How to Throw a Fourth of July Party

Four Methods:Planning the PartyChoosing the FoodSelecting the DecorationsArranging the Entertainment

The Fourth of July is always a fun and festive time. Warm summer weather, cookouts with friends and family, and fireworks all make the day memorable. With a few simple decorations and picnic friendly food, you can organize your own Fourth of July celebration to commemorate this patriotic holiday.

Method 1
Planning the Party

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    Send out invitations 3-4 weeks before the party. Avoid waiting until the last minute to invite friends and family. They might have made other plans for the day and won’t be able to make it.
    • If you are mailing your invites, send them at least 4 weeks in advance to allow for potential delivery delays.
    • Alternatively, you can send free electronic invitations through an online site like Evite.[1] Electronic invites are great when time is running out because they’ll arrive almost immediately!
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    Tidy up your house and yard. Make sure your guests will be comfortable by cleaning your home and completing any necessary yard work a few days prior to the party.
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    Borrow additional seating, if needed. Depending on how many people you’ve invited to your Fourth of July celebration, you might need more seating or tables. Save some money and borrow what you can from friends or neighbors.[2]
    • Lawn chairs and folding tables work great both inside and outdoors.
    • You can also encourage your guests to bring picnic blankets to sit on outside.
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    Develop a contingency plan for inclement weather. Make plans ahead of time to move the party indoors in case the weather turns bad on the Fourth of July.
    • Push furniture against the walls, if needed, to create more space for guests to mingle inside.
    • Choose an alternate cooking method for any food that would have been grilled outside. Indoor griddles or grill pans are one option.
    • Plan to watch a televised fireworks display if rain or thunderstorms prevent you from doing your own fireworks or attending another live show.

Method 2
Choosing the Food

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    Purchase affordable easy-to-grill foods. Hot dogs and burgers are great options for a Fourth of July cookout. In fact, the Fourth happens to be the most popular holiday for serving hot dogs![3] For the burgers, you can buy frozen hamburger patties in bulk to save money and time.[4]
    • Consider including a vegetarian alternative, such as veggie burgers, for guests who don’t eat meat.
    • Steak and seafood are delicious options, but cost a lot more. Keep your party economical and stick to burgers and hot dogs.
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    Ask guests to bring a snack or side dish to share. You can save money on food by having guests bring something to pass around. Ideas include chips, baked beans, salad, or dessert. Guests can even bring drinks or ice.
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    Organize a potluck. A fun way to get everyone involved in your Fourth of July party is to have a potluck in which everyone brings a dish to share. Your guests can bring something they like and everyone can enjoy the fun of discovering the different foods.
    • A potluck can save you a lot of time and money since everyone is contributing a dish. [5]
    • You can still grill hot dogs and hamburgers as your contribution to the potluck or you can do something else and skip the grilling.
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    Choose easy desserts in festive colors or shapes. You can add to the festive Fourth of July theme by creating desserts that are red, white, and blue.
    • Serve strawberries and blueberries with whipped cream for an easy red, white, and blue treat.
    • Use star shaped cookie cutters to cut star shapes out of angel food cake, then top with whipped cream and red and blue berries.
    • Order or make your own American flag cookies or cake.
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    Buy all of the food you will be serving ahead of time. Avoid the stress of last minute shopping and begin purchasing the food for your party within the week leading up to the Fourth of July.

Method 3
Selecting the Decorations

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    Stick to simple decorations. Decorating your home and/or yard for the Fourth of July is fun and a great way to create a festive atmosphere. You don’t have to do anything elaborate, though. Visit a dollar store for affordable decorations, such as red, white, and blue pinwheels and streamers or mini American flags.[6]
    • Cut star shapes out of red, white, and blue construction paper. Punch a hole at the top of each one, tie a string through the hole, and hang around the house or yard.
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    Purchase white supplies for eating. Red, white, and blue plates and napkins are certainly patriotic, but they tend to cost more than plain white supplies. Stick to white plastic cutlery, paper plates, and napkins to save money.[7] Your decorations will be enough to create a festive atmosphere.
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    Let the kids do the decorating. Providing materials for the kids to decorate will keep them entertained during the day while awaiting the evening fireworks display.
    • Use white butcher paper as tablecloths and let the kids decorate it [8] with red, white, and blue crayons or markers.
    • Have the kids draw pictures of colorful fireworks and display them around the house or yard.

Method 4
Arranging the Entertainment

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    Set up an outdoor game area. You don’t have to wait until the evening fireworks to have fun on the Fourth of July. Have some outdoor activities available to entertain your guests during the day while you eat and socialize.
    • Set up a volleyball or badminton net.
    • Borrow, build, or buy a cornhole game[9] (also known as a bean bag toss). This is great for adults and kids.
    • Borrow a croquet set if you don’t have one.[10]
    • Provide a few frisbees for guests to toss around.
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    Purchase an inexpensive kiddie pool or slip and slide. A small plastic kiddie pool is an easy way to keep the kids entertained and refreshed during the day. Slip and slides can be fun for kids and adults alike!
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    Provide sparklers for everyone. Use sparklers once it starts getting dark. Kids and adults can both enjoy them while waiting for the fireworks display.
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    Make a fireworks plan. You can choose to light your own fireworks, attend your local fireworks show, or watch a televised fireworks display.[11]
    • Only light off your own fireworks if it is legal where you live.
    • Practice safety when lighting your own fireworks and have buckets of water or a running hose close by in case of fire.


  • Encourage guests to contribute to the party by bringing a snack or side dish to share.
  • Provide plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained during the day.
  • Make sure it is legal to light fireworks in your area, if you plan to do so.


  • Do not light off fireworks in your yard if it is not legal where you live.
  • Fireworks can cause burns or start fires. Have water ready and a first aid kit nearby.

Things You'll Need

  • Food and beverages
  • Festive decorations
  • Activities for children and adults
  • Fireworks or other entertainment
  • First aid kit

Article Info

Categories: Theme Parties