There’s still plenty of punch left in the summer season, so why not throw a great pool party before everyone gets serious about work and school again? Hold a family party, or check out these great themed pool party ideas from HGTV. Whether you’ve got a small budget, or want to make a big splash, here are some pool party ideas to get the beach ball rolling:

  • Pool Party Invitations: Ask guests to bring their favorite pool or tub toy. If it’s a family party, get your kids in on the fun by making invitations in the shape of a pool, flip flops, shark or mermaid. Send out small inflatable beach balls with the details printed on them. Or look online for plenty of great invite templates.
  • Pool Party Decorations: Scope out fun inflatable toys and decorations to get everyone in the spirit of the day. Buy a cute tablecloth, napkins, plates and matching cups, along with themed decorations such as:
    • balloon arches, fish balloons, palm trees
    • lanterns, party lights (including some in the shape of flip flops!)
    • Don’t forget tiki torches for evening ambiance
  • Summer Pool Party Games: Make sure you’ve got enough pool toys, squirt guns, and floats for everyone. Add in inflatable balls, Frisbees, and a basketball hoop or volleyball net, to give non-pool goers some fun activities too. If your pool is large enough, you can try setting up a pool obstacle course, or even hold your very own water Olympics complete with a watermelon relay, or noodle races to get everyone involved in a challenge. Hang water balloon piñatas for an easy out-of-pool game – your guests certainly won’t mind getting wet! At night, toss glow sticks and glow rings in the water to keep the in-water party going.
  • Pool Party Snacks: Snacks can be as simple as stacking Rainbow Twizzlers upright in a glass to look like pool noodles. How about blue Jell-O in clear plastic cups with gummi fish floating inside, or if you’re feeling extra crafty, carve out a scary watermelon shark. Food can be as simple or as sophisticated as you’d like — serve summer appetizers, quick party dips and the kids will get a kick out of fruit salad in clean sand pails. For the main course, you could grill up some loaded hot dogs, hamburgers, barbeque chicken, or sliders.  For a young audience, you may consider keeping it simple with pizza and wings since kids always choose playing over eating! As the evening winds down, plan time around the fire pit and make classic s’mores.
  • Pool Party Punch: Have bottled water, soda and lemonade for the kids, or make shark attack cocktails for them. For the adults try “A Day on the Beach” punch, Tropical Rum Party Punch, a Pineapple Coconut Punch in hollowed-out pineapples, or the Bahamian Blaster Party Punch. Or try a twist on a party standard with a Jell-O Shot Cake or Fireball Shot Cupcakes.
  • Party Favors for a Pool Party:  Everyone loves a good party favor!  How about a sand bucket filled with a few snacks, or an emoji beach ball, party towel, gummy fish skewers, or clear bags filled with blue jelly beans or M&Ms and goldfish crackers.  Keep it fun and simple without breaking the budget!

The main idea of a pool party is for everyone to have a good time, so include yourself in that goal. Do as much in advance as possible, keep expectations real, and be ready to dive in for fun.