Memorial Day, a day to honor veterans who have lost their lives, is always held on the last Monday in May. For many, it’s also a three-day weekend that marks the beginning of summertime. Since it’s often a day off of work, it’s a perfect time get friends and family together to host a Memorial Day party, BBQ and enjoy the warm weather.
If you’re planning a Memorial Day party, you’ve come to the right place. Here are seven tips and tricks you need to throw the perfect party that people will be talking about until the 4th of July:
You don’t want to invite people over only to have them go hungry because you didn’t pick up enough hamburgers or hot dogs. While you do always have the option of hitting up your local Sam’s Club or Costco and buying enough food to feed the entire neighborhood, there are a ton of online calculators to help you figure out just how much food you should get — including main dishes, sides, snacks, drinks and even condiments. After all, no one likes running out of ketchup, either!
What fuel source do you prefer for your grilling needs — propane, charcoal, wood or some combination of the three? No matter how you like to grill your burgers, make sure you have enough fuel to cook all the food. It would be pretty anti-climactic to have people show up to a grill-less party. If your propane tank doesn’t have a gauge, you can always use this handy trick to check the level in your tank.
Of course, if you can’t grill or are cooking-impaired, there’s always KFC!
Don’t forget to include the vegetarian and vegan party-goers. Salads and fresh vegetable plates are great for cold food, but everyone likes something off the grill, right? Some vegetables, like peppers, zucchini and tomatoes grill well, but what if someone is really craving a good burger replacement? Grill up some portabella mushroom caps! These enormous mushrooms are the ideal size to fit on a hamburger bun. They also hold toppings perfectly and taste fantastic!
Memorial Day is not just a day off from work. It’s also a day off from school for everyone from pre-K to college. If you’re throwing a party and your friends or family members have children, then you’re going to want to make sure there are plenty of activities you can set up to keep the kiddos entertained. Most importantly, you want to keep them from getting underfoot while you’re trying to grill. From bocce ball to bean bag toss to some fun hands-on crafts, there are plenty of options to keep little ones busy.
Also, if you’re going to serve alcoholic beverages, be sure you also make a very well labeled non-alcoholic version for kids and/or non-drinkers. In fact, if you offer this tasty non-alcohol sangria, everyone might just be choosing it anyway!
If your Memorial Day party plans include a pool, then water safety should be your first priority to prevent any holiday tragedies, especially if you’ve got kids attending. Make sure your pool is secured at all times, either with a fence or enclosure — or a removable ladder for an above-ground pool.
When people are in the pool, make sure everyone is well supervised. If you’re serving alcohol, make sure you’ve got a designated ‘lifeguard’ who won’t be drinking.
Everyone loves an ice-cold beer to go with burger hot off the grill; but at the same time, no one likes a sloppy drunk. Don’t be stingy with your alcohol, but know when to cut someone off so they don’t embarrass themselves. Or, in a worse scenario, leave you with a rather unfortunate mess to clean up. Additionally, if you’re worried about someone driving drunk, put their keys in the freezer and call them an Uber. It’ll cost less than bail — we promise.
You can’t go wrong with a good party playlist, but setting up a good playlist can take quite a while. And that may detract from your party prep time. If you want to keep the good music flowing, try a program like Pandora, which allows you to set up a station based on a theme or music artist. Pick a good rock or pop station, and it’ll keep playing for hours.
If you want to avoid the periodic advertisements and the annoying “Are You Still Listening?” button, a subscription is only $4.99/month.
If you’re a fan of Spotify, they have Memorial Day themed playlists that may suit your needs. There’s nothing like a good guitar strum to get your Memorial Day party started. Hopefully, these tips make it a lot easier to plan the summer-starting shindig of the year!