Author: Whitney Hollingshead
Summer is drawing to a close and fall will be here soon. Instead of mourning the loss of summer, put your energy into planning the perfect end of summer party! And what better way to celebrate the best aspects of summer than by throwing one final pool party before the weather cools off?
You can obviously plan a pool party for any group of people. Instead of planning this party for just the kids, or just the adults, consider planning a family event for your end of year bash.
- If you do not have your own pool, you can still use many of these ideas to plan a pool party at the public pool. Better yet, if you have a friend or neighbor with a pool, ask them if they would be up for throwing a party together. Bargain with them by offering to take care of the invitations and the food if they are willing to host. If they agree, make sure you let them have a significant say in how many guests will attend and discuss who will be on the guest list together.
- Once you have chosen the location and finalized the guest list, take time to nail down some of the other important details of the party before actually mailing out your invitations:
- You may be tempted to plan your pool party for the middle of the day on a Saturday; however, a middle of the day party will most likely lead to more sunburned guests. Instead, consider planning your party for the evening.
- Planning an evening party is great if you don’t want to serve dinner to all of your guests. Have the party start a little later in the evening and mention on the invitation that “snacks will be served”. That way parents can plan to feed themselves and their kids before heading to your party.
- Don’t forget to list other important details on the invitation like the date, time, location, RSVP contact information, etc. Surprisingly it can be quite easy to forget the most obvious details when you are creating your invitations. You may also want to add a friendly reminder like, “Don’t forget your swimsuit and towel!”.
- *In an effort to simplify your planning, you may consider inviting your guests over social media or by email or text message. While these options are helpful, efficient, and generally acceptable, consider mailing or hand delivering printed invites instead. Printed invites send the message that you are throwing a real party and that you really want the invited guests to attend. Make your party stand out by following the old school methods of party planning!
Setting the Scene
Here are some tips to help you set up for the party:
- Make sure the pool is clean and set at the right temperature.
- Spread out various seating options around the perimeter of the pool area. Make sure any seating option you provide is waterproof. Offer seating options that will be in the shade.
- Have fun music ready to play. Consider playing the Beach Boys, summer tunes, Hawaiian songs, and steel pan drum hits. If you feel like this sort of theme music is overdone, pick a different theme like 50’s rock and roll, Broadway hits, or your favorite current tunes. Just remember to keep all of your music family friendly in nature if children will be attending the party.
- Consider serving your food and drinks in various containers instead of just spreading them out on a table. For example, put some ice in a wading pool nearby and toss in water bottles, cans of soda, juice pouches, etc.
- Don’t forget to have a plan in motion for bathroom access. If your guests have to walk through a portion of your home to use the bathroom, consider laying down a trail of towels ahead of time to protect your flooring from dripping swimsuits.
- Stock up on the following items and have them nearby during the party:
- Extra towels
- Extra flotation devices
- Balls and other simple water-friendly toys
- First aid supplies
Here are some great snacks and drinks to serve poolside:
- Freeze yogurt tubes and serve them frozen
- Make your own snack mix or trail mix and serve it in individual cups
- Put out a chip and dip bar with various chips and dips
- Serve simple smoothies. (Consider blending half a can of frozen juice concentrate in any flavor with ice and skim milk. Add half a banana, frozen berries, or vanilla extract if desired.)
Games & Activities
Mingling with guests, enjoying the music, and of course splashing around in the pool is enough for a great party; however, if you want to add some extra pizazz to your event, consider these fun activities:
Tennis Ball Toss
Clear the pool and let several empty gallon ice cream containers loose on the water. Fill a clean trash can with tennis balls. Divide into teams and designate a starting line a few feet from the edge of the pool. Instruct the teams that the goal is to toss the tennis balls into the floating ice cream containers. Team members must line up and toss a single ball one at a time. Set a timer for 60 seconds. At the end of the 60 seconds, count the number of tennis balls inside the ice cream containers. Then let the team jump into the pool to retrieve all of the tennis balls. Repeat with the next team(s) and then declare the winner.
To make the game more challenging, add additional rounds by moving the starting line back further from the pool for each round.
Have some fun props ready like beach balls, snorkeling gear, and flotation devices. Set up an area near the pool and have a fun photo shoot showcasing each family that attends.
Activities Outside of the Pool
As this article suggests, it may be a good idea to think outside of the pool. In throwing a pool party you are safe to assume that most of the attending guests are planning on actually getting in the pool, but this may not be the case with everyone. Having additional activities outside of the pool also keeps the party exciting and helps to keep your pool from getting too crowded. Consider setting out some lawn games or setting up a volleyball net.
Enjoy the Party
Get your plan in motion by following the tips above. When it’s time for the party to start, have a blast with your guests and get in on some of the fun yourself. Wish summer a fond farewell by soaking up some fun memories with your family and your guests.