Summer Party Themes

Hawaiian Luau
Perfect for warm summer nights, let the tropics inspire everything about this party. Focus your menu around small, exotic dishes such as teriyaki beef skewers and sweet-and-sour chicken bites or go all out and order up a roasted pig from your local restaurant. So many Polynesian recipes center around tangy, fruity dips and sauces that can be paired with any type of meat, so get creative. Round out your menu with tasty cocktails such as Mai Tais or Pina Coladas. Finally, no luau would be complete without grass skirts, leis and tiki torches, all of which can be purchased at your local party store.

Cocktails by the Pool
For this grown-up take on the classic pool party, it’s all about drinks and appetizers, and pampering your guests. Be sure to set up lots of lounge chairs and small tray tables surrounding your pool—an in-ground pool with a deck works best. Roll up a plush towel and set one on each chair so guests know they’re welcome to take a dip. Fill your pool with colorful beach balls and set large oversized hurricanes filled with pillar candles around the party area. Light the candles at nightfall to set the mood. Encourage guests to lounge as servers bring by tasty finger foods such as bruschetta, sliders and mini tacos. Serve a few classic summer cocktails such as gin and tonics, margaritas or cosmopolitans.

Burgers and Beer
To curb those summer comfort food cravings, throw a burgers-and-beer bash. It may sound simple, but this party will get its kick from a creative burger fixings bar and surprising guests with a beer tasting. For the burgers, set out classic and unexpected toppings such as avocado, salsa, remoulade, pickled onions, spicy mayonnaise and crumbled blue cheese. Nothing pairs better with burgers than beer, but to shake things up, offer guests a few new varieties to try. Type up a list of each beer and have guests do mini-tastings, giving scores to each. Then be sure to have plenty of the top favorites on hand at the next party.

Asian-themed Happy Hour
Invite your friends over to unwind from a long week with this flavorful get-together. This party can require as much or as little cooking as you’d like. Order in dumplings, ribs, egg rolls or even sushi from your favorite restaurant or, if you have the time, make your own. Pair the food with sake, Japanese beer such as Sapporo, or serve a Lychee martini as your signature drink. To decorate, hang colorful paper lanterns and party lights around your deck or wherever you’re hosting your gathering. Encourage guests to try a little karaoke and be sure to end the evening with fortune cookies. Look for chocolate-dipped ones for an extra sweet surprise.

lauren debellis

A former magazine editor, Lauren DeBellis has been writing and producing stories about home decorating and design for nearly ten years. She resides in East Northport with her husband.