Published July 2, 2009
Don’t you just love a good party? From Fourth of July to Labor Day, and every summer weekend in between, there are plenty of opportunities to gather your friends for a festive summer soiree. If you’re looking for any excuse to host a party this summer, read on to discover four unique ways to share the good times of the season with your friends.
Outdoor Movie Party
Nothing says summer like munching on popcorn and catching a flick at a drive-in movie theatre. With a few simple steps, you can re-create the outdoor movie setting in your own backyard.
Begin by looking online to find an audio-visual rental company in your area; a portable film projector costs approximately $40 to rent. There’s no need for a fancy projection screen – hanging a crisp white sheet will do the trick.
Instead of showing the latest hit movie, find a blast from the past that you already know and love. Here are a few timeless flicks that are perfect for a drive-in movie party.
Consider showing short films, or even a series of classic television shows (like Gilligan’s Island, The Dick Van Dyke Show, or clips from Saturday Night Live) instead of a full-length feature. This will allow for mingling and munching, instead of just concentrated movie watching.
Set the backyard scene by spreading out big quilts or blankets on the grass, or line up lawn chairs for those who would prefer not to sit on the ground. Hang a few paper lanterns to provide just enough festive lighting for visibility as guests find their way to their seats before the big show.
Keep mosquitoes at bay by directing two or three large, circulating fans in the direction of the movie-watching area. Bugs tend not to stay in a windy area for too long. Your guests will most likely prefer to be a bit wind-blown than bug-bitten. Also, have a few bottles of bug spray on hand and easily accessible throughout the evening.
Set out a buffet of movie munchies so that your guests can fill their plates and settle in for the main attraction. Click on the following tasty treats for recipes and full instructions:
Pause the movie about halfway through for a brief intermission so that you can take orders for coffee, tea, or cocoa. Your guests will enjoy sipping a hot drink as the night cools down and the movie warms up. Enjoy the show!
Back-in-the-Day Ice Cream Buffet
The sound of the ice cream truck cruising down the street - at a crawling speed just slow enough to give you time to decide that you need an ice cream cookie sandwich – brings back fond memories of childhood. But let’s face it: regardless of age, we all scream for ice cream. So when the days get long and hot, why not host a neighborhood gathering centered around everyone’s favorite summer treat? Here are some tips for throwing an old-fashioned ice cream social.
This can be a mix and mingle kind of party, so pull the chairs away from your dining room table and spread them around for extra seating in the area where you’ll be entertaining. Cover your table with a wipe-able cloth – in a bright, fun color to match the merry mood of the ice cream social – so that guests won’t feel badly about ice cream drips or topping tumbles.
Keep the ice cream choices simple with classic flavors like chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and coffee. Set each box of ice cream in its own bucket of ice to slow the melting process – and to add to the festive look on the table, as you can find colorful or classic tin ice buckets at Target or Wal-Mart. It’s worth investing in an ice cream scoop for each container, so that you don’t end up with bent spoons from overzealous scooping.
Let your guests put their own personal touch on their sundaes by spreading a variety of toppings around the table. Candy bits, crumbled cookies, crushed honey-roasted nuts, hot fudge, caramel, and fresh berries are always classic choices. Throw in some unusual toppings as well, like crumbled chocolate-covered pretzels, espresso powder, melted peanut butter, or maple syrup. For a fun table spread, place toppings in Folded Paper Fortune Tellers.
Though childhood nostalgia is fun, some might prefer a grown-up version of an ice cream social. Keep the sundae station in the dining room and direct your guests to the kitchen for cool ice cream cocktails. Try these recipes for feisty frozen treats.
Put your guests in a sweet, nostalgic mood by creating a play list that reminds them of a sundae shop jukebox. Here are some tunes to keep your ice cream social hopping.
Or, if you don’t want the music to get in the way of good conversation, stick with upbeat instrumentals, like classic ragtime piano music. Either way, your guests will be tapping their toes as they enjoy a cool, sweet sundae on a hot summer afternoon.
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