ice cream party complete with a bar stocked with loads of flavors, numerous toppings, and tons of sauces. You can even provide cookies, brownies, or cupcakes to make some over-the-top sundaes!
Place the peanut butter, maple syrup, and cacao nibs in a medium bowl and stir to combine. If the peanut butter is too solid, melt it slightly in the microwave to make it easier to stir.
Add the oats and stir until combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
Place the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small microwaveable bowl. Heat for one minute, then stir. Heat another 30 seconds, then stir until smooth.
Drizzle the chocolate over the bars, and sprinkle with sea salt, if desired.
Chill for a minimum of 3 hours or until set.
Cut into bars and enjoy!
Whichever outdoor party theme you choose, you will want to make sure the invitation goes along with it. A themed party invitation will tell your guests what kind of party to expect, allowing them to dress accordingly and more so, spark their excitement for the upcoming event.
With whichever party you decide to host, make sure yours is the kind of get-together no one wants to leave, whether you’re hosting poolside, in the garden, or on a rooftop.