An Ode to (and Tips for) Backyard Bashes

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Sure, those summer free concert series, Snowbowl jams and other “organized public parties” are great. But backyard bashes are still the best…the ones put together by friends, either impromptu or months in advance, that draw all  your favorite peeps, bevvies and more together under one roof—or better yet, in one yard—for catching up, BBQing, tossin’ corn hole, maybe a keg stand (if you’re young enough) and general Swillin’ and Chillin’. They come in all shapes and sizes, from a couple brauts on the grill to full-blown birthday or other celebratory bashes. Thinking of joining the crowd and throwing one this summer? Following are a few tips from our party throwers in the trenches and how to make it go “Bu-yeah!” instead of being a bust.   

Have Games: Don’t rely just on attendees’ personalities to make your bash a hit. Give them a little nudge by offering a few games to play between trips to the mojito bar or keg. Favorites include horseshoes, corn hole, croquet (bring your whites), beersbee, beer pong, rage cage, badminton, volleyball and more.  

Keep it Outside: It’s summertime. Don’t have your party inside unless the Heavens unleash. Have it in your yard, deck patio or even garage, with the doors open. Plus, it’s easier to clean that way. 

Have Live Music: Have tunes blaring, sure. But if you have buddies who play and sing—or, better, a connection with a real, live band—line up some live music to serve as a focal point for the fun. 

Have Food: Sure, it’s more expensive. But unless you’re starting late after dinnertime, people need something to absorb all that booze. Try burgers, brauts and veggies on the grill, a burrito bar, fingerfoods and more. Desert option: a pie iron bar, with all the fixin’s on a table for peeps to cook ‘em up themselves. Best yet, don’t be afraid to make it a potluck (so you can end up with leftover potato salad or refried bean dip).  

Serve good drinks: Anyone can go drink PBR on their own. Get some halfway decent beer and wine, or better yet, add a cocktail bar, with pitchers of margs, mojitos or other summertime concoction. 

Have it at the right time: If you want a “day-ger,” that’s fine. But remember that people here like to recreate, and especially party after they recreate. So, try a time that gives them time to do so (like, say, 5:30 p.m.). Then everyone will be in a better mood to cause mayhem (except for that person who biffed on their mountain bike). 

Have a theme: It’s a known fact: Costumes release people’s inhibitions faster and better than any drink. Have a Hawaiian, hippie or even redneck theme to loosen people up. 

String some outdoor lights: It makes for some good feng shui 

Have a fire pit: Yep, nothing gets people to cut loose like standing around a fire (and perfecting log placement)

Invite or inform your neighbors: That way it can go longer and louder.