CAPTION: Host a backyard barbecue this Labor Day weekend. ATTRIBUTION: adrian8_8 (Flickr)

CAPTION: Host a backyard barbecue this Labor Day weekend. ATTRIBUTION: adrian8_8 (Flickr)

Get festive and celebrate the end of summer by hosting a Labor Day weekend backyard barbecue. Spend your last long summer weekend sipping iced drinks, conversing with friends and family, and dancing under the stars. Here’s a look at some excellent ways to fire up your Labor Day weekend backyard barbecue.

1. Pick a Theme

Choose a theme to make your Labor Day get-together even more entertaining. Go patriotic by throwing a red, white, and blue bash. Incorporate the colors of the flag, and ask your guests to highlight their patriotism in their party attire. Other theme ideas include a beach party with a bonfire or a neighborhood block party where the neighbors bring food to share.

2. Send Out Invites

Get everyone in the mood to party by sending out personalized Labor Day party invitations. Use your computer to print out colorful invites with the date, time, and location.

3. Set the Mood

Decorate the entrance and backyard with fun, casual Labor Day decor. Use the color scheme of red, white, and blue as a guideline and incorporate streamers, banners, matching plates and cups, and other party accessories.

4. Fire Up the Grill

Build the ultimate menu for your Labor Day barbecue, complete with fresh fruits and vegetables, grilled meats, and mouth-watering treats. Grilled chicken and vegetable kabobs are always a hit, as well as rib-eye steaks, hamburgers, and hot dogs. Pick some fresh sweet corn, sun-kissed tomatoes, and juicy berries from your garden.

5. Create Table Centerpieces

Make some do-it-yourself centerpieces to make your tables more festive. Tie some red, white, and blue balloons to a balloon weight, or decorate with mini paper flags or bowls of colorful candies.

6. Light It Up

As the party winds down, create a relaxing ambiance by incorporating various light sources. Paper lanterns, tiki torches, and hanging string lights can all be used to light up your party.

7. Get Competitive

There’s nothing like a friendly game of flag football, volleyball, or tug-of-war to get everyone in a good mood. Separate your party guests into teams and play. Smaller groups may prefer more mellow activities such as horseshoes, bocce, or croquet.

8. Turn Up the Tunes

Music will encourage guests to dance and let loose. Set up a stereo system outdoors and play a variety of music to suit all tastes. If your budget allows, hire a local musician to provide entertainment.

9. Provide Refreshments

Chilled bottled water, soda, beer, wine, and mixed drinks should be available to refresh your guests. Set up multiple coolers around the backyard to keep beverages cold throughout the party.

10. Serve Sweet Treats

Have a variety of sweet treats available to curb your guests’ sugar cravings. Cookies, cupcakes, and fresh fruit dipped in melted chocolate will please most guests. If kids are invited, consider setting up an ice cream station with tons of tasty toppings.

11. Stock a Bar

Impress the adults at your backyard barbecue with a fully-stocked bar. Offer a variety of beers, wines, and cocktails and serve the beverages in patriotic shot glasses and stemware.

12. Build a Fire

Stack up the firewood and create a bonfire for all to enjoy. Sit around the fire and tell stories while roasting s’mores.

13. Offer a Crafts Table

If children will be attending the barbecue, consider setting up a crafts table to keep little hands busy. Provide the necessary materials for friendship bracelets or colored sand jars.

14. Take a Dip

Tell guests to bring a swimsuit and towel to your Labor Day celebration. Both children and adults can cool off in the pool or sit poolside and soak in the sun.

15. Host a Contest

Plan a contest for your guests to keep them energized and ready for more party festivities. Consider a Hula-Hoop contest or see how low your guests can go by setting up a limbo pole.

16. Give Out Favors

At the end of your Labor Day barbecue, hand out party favors. For the kids, create a goodie bag of patriotic toys, bubbles, glow jewelry, sidewalk chalk, and light-up toys. For the adults, consider a water bottle, shot glass, mini cocktail shaker, candy tin, or scented candle.