16 Easy Summer Party Ideas

Gather inspiration for a casual outdoor gathering from one of our easy summer party ideas. From dinner on the deck to a festive taco buffet, your options are endless for a no-fuss summer party.

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11 Fun Ideas for Decorating a Cake with Candy

Make a birthday cake or other special day cake oh-so-adorable with candies! Cookbook author and stylist Libbie Summers shares 11 super-simple ways that cinnamon candies, jellybeans, maltballs, and other sweet favorites can make you look like a professional cake decorator in minutes.

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Coconut Cream Island Punch, The Cutest 5-Ingredient Cocktail Ever!

Make our DIY party cocktail -- that includes just a few tasty ingredients -- for an adults-only drink everyone can agree on. Cut-up star fruit provides a gorgeous base inside your drink pitcher.

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Sugar-Coated Ice Cream Social

I scream, you scream … You know the drill. Host a sugar-coated ice cream social the kiddos will love -- with cereal necklaces, paper crowns, candy truffles, and a whimsical ice cream truck. Go on and get celebrating!

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Pitcher Cocktail Recipes

Where there's a pitcher, there's a party. Whether you're brunching, dinner partying, or hosting a (very) happy hour, these fun pitcher cocktail recipes are sure to hit the spot. Find icy margaritas, fruity sangria cocktails, spiked punch, and more!

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Colorful Outdoor Party Decorations

Add some pizzazz to your patio with these colorful outdoor party decorations. You'll wow party guests with backyard pops of color that are so simple to set up.


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    • Outdoor Flower-Photo Chandelier

      Create a pretty outdoor party decoration in minutes with this photo chandelier. Snap a few photos of flowers from your garden (you can showcase a single flower or pick a few to coordinate with your party colors), print multiple copies, cut out, and clip them to the photo mobile frame. Hang it securely from a tree branch to create a cool focal point for your outdoor party.

    • Overhead Outdoor Party Decorations

      Instantly add bright pops of color to your outdoor party with these pretty paper lanterns. You can assemble them in a cinch and hang them with brightly colored ribbon from gazebo roofs or trees. Mix and match lantern colors to create a bold look, and closely follow the manufacturer's instructions when adding the light bulbs to give your outdoor party a magical glow at night.

    • Flower and Seashell Patio-Chair Decoration

      Add a bit of color to outdoor patio furniture with this easy-to-make chair decoration made from a repurposed tin can. To make, wrap patterned fabric around the can, glue in place, and let dry. Glue a starfish to the can. Cut two vertical slits in the top of the can; tie can to the chair back with ribbon threaded through the slits. Place a jar of water in the can and fill with brightly colored flowers.

    • DIY Outdoor Bird Artwork

      Artwork isn't just for displaying indoors; here, brightly colored bird-theme pieces (that you can make yourself!) hang from a wooden fence for a fun outdoor party accent. Print our free templates, available below, and enlarge to the desired size. Trace onto plywood squares (we used 24-inch plywood squares). Paint each artwork according to your outdoor party color scheme with exterior-grade paint. Once dry, apply two coats of sealer so the artwork can last all season.

      Editor's Tip: Use striped paper for a few of the birds to make them stand out. Cut out the shape according to the template, adhere the bird shape to the plywood using glue, and then apply the sealer as directed above.   

    • Etched Glass Vase Decoration

      Update a plain glass vase for an outdoor party decoration with a pretty etched design. To make, use a border punch to cut a design from adhesive shelf liner. Apply the liner to the glass vase and smooth out any air bubbles. Following the package directions, spread a thick layer of etching cream onto the vase, covering the design. Leave the cream on for the instructed amount of time and then rinse with water; embellish with a paint pen. Add some greenery and a flower, thenplace on your outdoor table for a fresh accent. 

    • Outdoor Party Lights

      Add enchanting ambiance and a soft glow to any outdoor party with string lanterns. Hang them in the trees, from fences or garden trellises, and around the perimeter of gazebo roofs. Neutral string lanterns like these won't clash with other outdoor party decorations, so you can keep them up all season. 

    • Flowerpot Wall Art

      Improvise with outdoor wall art by adding suspended flowerpots to a wooden fence. Spray-paint nine terra-cotta pot bases in bright colors. Secure pot hangers to the fence and suspend pots from the hangers, filling each container with annuals or herbs.

    • Nautical-Inspired Deck Decorations

      Create a simple, nautical-inspired theme for your backyard party with tall shutters and painted wooden paddles. Complete the look with an outdoor rug, throw pillows, and a multicolor tablecloth.

    • Glass Bottle Light Fixture

      Everyone will be talking about this creative light fixture! Make it yourself from recycled glass bottles. Drill four holes equally space apart near the top edge of a galvanized-steel feed pan (available at a farm supply store). Loop four equal lengths of braided framing wire through the holes and secure with a stainless-steel quick link. Drill more holes equally spaced apart all around the side of the pan. Coming from the back, thread a plastic zip tie through a hole, wrap around a glass bottle, and thread through the next hole, tightening around bottle and securing on the back. Continue around the pan. Finish the cool design by filling the center of the feed pan with candles and lighting them at sundown.

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