Break out the Grill and Tiki Torches this Labor Day Weekend and Close out the Summer with a Memorable Cookout!
August 29, 2012
Say goodbye to summer with one last backyard cookout celebrating the Labor Day holiday! Gather your friends and neighbors, break out the grill for some serious grilling goodness, fire up the tiki torches, and get ready for the final summer soiree before the hustle and bustle of back to school and the frenzied holiday season sets in.
Get ready for your Labor Day cookout by stocking up on some fabulous Labor Day party supplies. Whether you want to go with a patriotic theme in honor of the holiday's true purpose of celebrating America's workforce, or feel like something a little more festive, like a luau theme, a nautical theme, or just want to go with colorful paper goods and decorations, as long as your party space feels fun and festive, you're decorations will be a surefire hit! Some basic ideas include stringing colorful paper lanterns the trees, tossing some comfy pillows, cushions, and blankets on the ground so your guests will have comfortable places to lounge while waiting for the food frenzy, hanging white twinkle lights in the trees for extra light when the sun goes down, and using bright colored tablecloths on folding tables for your buffet tables and dining tables. With colorful flowers cut from the garden and some votive candles in simple glass candleholders you can make simple but beautiful centerpieces.
Traditionally, the Labor Day holiday, as the last official summer holiday, signifies the end of cookout season, and while many are starting to cookout year-round, it seems no Labor Day party would be complete without a whole slew of BBQ and tasty side dishes! You might want to ask the neighbor if you can borrow his grill for the day. This will be much less awkward if he's invited to the party of course. Whether you're serving basic grilled hot dogs, brats, and burgers, or going a little more upscale with ribs, chicken, fish, pork, and shish kabobs, as long as you've properly prepared the meat, which includes marinating everything but your basics and fish, it will be a surefire hit as long as you've got a competent griller manning the charcoal! Since Labor Day is supposed to signify a break for work, you don't want to have to spend the whole day slaving away in a hot kitchen while your friends enjoy the party, so you'll want to plan dishes that can be prepared ahead of time and just set out on the buffet table when the time comes. Or, better yet, turn the party into a potluck where you provide the main dish and ask guests to all bring an appetizer, side dish, or dessert! But, if you'd prefer to do the majority of the food prep yourself, here are some simple ideas for side dishes and desserts.
- Potato salad
- Grilled corn on the cob with lime and garlic butter
- Mini quiches
- Taco salad
- Macaroni salad
- Baked beans
- Chips and dip
- Fresh fruit salad served in a scooped out watermelon
- Wild greens salad
- Cookies, brownies, apple pie, chocolate covered strawberries, mini cheesecakes
You'll also want to have a bar that's stocked with beer, wine, cocktail fixings, bottled water, and soda.
Since this is summer's last hurrah, have some outdoor activities available for your friends to enjoy in between food breaks! Volleyball is a crowd favorite if you've got a net, but if not, a clothes line can work in a pinch. Horseshoes is always a hit, as is potato sack racing, cornhole, softball, Frisbee, and, for the younger crowd, a bean bag toss game. And as the sun goes down, light up a few sparklers that you probably have left over from Fourth of July, hand out the glow sticks, and watch the fun keep going as dark sets in!
While there might be a few more dog days of heat left before the crisp fall nights set in, Labor Day always seems to signify the official end of the season, so spending the holiday with friends enjoying your favorite summer activities is a great way to end the season on a high note. With the right preplanning and a little organization, you'll have no problems throwing together a fantastic Labor Day celebration that everyone will love and that you'll be able to enjoy!