Labor Day is just a blink away, with cooler autumn weather sneaking into our part of the world shortly thereafter. If you’ve loved spending warm summer evenings on your patio and you’re just not ready to say goodbye to summer, a Labor Day Soiree is the perfect way to wind down the summer season.
Throwing a Labor Day soiree doesn’t have to be an intimidating task. We collaborated with Callie Collins of Oklahoma City’s own Metro Family Magazine to dive into fabulous ideas for games, food, and décor. Whether you’re hosting an adult-only affair for your closest friends or a family get-together with kids of all ages, here are a few simple guidelines when throwing a polished, fun, and memorable Labor Day soiree.
Set a Theme
The difference between an everyday cook-out and a Labor Day party all leads back to having a theme. Invite your guests to a white-clothing only affair to throw a nod at the old tradition of never wearing white after Labor Day. If you’d like to add a little more pizzazz to your patio, the patriotic color palette of red, white, and blue is a classic alternative. Finally, one of our favorite themes involves setting the scene on your patio to mimic an east coast Hampton home. Have fun with nautical prints like anchors and lobsters for a nontraditional spin.
After deciding on a theme, gather up supplies to decorate your patio. High quality patio furniture usually sets the scene by itself, but there’s no harm is adding a few extra accessories. For an all-white event, keep your decor simple with white tablecloths, cloth napkins, and white twinkling lights. If you’re going for a more colorful soiree, adding brightly colored flowers and eye catching centerpieces will liven up your patio space.
As a busy mom of three boys, Callie recommends keeping décor simple, “Stay true to the spirit of the holiday this Labor Day and cut down on unnecessary prep/clean-up. Use recyclable paper goods, easy wipe-off plastic tablecloths and minimal decorations. I like pennants, garden lanterns and lawn chairs. Focus on having a good time with everyone instead of making one for everyone else. “
Build Your Menu
A great party is dependent on great friends and a mouth-watering menu. Visit the Edmond Festival Market Place to find the season’s best produce from local farmers. We like to fire up the grill and roast squash, corn, green beans, red bell peppers, and onions. For an upscale take on an old favorite, grill mini burgers and create a “slider station” filled with out-of-the-norm toppings. This works particularly well if you have picky eaters attending the party. Last but certainly not least, don’t forget about dessert! Keep it simple with homemade ice cream and grilled peaches, or highlight the season’s berries with pies and parfaits.
Entertain Your Guests
The crux of a wonderful party lies in the entertainment available. While more sophisticated guests may love to wine-and-dine around the patio table, having a variety of backyard games available for the rambunctious young and young-at-heart will encourage camaraderie and laughter throughout the whole evening.
If you’re entertaining little ones at your Labor Day Soiree, Callie suggests an invigorating game of neighborhood hide-and-seek to get the kids active and outside. The rules are simple, “No hiding indoors and anything goes, as long as it’s safe. Point out the obvious problem areas before you get started and establish any zones that are off-limits. Have fun with friends by getting neighbors involved. More neighbors playing means more area to play if they’ll lend their yards too.”
In addition to a rousing game of neighborhood hide-and-seek, Callie recommends that following activities for kids of all ages, “Water balloon wars bring friends together on the hottest of days, and there are certainly some of those into September. Meet up to form teams and let the tactical planning begin. Older kids can also get in on the fun without feeling as though they are being force to participate. If you have babies or toddlers, a simple game of duck-duck-goose in a wading pond while sitting in a parent’s lap helps cool off the afternoon.”
If you’re hosting an adult only affair, set up a cornhole board, horseshoes, and a croquet course to entertain your friends and family all evening long.
Whether you’re an avid host or a first-time party planner, keeping these simple steps in mind as you plan and prepare your soiree will make the process relaxing and enjoyable. A great guest list, good food, and fun for the whole crew will leave you wishing that Labor Day came more than just once a year.