The One Thing You Should Get Right for an Epic Pool Party

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Alexandra Bowman)

We’ve waited all year for pool party season to arrive, and it’s finally here. Sure, pool parties are terrific if you’re celebrating a birthday or holiday, but sometimes you don’t even need a reason — it’s just fun to get your loved ones (of all ages!) in the pool to soak up some sun.

Whether you’re splashing around a public pool or lounging in a private backyard, you don’t need much money or time to throw a truly epic pool party. As long as you give a little forethought into how the party will go, you really just need to do one major thing.

Time the Party Just Right

You might be tempted to throw an all-day pool party-a-thon, but it’s a lot of work to keep your guests both fed and hydrated for an entire day.

If you’re planning on having your epic pool party outside (you know, where most pools are), start it around 3 p.m. so your guests won’t be exposed to the day’s harshest sunlight. Not only will they be less likely to get dehydrated and sunburnt, but your party will happen over that gorgeous twilight hour. The setting sun will make everything look glow-y and golden, which will create some incredible Instagram-worthy pics. (Just don’t get that phone wet!)

Got it? That wasn’t so hard, right?

A Few Other Suggestions for an Epic Pool Party

1. Communicate a backup plan.

When you invite people, give them an idea of how you want to handle things if the weather turns yucky.

2. Have some things on hand — but not all the things.

Aim to provide anything your guests are likely to forget: spare elastic hair bands, sunglasses, a comb, and flip flops, to name a few. You don’t need anything fancy; you can pick up these items at a dollar store. The one thing you don’t need to supply? Towels. Make the afternoon a BYOT event so that you don’t spend the entire next day doing laundry.

3. Don’t stress about the decorations.

There’s no need to go overboard on decor at this shindig. You aren’t designing a set for the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie; a few tasteful touches will suffice. Just set up a few strands of string lights and a spattering of tiki torches.

Bonus tip: Drop a few glow sticks into the pool once the sun sets. It’ll look really cool — we promise.

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

4. Keep the food and drinks simple.

People are here to swim. The more time they spend eating, the less time they spend swimming. Stick with a simple menu of fruits and veggies, chips and dips, and burgers and hot dogs. For dessert, serve something easy like ice cream, sorbet, or Popsicles. At the drink station, stick with things you can jam in a cooler: beers, seltzers, wine coolers, sodas, and plenty of bottled water. Avoid having anything made of glass — you don’t want a broken bottle to ruin your party — which means cans and plastic is best.

Plan Your Pool Party Menu

(Image credit: Diana Elizabeth)

5. Plan some low-key games.

Games should be low-key and not too competitive. Maybe guests can toss around a volleyball or inflatable beach ball. Depending on the ages of the attendees, a bucket of water balloons and water squirters could kick up the fun. Interesting pool floats are always a hit, and colorful pool noodles are also good to have on hand. For the non-swimmers, set up a lawn game or two.

6. Provide heat relief.

As wonderful as it is to splash around a pool, some would argue that lounging in the shade after a dip is just as fantastic. Provide plenty of shade with umbrellas and tents, if necessary.

And make sure everyone stays hydrated. It’s easy to overdo it on the sun, food, and drinks. Keep an eye on water consumption and hand out bottled waters to anyone who needs one.

How do you throw an epically awesome pool party? Tell us in the comments!