Pool Party Ideas
Plan the perfect poolside party
Did you recently move into a home or apartment complex with a pool? Inviting friends and family over for a backyard bash is always fun — and it’s also a great way to meet the new neighbors. Easily plan a pool party from start to finish with these fun ideas. We’ve gathered unique pool party themes, food, games and more.
Pool party themes
We recommend keeping pool parties simple, but that doesn’t mean boring! These themes are great whether you’re throwing the party for a birthday, a neighborhood block party, or just a fun afternoon with your friends.
- Beach Bash — This tropical theme would include bright colors, things like palm trees and beach balls, and fun gear like flip flops and hula skirts. Serve tropical fruit punch, and use grass skirts for table skirting.
- Nautical — For this gathering, include lots of navy, white, stripes and anchors. Decorate with nautical flags and sailboats, and serve blue punch and call it “Ocean Water.”
- Under the Sea — Feature the bright colors you’d find in a coral reef. Serve seafood or submarine sandwiches to fit the theme.
- Mermaids — Using jewel tones of pinks, purples and turquoise, create a fun mermaid pool party. Decorate with lots of seashells, seahorses and starfish, and serve snacks like cheese crackers and gummy snacks shaped like fish.
Pool party decorations
For a pool party, you don’t have to use too many decorations. However, a few can set the mood and give your guests a place to take fun pictures. Follow these tips to make decorating easy:
- Use practical items — get pool noodles in party colors for guests to use and put them in a tall basket or clean kitchen trash can.
- Set out floats, beach towels and umbrellas for shade.
- String lights, or use lanterns and torches to bring some light to your space. Or put glow sticks in balloons and float them in the water!
- Avoid a lot of paper decorations since they will be ruined if they get splashed.
- Create a decorated area behind the food table or make a photo area. Use streamers or a table cloth for a backdrop and add decorations showcasing your theme. Keeping the decorations in one or two areas will make more of an impact.
Pool party games
One of the best parts of a pool party is the games! Get guests together, go over the rules and start playing. If you want, give out fun prizes for the winners. Game ideas include:
- Musical floats — This is like musical chairs, but in the water! Put enough floats in the water for every person, except one (so 12 guests would get 11 floats). Play some music, and when the music stops, have everyone grab a float. The person without a float is out. Take a float away and keep going. The person on the last float wins! Use giant inflatable animals, inner tubes, or pool noodles (or a combination of all three!) for the floats.
- Float races — This game can be played in pairs/groups or individually. Start with two guests seated individually on a pool float at one end of the pool. Have them race to the other side by paddling with their arms and/or feet (you could also provide a small boat paddle for each). Race in teams using larger floats, or hold a relay to see which team can get each member to cross the pool the fastest.
- Sharks and minnows — Pick two guests to be “sharks.” They will be in the middle of the pool. Everyone else is a “minnow.” Minnows line up on one side of the pool, and when you say “go” they all swim to the other side of the pool while the sharks try to tag them. If they get tagged, they become a shark and then tag others. Keep guests going back and forth in the pool until the one remaining minnow wins.
Pool party food
You have to be careful with food at a pool party. Make sure there are no glass plates or bottles, and serve drinks in cups or bottles that have lids. Cans or open glasses can be spilled, and you don’t want other liquids in the pool.
With those guidelines in place, you can serve just about anything! Consider classic outdoor favorites like BBQ or grilled hot dogs. Here are some other ideas:
- For an easy picnic lunch, one of our favorite ideas is from Catch My Party — to package the chips and sandwich together in a plastic container. There’s no paper plate to keep up with and no chip bag to throw away.
- Make foods easy to eat. One great idea is to take watermelon slices and serve them on popsicle sticks. Just insert a stick into the fruit for a treat that won’t require a plate or utensils.
- Serve snack foods in single servings, so wet hands aren’t digging into bowls. Use plastic cups to serve single individual 7 layer dips, pudding cups, or dip and veggie cups.
- For a festive dessert, make these flip flop cookies from Diddles and Dumplings. Use peanut shaped cookies, frosting and a piece of candy to easily create an edible flip flop treat.
Ideas for an adult pool party
To host a pool party geared for adults, make a few adjustments to the food and décor plans. Try:
- Hosting the party in the evening, giving guests glow bracelets and necklaces or stringing simple light ropes around your patio for a calm, inviting vibe.
- Making sure there is plenty of seating. Some guests will want to hang out and not get in the water.
- Serving gourmet finger foods, such as a charcuterie platter of premium meats and cheeses.
- Including fun game like outdoor Jenga®. It’s the perfect lawn game for a crowd. DIY Pete gives you directions for creating your own using 2” x 4” boards.
Plan your pool party and share it!
With these fun ideas for games, decorations, food and more, you’re ready to plan! If you throw a fun summer bash with these pool party ideas, we would love to see it! Share pictures with us on Facebook!
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