Dive into Summer with a Cool Pool Party
The coolest kickoff to summer has to be a pool party, and hosting one is easier than you may think. Heck, you don’t even need a pool! All it takes to throw a sweet summertime bash your friends and family won’t forget is the right menu, a few carefree decorations and a playlist of upbeat tunes to help spread the sunshine. So here we go…dive on into some fun!
PERFECT POOL-HAPPY EATS
Keep the festivities light and work up a menu that features fun nibbles and lighter fare. Put out food in rounds so that there’s always a new batch of fresh snacks for your guests to nosh on. A few more ideas:
- Offer easy-to-eat foods that won’t wilt or wither in the heat of the day. Tortilla chips with homemade salsa and guacamole, finger sandwiches, spring rolls, fruit and veggies on skewers, oil-based pasta salads and mini pizzas are sure to make a splash.
- Consider a creative food bar if you’re looking to serve something more substantial—taco, tostada, tapas, hot dog, burger, sandwich or salad bars can be made to be as basic or gourmet as you want them to be.
- Style your sweets by cutting your favorite bar recipe into fun shapes with beach-themed cookie cutters, or make blondies using mini sand castle molds. And don’t forget about all the things you can do with Jell-O, like squares, shooters and this cool edible pool inspired by Honey Crust , which is made by simply filling a PYREX® EASY GRABTM 3-QT. OBLONG BAKING DISH with blue Jell-O and topping it with candy that resembles beach balls, beach towels, pool floats and yes, even a diving board.
- Keep everyone hydrated by offering plenty of drink options. Lemonade, water (flavored with cucumber or citrus slices), punch and juice boxes are good to have on hand. Your adult guests will appreciate refreshing cocktails like white wine sangria, mojitos and margaritas. And don’t forget the drink umbrellas!
CHILL-OUT TIPS FOR SUMMER FOODS
Food-borne illnesses peak in summer partly because bacteria multiply faster on food left outdoors in warm conditions. Keep your guests’ good health in mind with these tips.
- Heed the USDA: Perishable food should never be kept out at room temperature or outdoors for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is over 90°F). They’ll be safe if kept on ice, but if they are out of the fridge for more than 2 hours, or there’s not enough ice to keep the leftovers at 40°F or below, discard them.
- Protect potato salads (and other highly perishable items) and keep them cool by setting them in a large aluminum tray or tub filled with ice.
- Place food in the shade whenever possible. Same goes for coolers containing food.
- Shoo flies and other pesky critters by using netting or a food tepee to keep bugs off the food.
DECK OUT YOUR DIGS
Set the scene with decorations that encourage a relaxed vibe and carefree fun. We’ve tossed in a few ideas for starters:
- Channel the colors of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, the salty seas off California’s coast or the brilliant bays of Florida. Create a color scheme that incorporates the serene shades of surf, sand and sky by mixing a bevy of blues from navy to aqua with beachy tan, sunshiny yellow and bright white.
- Top your tables with linens in your color scheme, beach towels, seashells, rubber duckies, goofy sunglasses and beach pails filled with snack mix, sunscreen, goldfish crackers, mini bubble makers and gummy fish candies.
- Add tropical touches like tiki torches, paper lanterns and banners, patio string lights and potted palms.
- Incite wet and wild fun. If you do have a pool, scatter beach balls and colorful pool toys like noodles and inflatable rings about. If you don’t, fill up a large inflatable or kiddie pool that little ones can splash around in or set out a sprinkler. For the adventurous, set out a slew of super soakers and pails of water, or a huge tub filled with water balloons.
MIX UP A COOL PLAYLIST
“Knee Deep,” Zac Brown Band
“Walking on Sunshine,” Katrina & The Waves
“Margaritaville,” Jimmy Buffett
“Conga,” Gloria Estefan
“Three Little Birds,” Bob Marley
“Soak Up the Sun,” Sheryl Crow
“Summertime,” Will Smith
“California Girls,” Van Halen
“Jump in the Line,” Harry Belafonte
“Cruise,” Florida Georgia Line
“Hot, Hot, Hot,” Buster Poindexter
“Good Vibrations,” The Beach Boys
All that’s left to do is pick a summer date, invite your guests and slip on your flip-flops. If you’re lucky enough to have a pool in your backyard, don’t forget to make that very important announcement: “Cannonball!”
YOUR TURN: What’s your fave way to chill out and celebrate summer?