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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Make an Easy Rose Centerpiece

Use basic supplies and our easy technique to turn a bunch of roses into a stunning gift-box arrangement.

Our 9-x-12-inch box is nicely sized to be a hostess gift or centerpiece. But other containers are equally creative. Consider a wooden box, shallow hatbox, paper-covered cardboard box, or china serving piece. An oval casserole or baking dish filled with flowers makes a wonderful bridal shower or housewarming gift -- the recipient can keep the dish after the blooms are spent.

Need to thank someone for bringing you a meal? Return the china or container filled with flowers using this technique.

Roses make this impressively easy display, but red and pink carnations will give a similar look at a fraction of the cost. For a more casual, springlike look, consider simple white daisies, bright gerbera daisies, large or small mums, or any flower with a strong, upright head and firm stem.

This red-and-pink arrangement is formal, on-trend, and dramatic. But keep your mind open to other stylings: Choose flowers in a single, simple color; line the blooms in strict stripes; mix a random variety of delicate pastel hues; alternate rows of two different blooms; or tie an organdy ribbon around the perimeter or crisscrossed over the top as a bow.

1. Gather your materials

Select a container that is 2 to 4 inches deep to hold and hide the upright flower stems. We used a 9-x-12-inch woven-grass box from an import store (just $10), but smaller or more slender containers are equally appropriate. Note that widths over 12 inches can be cumbersome.

You'll also need floral foam (available at crafts and floral supply stores) cut to fit the container and a clear plastic bag sized to fit the height and width of the container.

Purchase enough pink and red roses to snugly fill your container; ours held 33. Choose blooms that have wide, open heads so they conceal the foam.

2. Prepare the container

Line the container with the clear plastic bag, folding excess inside the container rim. Cut foam slightly smaller than the inside of the container to allow room for the plastic bag and water (arrange multiple foam pieces to fill if needed). The top of the foam should be even with or slightly lower than the top of the container for a squared look. Soak the foam in water until it gradually sinks and stops bubbling. Be generous with soaking time; you can't soak the foam too long. Tuck soaked foam into container.

3. Cut and arrange stems

Cut rose stems short and at an angle, trimming to a length that will tuck firmly into the foam to absorb water, and allow the heads of the flowers to rest just above the foam. Fill the box with blooms in rows, inserting the stems straight down. Intersperse pink and red blooms, and arrange them tightly enough to conceal the foam and the rim of the container.

NOTE: Keeping flowers cool extends their life; consider putting them in the refrigerator at night. Check water level daily, keeping the container filled 1/3 to 1/2 full.


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