Summer is here! Time to get that swimming pool and backyard area ready for your first pool party of the season! Here’s a few pool party ideas, theme suggestions and essentials to make your pool party easy and fun to plan.
Choose a Pool Party Theme
Whether you want to have a Fourth of July party, a Hawaiian luau, JAWS party or even just an excuse to get all of your family and friends together, the “theme” is the foundation for planning a successful pool party. First, consider the demographics of your pool party attendees. Then, come up with an interesting theme that you can apply to your invitations, decorations, music, activities and menu items.
Plan the Pool Party Guest List
Next, decide who you’d like to have in attendance; friends, family and/or neighbors. Inviting neighbors can be a great way to meet new people. Consider groups of friends who have things in common, so you don’t have to spend lots of time helping to break the ice. For children's parties, if the kids are young, consider that many may not be strong swimmers. Provide pool noodles for younger, less confident swimmers, or as a seat for adults.
Send out the Pool Party Invites!
Try to match your invitations with your pool party theme. Be creative! The more colorful and fun the invitation, the more interested your guests will be in attending. Try to give your guests a minimum of two weeks’ notice. Party invitations can be mailed, emailed, posted on a social media page. You can use an online tool like evite or punchbowl to create and send fun, themed pool party invites.
Pool Party Ideas:
Here’s a few of my favorite pool party planning ideas:
Great Pool Party Music Ideas
Pick out the music in advance & get your playlist together. You’ll avoid some stress of trying to entertain the day of the party. Create a Mix-Tape - only instead of a cassette, burn it to a CD, or create the playlist on your MP3 player, or iPod. Here is a list of some of my favorite summer time pool party songs!
- "Surfin' USA" by The Beach Boys
- "Mambo #5" by Lou Bega
- "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie YPDB" by Brian Hyland
- "Rock Lobster" by the B 52's
- "Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffett
- "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin
- "Summer Nights" by John Travolta and ONJ
- "Summer of '69" by Bryan Adams
- "Summertime" by Kenny Chesney
- “Run Around” by Blues Travelers
- “Soak up the Sun” by Sheryl Crow
- “Hey Baby” by No Doubt
- “Hey Ya!” by Outkast
- “Walking on Sunshine” by Smash Mouth
- “Fly” by Sugar Ray
- “Whoop! There it is” by Tag Team
- "Pocketful of Sunshine" by Natasha Bedingfield
- "Changes in Latitudes" by Jimmy Buffett
- "Heat Wave" by Martha and the Vandellas
- "The Boys of Summer" by The Ataris
Great Pool Party Food & Beverage Ideas
Make a list of food and drinks that will be available for the party. Use disposable plates, cups and utensils so clean up is easy, and so there’s no risk of broken glass around the pool area. Provide moist towelettes for effortless hand sanitation. Setting up a fan on one end of the food table can help keep flies away from the food area. Or, use some stylish outdoor food covers.
Since you'll probably be serving food on the patio, you want dishes that will "keep" well outdoors in the sun and higher temperatures. Tortilla chips & Salsa, Pretzels, Triscuit Crackers and Cheese all do very well, but on very humid days, cheese can get all "sweaty", and chips and crackers can go stale quickly when uncovered outdoors.
Fresh fruit kabobs make a great pool party treat. Use any combination of 3 brightly colored fruits, and slide them on a wood skewer stick. Add marshmallows for extra fun, or to add a white color. Another great presentation is to use small fruits or chopped fruits to create a beachball fruit tray. Other good foods that are easy to manage for swimming pool party guests are finger food like taquitos, pigs-in-a-blanket, hot dogs or pizza.
To make things easier, serve food buffet-style, either all at once, or in stages. To safely serve foods that need to be kept cool, place the serving bowl or platter in a second (larger) bowl with crushed ice in it, and return leftovers to the fridge within an hour or so. Be especially careful with dishes that contain eggs or dairy products which spoil quickly. If possible, place your pool party food on a table in a shaded area.
As for beverages, water is imperative for a hot summer day. What's more fun than creating some special infused water for your pool party? Cucumber-Mint water, or Lemon-Lime water, or how about Rosemary-Orange water? In a tall clear pitcher, set into a bowl of ice, flavored waters look as good as they taste! Other pool party drink ideas include Lemonade or diluted Juices, or Light Beers (in a can). Put the drinks near the pool (or float them IN the pool) so guests don’t have to get out every time they need a refill.
If you want to get out the blender, set up a frozen drink station where you can make Margaritas, Pina Coladas and Daiquiris (served in fancy plastic party store glasses). Be sure to buy more ice than you think is needed, to keep the drinks cold, or the frozen drinks coming. Always have non-alcoholic beverages available for your guests, and keep a close eye on those who may be drinking and diving - or driving.
Great Pool Party Color Scheme Ideas
Something that will go with your party’s theme, and that uses some of the colors already built-into your backyard (e.g. your patio chair cushions, umbrella,shade awnings, etc.). Inexpensive items like matching napkins, plates and tablecloths can be a great way to pull your party theme together. Other places to add a splash of color would be using plastic streamers that you can run along awnings or up support posts, small trees, pool slide legs. Inflatable Palm Trees can add a festive atmosphere. Tape a few helium balloons to a rock for table centerpieces, or tie air-filled balloons to different focal spots around the pool area.
For daytime parties, provide sunscreen and towels, or remind your guests to bring their own. Make sure you have plenty of places for guests to relax out of the sun, too. If tables and chairs are in short supply, most local party stores have these items available for rent. Beach Umbrellas, a party tent or awning can also be used to supply a cool, shady spot to relax.
Pool Party Lighting
Lighting in and around your pool can set a cool pool mood during evening parties. Stock up on summer favorites like Tiki Torches and Citronella Candles.
Activities can include board & table games, and lawn games like Volleyball, Bocce ball, Horseshoes or Croquet. There are also lots of great choices for pool party games like Volleyball, Basketball– even floating Golf greens and Blackjack Tables! There are lots of free games you can play like Sharks & Minnows or Marco Polo. Relay races of two teams doing funny relays across the pool (holding an egg on a spoon, for instance) can keep kids busy for hours.
Pool floats will keep guests cool & comfortable at your pool party. For your younger guests (and the young at heart), consider inflatable pool toys, water guns, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, just to name a few. You want to be able to keep all of your guests entertained at once. Shown right is the Aqua Rocker, a fun see-saw type game for all ages.
Pool Party Safety
It's all fun and games, until someone pokes an eye out! Designate a reliable, sober lifeguard to watch the pool carefully, actively taking head counts and keeping control of rowdy rough-housers. Don't allow Diving at your party, especially if the pool is crowded or if guests have been drinking. Keep a first aid kit on hand to patch up scrapes and boo-boos. When people move indoors, maintain a vigilant watch on the pool and the doors leading to the pool.
Pool Party Pool Clean-up!
Cut the grass and generally clean up the outdoor area where the party will be held. Be sure to clean the pool before guests will arrive, too! Nobody is going to want to swim in a dirty pool. Check that your pool maintenance tools are in good shape, and that you have all the pool chemicals you’ll need on-hand. Balance the water & run your filter to ensure clean, clear, sparkling pool water on the day of your pool party.
Pool Party Delegation
Guests typically ask if they can do anything to help – take them up on it so you’re not the only one running around. They’ll feel better that they helped you out, and you’ll be able to spend more time with your guests. Younger guests can be a help keeping cups refilled, or organizing games for younger kids. Older folks can often make very watchful lifeguards.
POOL PARTY FUN!
When pool party time comes, and your guests begin to arrive, show them where they can change in and out of their swimsuits, and make sure everyone knows where the bathroom is located. Guide guests to where the pool party will be based, show them where the food & beverages area is, and introduce folks as they arrive. Then just sit back, relax and let the good times roll!
SPP Pool Enthusiast