As Americans, we love to take any chance we can to celebrate our nation with friends and family. So much, in fact, that when Independence day rolls around each year, we spend a whopping $3 billion on holiday weekend parties, food, entertainment and travel. As a party host, the annual build-up of excitement can get pretty intimidating.
This 4th of July, take your party past the red, white and blue paper plates. Looking for a little inspiration? We’ve compiled 10 patriotic recipe, decoration and leisure ideas that even last-minute party planners can pull off.
10 4th of July party ideas that will impress your guests:
1. American flag pretzel bites
These patriotic treats not only make the perfect snack for your party, but they can also serve as center pieces for your tables.
“This is also a good make-ahead party item,” Laurie from Two Sisters Crafting says. “Both the pretzel and the M&M freeze up fine and still taste just as good after they are defrosted.”
All you’ll need are pretzel snaps, white chocolate melts and red and blue Mini M&M’s. To create the salty-sweet snack:
- Place the chocolate melts, bottom side up, on the pretzels.
- Microwave the candy for 15 seconds to lightly soften the chocolate.
- Press four Mini M&M’s at the top left corner (at 45 degree angle, which will give a row effect) and fill the rest with red ones to create stripes.
Fill the pretzel bites in a bucket, and enjoy! After the party, you can reuse these buckets to store craft supplies, small toys or planted flowers.
2. Star-striped mason jars
What’s a better addition to your Fourth of July party than your favorite Made in America product: Mason jars?
The only supplies you’ll need for this DIY project are red, white and blue acrylic paint, paint brushes and tape.
- For the striped look: Use masking tape to create straight lines to paint stripes on the jar, letting each coat dry and then applying a second one to get opaque coverage. Alternate red and white.
- For the star look: Paint the entire jar white. When it’s dry, cut out vinyl stars and stick them to the jar. Then, cover the jar again with two coats of blue paint. When that dries, peel off the stencils to let the white stars shine through.
If you like the distressed design, rub some sandpaper over the jar to pull some paint away. Fill the jars with white flowers, and place them wherever you need some decoration.
When not in use, make sure to store them in newspaper or other protective material. This will keep the glass jars from hitting each other and breaking, or from scratching the paint off one another.
3. Red, white and blue punch.
Whether you’re looking for a simple drink or hoping to try an elaborate Pinterest recipe, creating red, white and blue punch options is an easy way to stay consistent with your theme party.
- Real fruit spritzer: Muddle strawberries, blueberries and pineapple in a glass, toss in a few ice cubes and pour in your favorite lemon lime soda. Want to add even more decoration? Use a cookie cutter to create star-shapes pineapple pieces, and add them in.
- Blue lemonade: This one is very simple! Just add a drop of blue food coloring to your favorite lemonade recipe. To add a pop of red to the design, cut watermelon chunks using a star-shaped cookie cutter, poke in a white lollipop stick and enjoy your new edible stirrer.
- Layered punch: If you’re feeling ambitious, you can create a layered punch with three different drinks. You’ll need to make sure your drink picks have varying sugar contents (this will keep them separated.) Fill your dispenser with a generous amount of ice — this is important, it keeps the colors from mixing — and then slowly pour in each layer.One option: start with fruit punch, then add in Blueberry Pomegranate Gatorade and top it off with Sprite Zero.
Sick of those pesky bugs flying in your drink? Cover it with a cupcake holder. Place the cupcake holder facedown over the drink, pop a straw through the paper and relax as your punch stays protected.
4. Cake kabobs
Celebrate America’s birthday with a twist on a traditional cake. To make these dessert kabobs:
- Mix Pillsbury Stars & Stripes cake mix, adding in the red and blue sprinkles. Bake as normal, and when it’s cooled, use a cookie cutter to create cake stars.
- Microwave red and blue chocolate melts and dip in marshmallows, adding sprinkles on top.
- Arrange the marshmallows, cake and fresh strawberries on bamboo skewers and place them on a serving plate.
Don’t forget to leave a few inches at the bottom to grab on to the stick!
5. Bandana-wrapped utensils
Using red, white and blue bandanas as napkins is a simple, fun and functional way to add color to your table setting. Since they’re the perfect size, you can wrap your utensils in the bandanas. Use a small piece of twine to tie a bow around the arrangement, keeping everything together.
You can find bandanas in a variety of prices — but they usually average to be about $1 each.
6. USA door hanger
Give your guests a warm American welcome with this sweet and simple DIY USA door hanger that expert organizer Mary featured on her blog, Mary Organizes.
- Slightly bend the bottom of a red wire hanger — which you’ll use to hang the design from the door.
- Cut out and iron two rectangular pieces of burlap (this will determine the size of your decoration.) Sew three of the sides of the burlap pieces together, leaving the top side open to be filled with pillow stuffing. Place the hanger inside the top, and sew in the remaining side.
- Give the burlap a coat of clear matte spray paint, which will keep acrylic paint from absorbing into the pores of the burlap. Then use a sponge brush to paint the USA letters, adding in additional white stars and placing bows around the hanger edges.
7. Patriotic paint station
Keep any kids and pre-teens at your party entertained by setting up a paint station. Ask an adult or older teenager to volunteer to be the painter, keeping kids (and their clothes) safe from any potential paint messes.
- Nail painting: In addition to red, white and blue nailpolish, purchase toothpicks to help create fun Fourth of July designs such as stripes, hearts, polka dots and stars.
- Face painting: Use face-friendly paint and paint brushes to create simple fireworks, flags, stars and patriotic hearts.
8. Safety-first sparklers
Sparklers are a great way to get people of all ages out of their seats, amused and celebrating the holiday. Along with the fun, though, comes a few safety concerns.
Some things to note:
- Fireworks are illegal in some states, so make sure to contact your local law enforcers if you aren’t sure if you can use them in your area.
- You can not store fireworks (including sparklers) in a storage facility.
- All sparklers should be used with safety, and children should be accompanied by an adult.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that approximately 16 percent of all consumer fireworks injuries are caused by sparklers burning hands and legs. If you choose to use sparklers, keep your guests injury-free by using a solo cup as a hand shield, poking the sparkler through the bottom of the cup.
Fill a bucket with sparklers and pass them out, encouraging everyone to get involved. If you have a professional camera, try taking pictures of your guests’ designs!
9. DIY cornhole
Whether you have the time to make one from scratch or want to search for unfinished boards online, cornhole is a great all-American outdoors game that will keep your company entertained.
Use masking tape to create clean stripes, and either freehand or use stencils for the stars. Make sure to use water-resistant paint, just in case it rains at your party. If you aren’t sure if your paint will make the cut, just ask an employee at your local home improvement store.
10. Be prepared
“Prepare as much as possible the day before,” Mary says. “Setup for your guests if you’re hosting or go ahead and pack your vehicle with blankets, chairs and anything else you’ll need. If you are going somewhere, do any food prep that is possible and make as much as possible the day before. You’ll enjoy the celebration much better if you can sleep in to prepare for the late night, and aren’t stuck in the kitchen!”
No space to store all your party decor?
You may not have room for those outdoor games, themed food containers and decorations, but don’t worry. Instead of cluttering your garage, throwing everything out or giving it all away (you can always reuse it for next year’s party!) — consider self storage units.
Life Storage can help. With facilities available in multiple sizes and climate control options, we have the solution you need to keep your party supplies protected. Take a look at our website to find storage locations near you.
What are some of your favorite 4th of July party ideas? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @LifeStorage.