Gather your friends and use these patriotic decorating, entertaining, and recipe ideas for this year's 4th of July celebration. From festive star banners and refreshing watermelon coolers to raveworthy party favors and more, your 4th of July party is bound to be summer's biggest shindig.View Slideshow
Celebrate the beauty of autumn with a fall-theme backyard party. Use gourds, pumpkins, apples, and sweet potatoes for inspiration: These ideas for food, decorating, and activities will infuse your gathering with the fall spirit.
Fill a wheelbarrow with an assortment of pumpkins and gourds. Use a paint pen to write a welcoming greeting on one of the larger pumpkins. Set up the fanciful fall display in your front yard to usher guests into the party.
Draw attention to the party's entrance with a fresh and colorful display. Poke holes into pumpkins with a screwdriver and insert leaf-covered branches into the holes. Arrange the branch-bearing pumpkins around your front door, along with a few extra gourds for color.
Decorate a walkway with stacks of pumpkins in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Illuminate the path with candles set inside canning jars. If you're planning to do some pumpkin carving or painting at your party, invite guests to pick out their own pumpkin canvas along the path.
Editor's Tip: Don't leave lit candles unattended. If you cannot monitor the candles, use battery-operated votives instead.
Infuse your party with fall flavors and serve up recipes using the season's bounty. If you plan on hosting a potluck, ask guests to bring their favorite autumnal dishes to share. Browse our favorite fall recipes on the next few slides for some delicious dishes to serve at your party.
From apples to sweet potatoes, autumn brings out the best in both sweet and savory flavors.
Refresh parched guests with cider served in fall style. Hollow out a pumpkin, scraping the sides well and removing all the seeds and pulp before filling it with apple cider. Add apple slices and cinnamon sticks for garnish and serve in canning jar glasses.
Set up a table outside so guests can eat in the crisp autumn air. Top a table with burlap tablecloth. (Try making your own by purchasing a length of burlap to fit your table and fraying the edges.) Dress up the table top with a cozy runner, miniature gourds and pumpkins, and candles inside large glass hurricanes.
Add extra glow to your table with carved jack-o'-lanterns. Use different colored pumpkins, such as gray and green, for a variation on the classic carved orange pumpkin.
After dinner, whip out the pumpkin and paints. Invite guests to use their artistic skills to paint pretty designs or goofy faces on pumpkins.
Editor's Tip: Pour paint into old muffin tins to minimize mess.
Challenge guests to take on a pumpkin-face pinata (available at party stores or easy to make at home). Fill with candy or small prizes before the party. Suspend from a backyard tree limb. Provide a blindfold and bat and let guests have at it.
Fall weather can be unpredictable: Prepare for the possibility of cooler temperatures by rounding up a basket of blankets for guests to use if the air becomes chilly.
Get cozy without having to build a real fire. Download our free flame stencil and follow the easy carving and assembly instructions for this bonfire-inspired pumpkin pile. If a guest plays the guitar, ask them to bring it along and have a good, old-fashioned sing-along while gathered around the "campfire."