20 Tips For Hosting The Ultimate Pool Party

Many of us hate to admit it, but the end of August usually begins to bring on thoughts of fall. You might be scoping out some new cute boots online, googling when pumpkin spice lattes are being released at Starbucks, or looking through Pinterest trying to figure out which fall hair color you're going for this year. Hosting a pool party might be the last thing on your mind right now, but don't forget it's still summer, after all. In fact, end-of-summer pool parties may actually be the best time to throw one.


Throwing a final pool party can signify a lot — it's a way to start saying goodbye to the current season and work our way into the next. It allows children to put the last three months off of school behind them and kick into educational gear, per Sunny's Pools. It's the seasonal closure that many of us need, both physically and mentally.

But where do you begin to host a party this late in the year? Do stores even carry summer items during this time? Regardless of if they do or don't, you're in luck! There are plenty of DIY hacks and tips that can be easily done by you — with perhaps a little help from your friends and family — that will graduate you to party host extraordinaire. Getting a bit crafty is all part of the fun, and putting in the extra work will have party-goers talking for years to come. Let's break down some of the best pool party tips to create the perfect day to remember.


Send personal invitations

Have you ever been chatting with a friend and they ask, "Hey, are you coming to my party?" only for you, puzzled, to reply, "Umm, what party?" Oh no, another Facebook invitation lost in a sea of endless notifications.


For most parties these days, invites are usually sent out on social media or through a text, which is convenient, but it really takes away from the personal touch of a party invite — and can cause a huge issue when inviting people who rarely check social media or tend to miss notifications. There's something more personal and exciting about receiving a personal invitation in the mail, so why not give your guests that treat?

Moreover, DIY expert Holliday Johnson writes via Home With Holliday, "Style is the key here! You can be so much more creative with custom paper invitations. A custom invite instills the importance of an event and provides clarity for what your guests can expect when attending your event." Creating a summer-y beach theme is perfect for your personalized invites.


Have an essentials kit available to guests

When going to a pool party, is bringing things you need, like sunscreen, an important factor for you? The truth is that, for many, it's not. Most party-goers are more focused on the food and drinks than trying to make sure that they bring things they need; actually, some may even assume you have essentials on hand. This is great for you, though, because having all these small details planned ahead of time is what will leave a lasting impression on guests — and is key to making sure they have all they need and more. A great way to do this is to place a small basket in the restroom. Then, fill it up with any essentials you can think of, including bug spray, sunscreen, tissues, Tylenol and Advil, gum or mints, and aloe for sunburns are all great options.


But just what are some of the best ideas for the basket? Blue Lizard is a great overall sunscreen choice for guests due to its durable coverage and being free of fragrances. What's more, it can last in the pool, meaning you won't wake up the next day redder than a tomato. As far as bug spray goes, Cutter Backwoods Dry is one of the best overall bug sprays. It protects against many diseases mosquitoes carry and lasts for up to 10 hours, so you may not even need to reapply it.

Give a mobile bar a try

According to El Paso Inc., a couple from El Paso strategically transformed a horse trailer into a portable bar for guests to rent. "If you have something that's more on the outskirts, like a ranch or a destination wedding, you have the full capability of the bar with lights, beer on tap, and lighting. You're still gonna get that same effect as if you were a real bar, but just on a smaller scale," mobile bar owner Steve Vasquez tells El Paso Inc.


This is great for not only weddings or ranches on the outskirts but also for outdoor pool parties, and it's not just El Paso, Texas, that can be found with this amazing concept; many cities have, in fact, jumped on the mobile bar bandwagon. This won't be an option for everyone because mobile liquor licenses are not available in every state, but plenty of locations have local businesses that provide mobile bars — and who wouldn't love an actual bar on wheels? You can rent out the bar, equipped with a bartender and all, for a certain amount of time. Simply run a quick Google search to find out what's offered in your state and city.

Set up selfie and photo-op stations

What good is having an amazing pool party if you don't have the pictures to prove it? Mistakenly, many folks think that a selfie or photo-op station requires the work of a professional or a large sum of money. You'd be surprised to hear that neither is true.


"My best advice for someone trying to create their own photo-booth station on a budget is that if the backdrop looks good, the rest falls into place. With a nice, well-lit backdrop, guests could just have a friend take a cell phone photo," photo expert Jessi Vance tells Brides. There are so many easy options, and some are just as easy as setting up sequin fabric or gluing faux flowers together on a board to conjure up your own phenomenal backdrop.

To make things beachy and pool-side ready, try attaching faux tropical flowers from your local craft store onto a foam board. Setting up adorable summer-themed backdrops will give your guests the most Instagram-able moments that they long for.

Prepare Pinterest-worthy pool themed snacks and desserts

Let's be honest: the food is probably the most important part of any event. You can have the most fun party in the world, but if the food is bad, this is what will stick in your attendees' heads. Every party has the same classic go-to snacks, which is fine for the most part, but why not kick it up a notch and make some that are specific to your party? Beach ball-shaped cheesecakes, beach-themed cupcakes, and flip-flop cookies are great options.


To really wow your guests, you could even try creating a dessert that will make them feel like they're at the beach for the day. Expert recipe creator Sheryl Beyer of Lady Behind the Curtain shares her divine-looking A Day at the Beach Pudding Dessert, which is made from ground-up cookies to look like sand, Cool Whip, and vanilla pudding. Beyer assembles the dessert to look like a bucket of sand — complete with mini shovels and all — to serve up the perfect beachy treat.

Whip up homemade hors d'oeuvres

It's easy to think of finger-foods as being reserved for the most elegant affairs, like a once-in-a-lifetime event or party. But are hors d'oeuvres really something that must be saved for the fanciest of weddings or the most luxurious of cocktail parties? We don't think so. According to Encore Catering, hors d'oeuvres are "mingling food," meaning they're small amounts of food that can be "passed around" and enjoyed by plenty of people.


On that note, one of the best things about food is that it enables socialization. The point of a party, after all, is to connect with others and have a great time, and food can be a wonderful icebreaker for that. While having snacks sitting out buffet-style is a must, have one of your hosts take some time out of the party to pass out hors-d'oeuvres on a tray. This is a way to really impress guests and give an opportunity to connect with your party-goers.

Place LED light strips everywhere

Whether your party is strictly for adults or you've made it a family affair, there's bound to be some after-dark fun. Wouldn't you agree that nighttime fun is just as important as daytime fun at the pool? Waterproof colored LED light strips are wonderful because you can modify them to stick on whatever surface you're looking to put them on. You can stick them under tables, around the pool, under a roof — pretty much anywhere you can imagine.


Something to keep in mind when using electrical components near water, however, is safety. Please be sure to pick up some waterproof LED lights. For example, AB AttaBoy's Waterproof LED Light Strips Kit is an affordable and accessible set on Amazon. What's more, according to Lighting Access, "Certain LED strip lights are water-resistant and some aren't. Look for two ratings called IP65 or IP68. These ratings are used to signify Ingress Protection from solids and water."

Lighting Access explains that IP65 is best when in places that won't be fully wet; they're fine with splashes and regular grime, though. However, if you want them underwater completely, you should look for the IP68 rating.

Serve drinks in light up glassware

Hanging onto the idea of nighttime fun, food, and drink can be substantially more exciting with more interesting lighting. Plus, when it's dark outside, losing drinks and cups can become pretty easy. Try playing off of the colored lighting theme with LED glasses. These are available to purchase as wine and liquor glasses, regular drinking glasses, and even champagne glasses for a fancier moment.


Amazon gives us the option to purchase the perfect reusable LED cups, with its product description stating, "Esdabem cups are elegantly designed, high-class, and have a crystal clear visual sense. You can turn off the switch for daily use, and the beverages in the cup look exceptionally fresh and refreshing."

Furthermore, if you're looking for a more disposable light-up drinkware option, try Glo Pro's Glowing Party Cups. Amazon recommends them as a perfect final detail for any party, and who are we to dispute that?

Load the pool with luxurious floaties

It might not be a stretch to admit that at least once in our lives we all dreamed of riding a whimsical, magical unicorn. Well, due to the rise of wild and unique pool floats, now you can. Long gone are the days of basic water floats. In fact, the float market has upgraded so much that you can actually have your own pool float designed of whatever you can dream up, per Floatie Kings.


If designing your own float sounds a bit much, there are innumerable options of pre-made pool floaties to pick up online or in stores. Since you're hosting a pool party, it's best to try and stick with summer and beach-themed floats. For example, a cool oyster and pearl floatie from Amazon will allow your guests to lounge in the pool in the hands of luxury and relaxation. Some other ideas for unique floatie shapes might be sea creatures, summery fruits, or even mermaid tails.

Use oversized pillows to create a lounge area

Aside from food, making sure your guests are comfortable is one of the most important elements of hosting a great party. Your pool party should assure there is seating for everyone because not all guests will be swimming the entire time. Comfortable chairs are a given, but creating a lounge section will really take things a step further. Set up a large tent for shade, and fill it with oversized pillows and loungers to offer guests a shaded relaxation oasis — a cabana, in other words.


On cabanas, Party Slate says, "For guests who aren't so keen on swimming, adding a chic and shaded lounge area is a must. Cabanas ensure everyone stays cool by the pool with stylish — and most importantly, comfortable — seating options."

To decorate your lounge area, you should pick a color scheme to encapsulate the mood you're trying to give off at your party. Perhaps even set up wireless fans for a wonderful cooling experience for party-goers who have become overheated by the sun.

Purchase a henna kit for a henna art station

Henna is a great way to add a fun and artistic twist to your party. Depending on how long you leave it on, you can get several days to several weeks of wear from your body art. Stencils and kits can help partiers curate intricate and stunning designs while some professional henna artists even offer party packages if you'd like to invest in some quality henna tattoos. Either way, a pool party is a perfect way to show off your beautiful new design.


One important factor, however, if you decide to incorporate henna into your party, is to be mindful of its culture and origins. Mansi Mehta, a Santa Clara-based mehndi artist tells Mercury News, "A lot of American clients might not know henna's history, but I appreciate that they are respectful of the art," Mansi Mehta said. "As long as we remain respectful and understand certain boundaries, that is the key."

Spray paint traditional games with metallics

Beer pong is fun, but wouldn't you agree that it would be more fun if the cups and ball were a rich shining gold or metallic hot pink? Spray painting the classic games, like beer pong and poolside bowling with pineapples as pins, will have your guests wanting to play again year after year.


Spray painting is typically a pretty easy task, but according to Painter Stuff, there are a few necessary steps to take in order to make sure your painted beer pong table is party-ready. "You will need to sand the table down first and then apply a primer before painting it. Make sure to use a paint that is made for plastic or else it will not adhere properly. Also, be sure to paint in a well-ventilated area," Painter Stuff explains.

Furthermore, be sure to use non-toxic paint to add an extra layer of safety since playing the game will deal with touching the painted items.

Add color by freezing fruit to use as ice

Chances are that the day of your pool party is going to be hot. Using regular ice in drinks will just cause excessively watered-down beverages. By freezing fruit and using it as ice instead, you'll get nothing but a nice fruity refresher melting in your glass.


On this, professional food blogger Megan Porta writes via Pip and Ebby, "Especially in the summer, sugary treats are craved. Popsicles and juice and sugary beverages just taste GOOD when it is steaming hot outside. I get it!" She goes on to say, "My answer to this problem is to make fruit ice cubes. I've made them for my boys since they were toddlers and they love them! This is the easiest way to spruce up a glass of water because it is low on calories AND low on sugar."

Megan explains that you simply add an assortment of fruits into an empty ice cube tray, preferably berries, and top it off with a bit of water. The result will leave you and your guests hydrated and refreshed. (This is also a great way to keep fruit from going bad!)


Create s'mores cup trays

No matter how old people get, they're always going to love a good s'more. S'mores are a summer classic, and it's hard to imagine any type of outdoor summer festivity without them. There's something magical about the taste of chocolate and marshmallows coming together; it's arguably one of the most nostalgic taste combos known. Roasting marshmallows over the fire brings people together, creating the perfect summer bonding experience. If you've ever indulged in a s'more, though, you know how messy these snacks tend to get.


According to Better Homes & Gardens, you can easily use empty berry containers that otherwise would be thrown away to make the perfect cups. Simply start by equipping the bottom of the container with a napkin to help keep matters mess-free. Taking the empty berry cartons and cutting them down, fill the slots up with your "s'more kits," complete with chocolate, Graham crackers, and marshmallows for guests to grab and head over to the fire. It's cute and effective.

Set up an outdoor movie projector

There's something about the magic of cinema that goes right along with the magic of summer. Surely, we can all think of summer blockbusters that defined our childhoods, and to this day, watching them brings on a special feeling. What about bringing the outdoor movie theater right to your home with your own projector? Casting a movie on a large screen requires minimal and easy setup, and the result is well worth it.


Setting up your outdoor projector should be focused on choosing the best projector, per What Hi-Fi? All you need to do is find the best one for you. You don't have to focus on "waterproof" labels, for instance, or any equipment that is specific for outdoor use. Who's sitting outside in the rain to watch a movie? However, What Hi-Fi? suggests choosing equipment that has "a higher ANSI lumens rating" to optimize your experience at sunset.

Decorate a sundae bar

Another summer must-have is, of course, ice cream, and cooling down after a long hot day by the pool requires it, right? You could just serve your guests some ice cream and throw some toppings out for them buffet-style, or you can prepare an exclusive, loaded-up, crowd-wowing sundae bar. Guests will love the options that come with a sundae bar and it will leave them wanting to come back for more!


Blogger Jenn Lifford of Clean & Scentsible was sure to give The Pioneer Woman some handy sundae bar tips. She explains, "If you'd like to pre-scoop to make things easier, you can add scoops into individual Mason jars and keep the jars on ice in an ice chest." When it comes time for decorating, Lifford recommends sticking to a color scheme and finding inspiration in artwork or ice cream serving dishes. "From there," she says, "I'll search the house for items that will go with the color scheme and start assembling things together. I also like to add cake stands, footed trays, or other items to create a variety of heights to display the items." Then, everyone gets to have fun — and a treat!


Get creative with balloons

Decorations can be the hardest but the most fun part of hosting any party. There are so many options to choose from and it can be hard to know where to even begin. Why not start at the party-basics 101? That's right, balloons. Balloons at parties these days aren't quite like the ones we remember as kids. Entire businesses have been built in the name of balloon decorating, and it's become almost an art form. Getting fancy with your balloons is sure to add a jaw-dropping effect for party-goers.


Pirar's Balloon Garland Kit will take a lot of the guesswork and expenses out of using balloons for your pool party. Per the instructions, "Simply inflate the balloon (suitable for both air and helium), stuff the knot into the hole of the balloon arch chain, match different colors, blow different sizes, like our picture, so the garland will look gorgeous." The result is a stunning, tropical-colored garden of balloons.

Build a DIY fire pit

As noted by The Cut, fire is inherently "romantic," and there may be science to back this claim. University of Alabama anthropologist Christopher Lynn says, "Campfires and other types of fires, like hearth fires, seem to be multi-sensory stimulators, so they grab our attention through every single one of our senses." This could explain why humans are so drawn to fires; they simply stimulate us in ways nothing else can. On top of that, s'mores are nothing without fire, and, luckily, creating your own fire pit isn't too difficult.


When building a fire pit, the first step is to lay the foundation in stone or concrete blocks, per The Home Depot. Next, prepare the building area and add a gravel base. This will ensure the ground is protected from fire. After laying out your stone in the shape you like, add in your fire pit bowl, making careful note that the lip of the bowl rests upon the edge of the stone. Finally, secure the pit in place by applying construction adhesive. And that's it! It's as easy as pie and oh-so-worth-it to end the evening with a roaring fire.

Curate the ultimate summer playlist

Anyone who's hosted a party before has been there: you find the perfect playlist and have it all ready to go at the party, only to find out two songs in that annoying, nonstop commercials are awaiting you. The best way to combat this is to have a playlist pre-selected before the party. Create your own playlist of ultimate summer jams and put it on shuffle at the party.


Los Angeles-based producer and songwriter Poolside shares some of his favorite tips for creating the best summer playlist with Inside Hook. Poolside reminds us to "keep it nice and chill in the beginning. You don't want to give anyone the illusion that they're about to be wowed with a perfect party mix. But they are."

From there, he suggests mixing things up to keep party-goers on their toes until finally. "Once you're about 80% of the way through your playlist, you need to hit people with something that catches them off guard — maybe a song that they forgot they loved, or something that's just undeniably great that they haven't heard before," he explains. "If you nail this step you'll have everyone hooked and you can do whatever you want to close it out!"


Help guests out with a towel basket

Pool towels go somewhat hand-in-hand with other essentials like sunscreen: people know they need them, but it's not at the forefront of their brain when thinking about a party. It's likely that several people will forget to bring towels, so it's always nice to have some sitting out for them to use. Simply fold and roll towels into a cute "towel tower" and place them in a bucket or basket. Add a note allowing guests to know they're up for grabs for anyone who needs one.


A great towel basket option is the Pool Towels Canvas Storage Basket, Hand Printed in Caribbean Blue from Etsy. Reviewers love it, too, with one saying, "This is a beautiful basket. I did experience a problem with my initial order, however, once I brought it to the attention of the seller, the delivery problem was immediately addressed. I am very pleased with my order and I highly recommend this seller."

Going the extra mile with these small touches may seem like a lot, but the memories they will create for your guests for years to come will make it all worth your while.