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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Graduation Party Tips and Ideas

Whether she's graduating from middle school, high school, or college, your grad deserves a little pomp and circumstance. Throw a casual outdoor party to celebrate her accomplishments with these tips and ideas for success.

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    • Host a Joint Graduation Party

      Graduation is a momentous milestone -- nearly everyone will be throwing a party. Guests might need to split time between multiple parties on a single day. Ask your grad to help you plan a joint event with close friends so partygoers will be able to stay and mingle instead of just dropping by for a few minutes.

      Editor's Tip: This works well if you have two grads in the family at the same time, too.

    • Plan a Simple Outdoor Buffet

      A simple buffet (with dishes prepared the night before) will satisfy hungry partygoers after a long graduation ceremony. Hosting an outdoor party can mean inviting more guests! Plus, it’s great to be outside in the late spring when the weather plays nice.

    • Keep Drinks Ice Cold

      Sturdy metal buckets and window planters stand up to the task of keeping party drinks cold when filled with ice. Provide a variety of drink options for party guests, such as soda, water, and flavorful chai punch (recipe available below).

    • Put Memories on Display

      Share fond memories and celebrate your grad's achievements from kindergarten through graduation with a memory timeline. Attach important photos to construction paper and hang them from string or a clothesline using clothespins (if your party is indoors, attach to twine or ribbon and hang from a mantel or across a wall).

    • Decorate Your Front Walk

      Let party guests know they have the right house by adding a sign to your front walk. Cut out letters to spell "congrats" from blue paper and glue to paper plates. Attach wooden dowels to the backs of the plates and stick into the lawn for simple, low-cost graduation decor.

    • Set Out Grab-and-Go Party Snacks

      Minimize dirty dishes and maximize guest mingling with grab-and-go party snacks. Our Wasabi Party Mix (recipe available below) fits perfectly in cones fashioned from sturdy, bright paper. 

    • Set Up a Gift Table

      To keep the party organized, set up a single place for guests to drop off gifts for your grad. Encourage partygoers to sign a guest book so your grad knows who attended the party and -- more importantly -- who to write thank-you notes to.

    • Make Graduation-Theme Cupcakes

      Graduation party guests will look forward to celebrating with these hat-topped cupcakes. Roll the edges of each frosted cupcake in nonpareils to make a colored rim, then add a hat and tassel made from a chocolate-covered cherry, chocolate-covered cracker, small candy, and fruit leather.

    • Decorate with School Spirit

      Show off your grad's school spirit with homemade pennants crafted from scrapbooking paper. Use a computer to type the school's block letter on paper, or hand-draw it using a large stencil. Cut the paper into triangles, punch holes in the top two corners of each triangle, and thread onto ribbon to create a banner. Hang the banner outdoors on the porch or in heavy-traffic party areas.

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      Take Pictures!

      After the ceremony and before the party, set up a time for your grad to take requisite pictures with immediate family and close relatives. During the party, ask a guest to handle the photography responsibilities or hire a professional photographer.

      Editor's Tip: To encourage impromptu pictures, scatter disposable cameras around the party.

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      Next Slideshow Cheap Outdoor Party Ideas

      Cheap Outdoor Party Ideas

      Throw an outdoor party on a budget -- we have paper decorations, easy snack ideas, and even a fun dip-dye technique that transforms dollar-store napkins into perfect party accessories.
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