By Chantel Simmons
What better way to celebrate summer than with a picnic party. Unlike typical parties where space and seating can limit your invites, a picnic can allow your guest list to be intimate or infinite as you like!
Start with red cardstock. Cut strips of white paper and glue in rows (three horizontally and three vertically) to create a plaid blanket effect. Write your party details on the white sections, slip into a white envelope, address in black pen and draw a few black ants on the back flap. Be sure to include important details, such as driving directions, parking lot info and whether guests should bring their own chairs, blankets, coolers and shoes.
Red and white is an effective yet easy theme. Since you’ll be outside, think unbreakable (and recyclable or reusable if possible) when it comes to your decor. Get red and white balloons to attach to trees (that double as landmarks to direct guests to the right area), red and white plastic tablecloths, plastic cups, plates and utensils.
Get in the spirit with these thematic tunes for your airy afternoon.
- A forest - The Cure
- MacArthur Park - Donna Summer
- Outside - George Michael
- There’s a World Outside - The Psychedelic Furs
- Take it Outside - The Barenaked Ladies
- Outside - Stereophonics
- Music of the Sun - Rihanna
- Island in the Sun - Weezer
- Walking in the Sun - Travis
- Walking on Sunshine - Katrina & The Waves
Cocktail and Menu Ideas
Unless you have a liquor permit or are in your backyard or other private space, you won’t be able to serve alcoholic drinks. But even a non-alcoholic picnic punch can be a crowd pleaser. In a large drink cooler, mix up a Jungle Boogie Punch or Crystal Light Sunshine Punch (add less water than the recipe calls for but and add lots of ice!). The key to a manageable – yet impressive – menu is all in the packaging. Instead of using large containers for a traditional pot luck picnic, package each guest’s meal individually. Pack each item into a colourful Chinese takeout containers, labelled with what’s inside so guests can choose a Traditional (with a twist) or Thai Picnic Lunch:
For the traditional lunch, skip the canned tuna and make fresh Ahi Tuna Sandwiches With Shiso Guacamole with Potato Salad with Olives and Cucumbers.
For the Thai lunch, try Thai Cold Spring Rolls with Thai Chicken Salad with Noodles.
Add a piece of fruit and a Fortune Cookie, then slip all the items into a larger cardboard box or paper bag, then wrap it in a large gingham tea towel, which will double as an individual placemat and party favour. Be sure to add a tag indicating Traditional or Thai, and attach with a pretty red ribbon.
An outdoor party is a great opportunity to get people to mix, mingle and get moving! Bring Frisbees, a nerf football, soccer ball, badminton rackets and birdies, bocce ball, water balloons and kites. Or, try these group games:
- Capture the Flag (bring two bandanas of different colours)
- Scavenger Hunt (try adding items not available at your party, such as “a man named Bob,” “a ham and cheese sandwich” and a soccer ball, that will force your guests to use their imagination or raid other people’s picnics to get the items!)
Send your guests home with a great memory of their day by giving each of them an extra Chinese takeout container filled with homemade cookies, Rice Krispies squares or brownies.