Celebrate America's independence with your friends, family and neighbors by throwing a house party that's red, white, blue and cool!
So, who's coming over?
-- Make sure you give your guests enough notice by mailing invitations at least two weeks before the big day. However, if you're too busy party planning to think about sending invites out by mail, you can always invite people by email through sites like Evite.
What's on the menu?
-- When many think about what to eat on the Fourth of July, grilling outdoors seems to be at the top of the list. Hamburgers and hot dogs are as American as you can get, and depending on how many people you're expecting, you can always buy these grilling options in bulk at stores like Costco. Click here for Food Network's "Barbecue Party Calculator."
Some suggested dishes that can accompany your grilled meats on the buffet table include potato salad, macaroni and cheese, chips and dip and baked beans. Oh, and don't forget the desserts, like pies, cakes or cookies!
Make sure to find out from your guests ahead of time about food allergies and other dietary restrictions or concerns.
Have a little help from your guests
-- Feeding dozens (or more!) guests at your party could get expensive, so you can always ask guests to contribute a dish or other item for the party. Some non-food related things you could ask party guests to bring can include utensils, plates, napkins, ice, and drinks.
Theme up your house
-- It's a Fourth of July party, so it's obvious you'll have to decorate your home to fit the day. Stay festive with traditional red, white and blue on, well, everything! Many stores offer inexpensive and patriotic decorations to jazz up your event like streamers, balloons, tablecloths or even hats. American flags (big or small enough to hold) are a must. Click here for other party decoration ideas.
Make your guests feel at home
-- Tidy up/organize your house ahead of time and plan where you would like guests to gather. If indoors, make sure there's plenty of room for guests to maneuver or sit without feeling too cramped. If the party heads outdoors, comfortable seating is important. And if the sun is out, a canopy or tent (space permitting, of course) would give guests the shade they'll need.
What about the kids?
-- Children help with some of the decorating, like blowing up balloons or passing out party favors like hats. If it's hot outside, water balloons, water guns or a small inflatable pool can keep the kids entertained and cool at the same time. Click here for a list of suggested Fourth of July games for kids.
-- As night falls and it's time for the traditional fireworks, you can either watch a show on TV or plan ahead to attend a show near you. Click here for a list of fireworks shows around San Diego County.