Outdoor Party Ideas: 20 Ways to Spice Up Your Picnic or Outdoor Party this Summer

Summer might be half over, but I think today is definitely the nicest day we’ve had yet! Just beautiful! All this sunshine reminded me that we wanted to start having a weekly sunday BBQ gathering for our friends so I put together a list of 20 great outdoor party ideas to spice up your picnic or outdoor party this summer.

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Outdoor Party Ideas

Set the Scene

  1. Set up tiki torches to add ambiance.
  2. Put out the Christmas lights!  Adding the clear Christmas lights around a fence or a tree can add some fun to the outdoor party.
  3. Hold down the tablecloth by using tablecloth weights – they come in all different shapes and sizes!  Ants, ladybugs, watermelons, stars, etc.  Or, if you want to make you own weights, use some unused keys to weigh down the corners of your tablecloth.


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Cooking Tips

  1. Cooking on the grill? Make sure to marinate your protiens for several hours before grilling for tender cuts full of great flavor. Find awesome and delicious recipes on the blog.
  2. Get rid of those flies on the food tables by placing mini battery-operated fans on them.
  3. Grill your corn on the cob with the husks on.  Pull back the husks and remove all the silk.  Place 1 T butter, salt and pepper on the corn. Fold up the husks and wrap in foil. Cook on the grill for 30 minutes turning occasionally.
  4. For grilling meat, turn only once.  For steak, place them at room temperature on the grill and close the lid. Watch closely to avoid flare-ups and turn when the sides start to turn gray and the bottom side has good grill marks on it. Flip and close the lid again. Continue to watch for flare-ups. When the sides are gray all the way through and the second side has good grill marks check for doneness. When your steak is done do not serve it right away. Let the steak “rest” for about 5 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness.
  5. To avoid grill flare-ups make sure you have a spray bottle handy to give them a quick spray.
  6. If you are using sauces made of honey, brown sugar or molasses, be sure to wait until the last 10 minutes of grilling to prevent your sauce from burning.


Keep Your Guest Entertained

  1. Have some music playing outside.  Outdoor speakers are great, but it you do not have that set up there are a lot of great alternatives.
  2. Have markers set out for guests to write their names on their plastic cups.  Have more fun with that by encouraging people to use fake names, then try to match the fake name to the person.
  3. A fun game to play is freeze large t-shirts in blocks of ice, the first person to get the t-shirt out of the ice and put it on wins.
  4. Put a sticker on the bottom of some plates prior to the entree then during dinner have everyone check their plates for the sticker.  The guests who have the stickers win!
  5. Hula Hoop anyone?  Have a hula hoop contest and see who can keep it going the longest.  Once you get down the pro’s make it more challenging by standing on one foot, going down to the ground, turning around, put their hands down at their sides, etc.  It wont be long before there is a clear winner!
  6. Have a set up for a bean-bag toss and/or horseshoes.
  7. Don’t forget the kids – water balloons are a great hit!
  8. Buy cans of silly string and let the kids have a silly string war!
  9. Keep the party rollin’ by keeping the games going!  Some kickball for the kids?
  10.  Have a little sidewalk-drawing contest for the kids.  Prizes can be picked up from the Dollar Store, where you can get the chalk as well.
  11. Want to add more to the party, how about making it a white elephant party.  This does not cost any extra money for any of your guests, all they have to do gift something from their own home they do not want.  Usually this is something pretty obnoxious or just funny.  Then you can do a gift exchange!


32 thoughts on “Outdoor Party Ideas: 20 Ways to Spice Up Your Picnic or Outdoor Party this Summer”

  1. I always use the candles (cannot for the life of me remember the name of them) that keep the mosquitos away. In Florida, the mosquitos can be a huge problem outside! Also keep regular bugspray on hand.

  2. I you live in the south. I would put out citronella candles…they keep bugs away, smell nice and make soft lighting.

  3. Tiki Torches and Christmas lights? I would have never thought of that! What neat idea and such a cheap way to really make an outdoor party look great! Thank you!

  4. Make sure you buy enough food to feed approximately 10 more people than are supposed to be in attendance and clearly have two garbage cans for recyclables versus garbage to make cleanup that much easier. Plan easy outdoor activities to keep the kiddies away from the grill and you should be all set.

  5. I love the idea od Christmas lights for fun, easy, and cheap decoration. Also, one can never go wrong with a frozen t-shirt contest!

  6. thanks for all the tips, my best tip is I let my son & husband do the outdoor cooking & I just sit back eat & enjoy

  7. Make your own fruit kabobs! They always prove to be healthy and fun at grills. Have a wide array of fruits that can easily be put onto a kabob. This is fun for adults and (picky) kids!

  8. I like to let the kids wrap potatoes in foil and put them towards the back to of the grill and they love snacking on them and putting on all sorts of fun toppings.

  9. Cut a watermelon in half and use a spoon to scoop the meat out of it. It’s much easier (and less messy) to eat this way.

  10. Well, I like to buy big metal tubs and I freezeup empty2literbotles with eater,place them in the bottom of thetubthnpour crushed bagged iceover themthen put incandrinks or botlesto stay cold,thefrozen liters makeit staycolder longer

  11. Using any of the Pampered Chef products helps me stay cool and spices thing up with my outdoor parties….especially the Pampered Chef Pizza Grilling pan….I have had everyone assemble their own individual pizzas at a pizza topping bar (works great to use tortilla shells as the crust, too) and grill their pizzas…Kids that don’t normally eat a lot of veggies even load theirs full because it is so colorful and fun.


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