Fun Party Ideas

Get creative for your backyard bash with some fun (and easy) ideas from Food Network Magazine .

Photo By: Charles Masters

Photo By: Charles Masters

Photo By: Charles Masters Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin 917 751 2855

Pack a Punch

It's time to retire that old watermelon basket trick. Turn your melon into a cocktail keg, instead. Cut a lid from the top and scoop out the fruit. Drill a small hole near the bottom, then use a knife to widen the hole until it's slightly smaller than a keg shank. Attach the shank, then fill the melon with Watermelon Sours, adapted from The Bubbly Bar. The drink is pulp-free, so it won't clog the spout.

Get the Recipe: Watermelon Sours

Color-Coded Fruit Bowls

Step up your fruit salad this year by serving cubes of fruit in color-coordinated fruit bowls. Place honeydew, kiwi, green apples and grapes in a hollowed-out honeydew; pineapple, mango, papaya and banana in a pineapple shell; and raspberries, strawberries and watermelon in a small watermelon.

High-Art Punch

Ice-ring molds are bona fide crowd-pleasers — until they melt and water down the punch. This modern twist actually adds flavor: We froze spheres of red juice using an ice-ball tray and added them to a clear punch. You can use any combination of juices, like pomegranate, cherry or cranberry, and just drop the frozen balls into a punch of white grape juice mixed with seltzer or sparkling water.

Greener Party Goods

Tossing everything into a big black garbage bag at the end of the day is one retro tradition we won't miss, especially now that so many great reusable goods are on the market. This year, trade paper napkins for cotton dish towels, paper plates for melamine and disposable cups and cutlery for reusable plastic. Invest in a few reusable decorations and you'll have them for many summers to come.

Custom Napkins

Put a personal touch on your next big bash by designing your own napkins: Just print a message onto iron-on transfer paper (available at office supply and craft stores) using a home ink-jet printer, then iron the labels onto any cloth napkins or dish towels.

Create a Watermelon Tray

If you're short on serving dishes for a summer party, turn your watermelon into a platter: Cut a short chunk off one end to use as the tray. Then, with a melon baller, scoop pieces from the rest of the watermelon (and other fruit), thread onto 10-inch skewers and stick into the melon base.

Faux Fruit Slices

We think this is the coolest party trick since someone first carved a watermelon into a basket: gelatin-filled citrus rinds that look like fruit slices.

Get the Recipe: Faux Fruit Slices

Flowerpot Dip

Liven up a party crudité platter with a trip to the hardware store: Terra-cotta planters make great (and cheap) dip bowls. Line the inside of the pot with parchment paper, then fill with hummus and "plant" some vegetables in the dip.

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Summer Parties