Whether it’s planning a birthday party for the kids or getting a few of your friends together again, sometimes the mere occasion of seeing familiar faces isn’t enough. Why not add some spirit to the event by giving your gathering a theme? Here are some different summer party themes try—with a few changes here and there, both kids and adults can enjoy them.
There’s no theme like ice cream. If you’re overwhelmed by what to provide for dinner, try emphasizing dessert instead. Take advantage of people’s love for cool treats on hot days by putting together a gourmet sundae bar that features exotic flavors, unorthodox toppings, and non-dairy alternatives for the lactose intolerant among us.
We Americans get pretty wrapped up in regional pride for our sports teams. That’s nothing compared to the passion we demonstrate for our local varieties of barbecue. From the bold molasses flavors of Kansas City down to the smoky mesquite of Texas and out to the mustard-and-vinegar pork of the Carolina Piedmont, every part of the country with a tradition of barbecue has its own way of doing it—one that they’ll defend passionately against outside competitors. Nowadays, people can harness even the best-kept secrets of our pitmasters. You can recreate a taste of Kansas City, pull off a Memphis dry rub, or even put together different barbecue styles and let your guests decide which is best.
Suburbia in the 1960s could be a pretty wild place after dark. In the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, a case of South Pacific fever swept the nation as Americans developed a collective fascination with all things Polynesian—or at least what they imagined to be Polynesian. Young couples hosted tiki parties in their brand-new backyards replete with island-themed jazz records, tropical décor, and stiff cocktails. Throw it back to that mid-century magic with a retro take on the tiki trend—with non-alcoholic punch also an option, of course.
A classic picnic—baskets, tablecloths, and all—rounds out our list of different summer party themes to try. Even if you can’t secure space in a park, you can have all the fun of a picnic on your own property with the right dishes. Find some space in the grass, get comfortable, and dig into that summer pasta salad.
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