Everyone loves a good cookout to celebrate Independence Day, but getting ready to host an event—big or small—involves considerable planning. These ideas will help you get the ball rolling for a successful day with food, friends, family, and fun.


two girls cooking food on a grillTypical holiday food for Fourth of July could include detailed dishes, like slow-smoked ribs, or something a little easier, like grilled hot dogs and burgers. Whatever you choose, the menu will require some prior arrangements on your part for both cooking and keeping away the bugs. There are several ways to prevent pests from taking over your picnic. You can create a simple homemade deterrent with household objects, including a plastic bag, pennies, water, lime juice, and salt, or you can make a homemade candle.


If you want to celebrate at home, consider implementing games that a wide age range can enjoy. Activities like horseshoe or a hook-and-ring game will provide an entertaining challenge for kids and adults alike. If you have a pool or a patio at home, be sure that they are ready for your guests and that the pool’s chlorine isn’t too low or too high. If you aren’t sure if your pool is prepared for action, contact your local pool specialist.

If looking to host your event at a different venue, be sure to arrive early or check it out beforehand to make sure the space is clean and usable—earlier is almost always better. It also doesn’t hurt to check the forecast for the day of the party; if it looks like it’s going to rain, you may not be able to properly equip your home for that, and a park venue with a covered shelter may work better. Plus, a borrowed space could provide more opportunity for decoration. Just make sure the venue allows small touches like streamers or balloons before you hang them.


fireworks at nightMore lax fireworks laws seem to be on the rise in many states. Before use, verify that fireworks are allowed in your state and at your location, and make sure that you have a wide-open space that is clear of flammable debris. Don’t forget to protect your pets, too! Some animals react negatively to loud noises, and you don’t want them to be in the line of fire for stray sparks. Finally, make sure that anyone handling fireworks is capable of doing so responsibly—a successful event is a safe event.

Remember to consider food, location, and fireworks when putting together an Independence Day party. These steps should make any event one to remember, and you may even end up the favorite host for outdoor celebrations.

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