Labor Day. The official end of summer and the beginning of the fall season.
The kids are back in school, summer vacations are in the record books and anticipation builds for the annual fall rollout of pumpkin spice lattes and such. Now is a great time to celebrate the “fall of summer” with family and friends. Make it a family-friendly event with a special theme, games, prizes, food and fun.
An end-of-summer pool party must absolutely have a theme. The best party themes are fun, lighthearted and silly.
Tiki Bar Party Go full bore “Polynesian” with a fun Tiki Bar stand you can make yourself, or purchase the essentials online. Serving drinks in hollowed-out coconuts is a must. Decorate with raffia table skirting and fake palm and banana leaves. Include Polynesian tiki totems. Play Polynesian drumming music. Offer fruit plates and chicken and vegetable kebobs with a pineapple marinade.
Hawaiian Luau Party A variation of the “tiki” party, the Hawaiian party focuses more on grass skirts, leis and pineapples for decorations, drinks and food. Think of a Hawaiian luau for inspiration. Create a custom playlist of the best Hawaiian music including Don Ho’s “Tiny Bubbles” and Elvis’ “Hawaiian Wedding Song” (See playlist here: www.kingshawaiian.com/blog/the-all-time-best-hawaiian-music-playlist).
Offer ambrosia salad, shredded pork on King’s Hawaiian buns and cupcakes with a coconut frosting decorated with tiny umbrellas.
A “JAWSome” Party A shark-themed pool party will make guests smile. Decorate with inflatable sharks and make your own “sharks in the water” by cutting out foam “fins” and gluing them on floats throughout the pool. Place bowls of gummy candy sharks on the table along with shark fin topped cupcakes, shark decorated cookies and offer up a signature “Sharknado” cocktail (see recipe below).
Glow Stick Party For an evening pool party toss glow sticks in various colors into the pool. Have the kids dive in and collect glow sticks of each color. Award a prize to the child who collects one of each color the fastest. Decorate with streamers and multi-colored balloons in the same colors as the glow sticks. Twinkle lights can be strung around the yard and on the pergola to create a festive atmosphere.
Organize a few games for the kids, and/or adults, to play in the pool. Award small prizes.
Noodle Joust Give players a pool noodle and a raft. Last person on a raft wins. Create teams of players, or have one-on-one “duals.”
Ping Pong Scramble Players form a large circle in the pool. Dump container of ping pong balls, each numbered with a point value, in the middle of the circle. Players scramble to collect ping pong balls with the highest points. Highest total wins. Can be played in teams or as individuals.
Water balloon toss Water balloon tosses are the most fun in a pool.
Relay Races Make up fun relay races for teams of players. Players take turns going from one side of the pool to the other and the fastest team wins. Some examples include: swimming backwards, riding a pool float, using a kickboard, pushing a watermelon across the pool, crawling on the bottom of the pool, etc.
Let’s be honest. The last thing you want to do at your pool party is slave away in the kitchen, or over a hot barbecue. The best option is to cater your party with easy “eats” from one of the Santa Clarita Valley’s ubiquitous sandwich shops or big box “club” stores.
However, if you insist on making your own “gourmet” party spread here’s a few ideas.
Serve platters of chicken wings, cut up fruit, raw veggies with dips and other “finger food.”
Easy appetizers include: pineapple chunks wrapped with ham, “Cowboy Sushi” (deli ham wrapped around cream cheese and a pickle), melon prosciutto skewers (cantaloupe balls wrapped in prosciutto and basil leaves with balsamic glaze drizzle) and Greek Salad on a Stick (cherry tomato, Kalamata olive, chunk of cucumber and feta cheese square on a stick, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic).
Platters of cold, fried chicken, sandwiches and pulled pork sliders with sides of coleslaw, potato and macaroni salads.
Easy desserts include ice cream sundae bar, themed cupcakes and/or popsicles, ice cream bars.
If you’re serving fun libations such as “mocktails” or “adult beverages,” plastic cups are a must around the pool. Have a large selection of waters and sodas available, too. Flavored sparkling water and seltzers are all the rage.
Skinny Coconut Slushy Blend together 1 cup coconut cream, 1 1/2 cups of ice and 5 tbsps. lemon juice concentrate. Add 1/8 cup water, add water until drink reaches desired consistency. Sprinkle dash of turmeric for garnish.
Afterglow 4 ounces orange juice, 3 ounces pineapple juice, 1-ounce grenadine syrup and ice. In a tall glass add ice and stir in the orange and pineapple juice. Pour in grenadine syrup, do not stir. Garnish with paper umbrellas.
Pina Non-Colada 2 ounces coconut cream, 4 ounces pineapple juice, 1 tbsp. coconut flakes, 2 cups crushed ice, Maraschino cherries, sliced spears of pineapple. In a blender, add crushed ice, pineapple juice, half the coconut flakes and coconut cream. Blend mixture until smooth and creamy. Pour into a stemmed glass and garnish with cherries, pineapple and remaining coconut flakes.
Blue Hawaiian Blend 1-ounce light rum, 1-ounce blue curacao, 2 ounces pineapple juice, 1 cup crushed ice. Garnish with orange slice and pineapple chunk.
Maui Rainstorm 1-ounce Smirnoff Pineapple Vodka, 1/2-ounce Malibu Rum, 1-ounce blue curacao. Combine in cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into glass, garnish with pineapple wedge.
Waikiki Sunset 1/2-ounce pineapple juice, 1/2-ounce lime juice, 1-ounce rum, 1/4-ounce maraschino liqueur, dash of grenadine. Garnish with cherry atop pineapple chunk.
Sharknado 1 1/2 ounces light rum, 1-ounce simple syrup, 1/2-ounce lime juice, 1 tsp. blue curacao, 1 cup ice, 1/2-ounce cotton candy. Combine rum, simple syrup, lime juice and blue curacao in a cocktail shaker. Strain into glass, garnish with cotton candy.