6 Steps to Host a Fun and Safe Summer Shindig
Written by Jenny Miller at Stop NDD (nature deficit disorder)
Summer is in full swing and that means lots of outdoor fun for people of all ages. If you’re planning to host a backyard barbecue, open-air birthday party, or other outdoor event this season, keep reading. Here, we’ll share six steps you should take to make your party safe and successful.
Your first priority is to start planning. Several weeks before the event, eliminate any potential hazards in your backyard, such as poison ivy or dead tree limbs. Allstate also recommends filling any holes in the lawn and making sure your swing set and other playground equipment is in tip-top shape. Don’t forget to clean the grill and make a sweep through the guest bathroom to remove any exposed or low-lying cleaning chemicals young attendees might find intriguing. If you will have adult beverages at the party, encourage your guests to bring a tent and make it an all-night campout to prevent drunk driving.
Consider the decor inside your home. At some point, even if the party doesn’t move indoors due to the heat or weather, guests will likely be going inside for a restroom break or to get beverages or treats. Make your home as inviting inside as outside by ensuring the decor matches the season — keep it light and airy. One way to spruce it up is by putting up wallpaper that accentuates the summertime party vibe. Thanks to removable and repositionable options, you never have to worry about making a mistake. The choices of color, fabric and design are virtually endless, as some companies like Spoonflower now even offer custom made-to-order wallpaper, so you can individualize it to your specific taste.
If you’re just having a small neighborhood get-together, there’s probably no need to send formal invitations. However, when you’re planning on bringing in extended friends and family, try to give them at least a three weeks’ notice. In the invitation, you’ll want to include the date, time and any other pertinent information of interest to your group. If you don’t have a Facebook to create an event, there are numerous sites that offer free online invitations.
No matter what type of party you’re planning, the centerpiece will be the food. Try to get creative with your menu and skip the traditional burgers and brats. These greasy foods might be delicious but they will also sit heavy in partygoers’ stomachs and might slow everyone down, resulting in a party that’s more drab than fab. Instead, cook up a few healthy alternatives, such as chicken and grilled asparagus. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also grill eggplant, pineapple and other fruits and vegetables that will hold their shape. Wayfair offers plenty of fun and guilt-free ideas for main and side dishes.
When you have your menu together, it’s time to start shopping. But you will need more than food and drinks. Stock up on non-toxic bug spray or set out fans, bring the sunscreen and make sure to have plenty of backyard games to keep everyone entertained. Don’t forget extra life jackets for non- and weak swimmers if pool time will be involved or if you live on a body of water. Grab a few packs of solar lights to help illuminate dark spots in the yard.
Hire a CPR-certified babysitter or coordinate with a few adults to keep an eye on the kids. This is especially important around the pool, if you live on a busy street, or have pets. And please remember – it is never OK to leave children unsupervised near a swimming pool.
If you’re looking for other ways to get the kids involved, here are a few additional recommendations from montgomerycountymd.gov:
During the summer, the thermometer can climb to more than 100 degrees, but even temperatures as low as 80 degrees can cause problems for young children or other at-risk demographics, such as the elderly. Make sure your guests have an air-conditioned area to retreat and that there is plenty of shade outdoors to shield from the sun. Keep in mind that summer brews up perfect conditions for pop-up thunderstorms and, depending on where you live, tornadoes can seemingly come out of nowhere. Keep your eye to the sky and move the entertainment indoors if the thunder rolls. While you’re at it, you might as well read more information on summer storm safety.
You want your party to be a success and that starts by making sure it’s safe. So clean the grill, address any issues before the party starts and never leave your youngest guests unattended!