Many of us are nostalgic for the 4th of July holidays we had as kids (or at least that we saw on TV); watching the hometown parade, hanging out with neighbors, eating watermelon, lighting things on fire. The good news is that you can still get together with neighbors and friends, still eat watermelon and set off fireworks, but now you get to do it all while drinking cocktails. And no one can tell you to go to bed. You can party all night if you want because this is America.
Whether you’re planning a small backyard get together or a blow out bash, here are a few things you’ll want to include.
Embrace the spirit of the 4th with some fun holiday gear. Go all in with stripes, polka-dots, stars, American flags, and “America the Beautiful”-type slogans. Add at least one “wow” factor like a Sequined Uncle Sam Hat, or the Flag USA Dress, shown here. Nobody will judge you, so proudly wear whatever crazy outfit you want. (You’ll find these items and more in our 4th of July store below)
Old Time Barbecue
Fire up the grill (or call your local BBQ joint) and get ready to eat food the way it was meant to be eaten: outdoors, on folding chairs, with extra napkins and a cold drink. Nobody will expect fancy food, so keep it as simple as possible and, for smaller parties, ask guests to bring a side dish or salad to share.
The oldies but goodies are still the best and are equally fun for adults and kids: ring toss, sack race, water balloon wars. Most can be made more festive with a little red, white and blue paint, or sparkly streamers. For something different, try a flag hunt. Simply purchase a dozen or so small American flags and hide them around your house or yard. To make it harder, tell players they must “wear” the flags they find (in their hat, tucked into their back pocket). They’ll look silly, but very patriotic. The guest (or team) that finds the most flags wins.
On the go Dessert
Make it easy for your guests by serving a fun portable dessert they can eat or while playing games or watching fireworks. Obviously, it should be red, white and blue, but the more festive the better. This yummy looking firecracker popcorn in individual striped cups is just the thing. Just pop up some popcorn, drizzle on melted red and blue candy melts, sprinkle with festive candy sprinkles, and top with a few red or blue PopRocks candies for an tingly surprise. See the full recipe at seevanessacraft.com
Drinks for the 4th are judged mainly on their looks. You’ll get bonus points for having 2 or more colors visible (by layering red and blue liquors or blended drinks), for having ice-cubes that are filled with fruit such as raspberries and blue berries, and for providing striped straws or star-shaped garnishes. For a drink that has both good looks and good taste, we like this Red Hot Cinnamon cocktail (above). The explosive flavor is said to be like a cinnamon firecracker going off in your mouth. Now that’s a party!
Red Hot Cinnamon Whiskey Cocktail
2 oz Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey
3 oz Ginger Ale
Hot Tamale Cinnamon Candies
Pour cinnamon whiskey, ginger ale, and grenadine over ice. Garnish with Hot Tamale cinnamon candies skewered on a toothpick. Serve immediately. (Photo and recipe from betterrecipes.com)
Fireworks – Safe & Sane or Big-time show
True, the new safer fireworks for sale are not quite as exciting as the old “Unsafe and Insane” styles that they used to sell. But it’s a small trade off for not lighting your hair on fire. If you’re putting the show on yourself, follow a few safety precautions (like wearing safety glasses and having a fire extinguishers nearby) and then have fun with kits named “Red, White and Boom,” “Shagadellic Mojo” and, our favorite “Grounds for Divorce.”
Deck your party out with this fun selection of Independence Day decor & Fashion. You’ll be directed to Amazon for check out.
Share your best 4th of July tips, and send us some fun pictures for the Sparkler Photo Gallery.