Looking for some 4th of July party ideas to add a spark to your day? Independence Day is all about beaches, barbecues, and backyards, and letting your true colors show (red, white, and blue, that is!) Here are some ideas to help you celebrate everything that is truly American, and some Fourth of July activities to light up your night.
4th of July Party Ideas for Invitations
Make your guests feel special before the party even starts by sending great invitations. Here are some inspirations for invitations that you can make at home, as well as some great invitations that you can purchase:
Uncle Sam Invitations — First get some cardstock in red, white, or blue and cut it into the size of foldover card that you want. Next, find a good picture of Uncle Sam for the front of your invitation. Over Sam’s picture, write, “We Want You!,” then on the inside of your card, write “To Join Us for a 4th of July Party”. Follow with your party details.
Beach Party Invitations — If you’re planning a beach party, get some plain white postcards or cardstock and edge your invitations with glue. Sprinkle sand over the glue for a beachy feel. Fill in the center of your postcards with your party details written in red and blue pen.
Flag Invitations — For this patriotic party theme idea, use small American flags as your invitations. Write your party information on the white stripes of the flags and send them off!
**4th of July Invitation Tips** — If you choose to make your own invitations, don’t forget to include the date, location, and time of your party. It is also helpful to put the host’s name, RSVP by date, and either your phone number or email. Also, you might consider scheduling a 4th of July party for the late afternoon, letting your guests enjoy some great food and fun before heading off to watch the fireworks.
You can always find lots of great online party invitations with a free RSVP manager at Evite,
Here are some great Fourth of July party invitations that we found, available from our friends at Tiny Prints:
Starry Banner Invitations
Modern Flag Invitations
Stars Galore Invitations
Patriotic Dots Invitations
Rugged Americana Invitations
Fireworks Fest Invitations
4th of July Party Ideas for Decorations
Decorations for an Independence Day Party should be shamelessly red, white, and blue. Loads of balloons, flags, and swags made from crepe paper streamers and bunting are the name of the game! Your tableware too should be in our country’s colors. Here are a few more 4th of July party ideas for decorations:
Firecracker Centerpiece — Wrap a large coffee or oatmeal can with red wrapping paper. Then drape a piece of thick black yarn on top to look like a fuse. A fun exploding effect can be added by sticking some wired foil stars (available at most party stores) out of the top to create a neat 4th of July centerpiece.
American Flag Table Decorations — Use small American flags to label the food at a buffet table by writing the name of the dish on the flags’ white lines with a Sharpie Marker. Then Stick the flags into small red apples or halves of styrofoam balls as bases to hold them down.
Your local school supply store is a great place to shop for Fourth of July party decorations. They usually have a good variety of patriotic symbols such as copies of the Declaration of Independence, flags, and cutouts of American presidents.
Here are some patriotic party supplies we found that can help you with your decorating:
Patriotic Food Trays
American Pride Party Supplies
Patriotic Starburst Decorations
Patriotic Decorating Kit
3D Star Centerpieces
4th of July Party Ideas for Activities and Games
Name that President — Dig up some dirt on our chief executives and make up quiz sheets with presidential trivia. Let your guests circulate throughout the party and see how many questions they can answer. Award a “Bag of Dead Presidents” (coins) to the winner. If you have more than one person who gets all the answers, draw a winner at random from the high scorers.
Bombs Bursting in Air — A great 4th of July activity is a good, old fashioned water balloon toss! Here’s how: Arrange your guests in two lines facing each other so that they are partnered up. Give out red, white, and blue water-filled balloons to each person in one of the lines. On the count of three, have them toss their balloon to the person opposite them. If they make a successful catch, both lines take one step back and at the count of three repeat the toss. Keep going until there is only one pair left dry!
American Idol–Patriotic Party Theme Style — Our national anthem is especially hard to sing, but that makes it even more fun! Challenge your guests to sing “The Star Spangled Banner” before the Supreme Court (a panel of 3 judges). Award extra points to anyone who knows more than one verse. Award “Hamilton Certificates” ($10), “Lincoln Certificates” ($5), and “Washington Certificates” ($1) To the top three contestants. This is a game you might save until the party is well under way and your guests have had some time to relax (and perhaps enjoy a few drinks!) **You might also give your guests a heads up on your invitations that you will be doing this game so they can have time to practice.
A 4th of July Playlist — Good music is key at any summertime party. Here are some 4th of July party ideas for when you are making up your patriotic party theme hit list:
- Oldies — Reminisce with some classic American tunes like 1940s swing and big band, 1950s doo wop and rock n’ roll, and 1960s Motown.
- Patriotic Classics
- “Star Spangled Banner” by Jimi Hendrix
- “Back in the USA” by Chuck Berry
- “Living in the USA” by Linda Rondstadt
- “Comin’to America” by Neil Diamond
- “America” from West Side Story
- “Surfin’USA” by the Beach Boys
- “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen
- “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” by Toby Keith
- County’s Greatest — Have a country theme by making up a hit list of country’s greatest hits. How American can you get?
- American Top 40 — Want the DJs to mix the music for you? Check out your local radio or satellite stations. Usually over the 4th of July they play a countdown of top party hits.
4th of July Party Ideas for Favors
Sparklers — While many states have outlawed consumer fireworks, you can usually still find sparklers. As your party winds down, hand each guest a box that reads, “Thank you for adding sparkle to the Fourth.”
Glow Necklaces — If your group is moving off to see a fireworks display, deck everyone out with matching glow-in-the-dark jewelry. You can see and be seen as a moveable celebration!
All-American Treats — Another fun take-along if you are transitioning from party to fireworks is a bag of classic American treats, such as Cracker Jacks, peanuts, Coca-Cola, Hershey Bars, or bubble gum.
Patriotic Party Food
The traditional fare for a Fourth of July party should include all-American favorites like hot dogs and apple pie. A good, old-fashioned barbecue is another great way to go. Here are two 4th of July party ideas for desserts:
Sugared Fruit and Pastry (From 24/7 Moms)
TIME: Prep: 30 min. Bake: 10 min. + cooling
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 to 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon coarse sugar
- 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
- 1-1/2 cups fresh raspberries
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with floured star-shaped cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Brush lightly with water and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cool.
In a large bowl, combine berries and 1/4 cup sugar; set aside. In a small bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add remaining sugar; beat until soft peaks form. Place sour cream in a small serving bowl; fold in whipped cream.
Place bowl on a serving platter. Spoon berry mixture onto platter; top with pastry stars. Yield: 8 servings.
Fruit Parfait (From Martha Stewart Living, July 2006)
- 4 1/2 pounds fresh red currants, stemmed
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin (about 6 3/4 teaspoons)
- 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
- 3 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh blueberries
- 2 ounces fresh currants, on the stem
1. Make the currant gelatin: Put currants and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until currants are very soft, about 10 minutes.
2. Put 1/3 cup cold water into a small bowl; sprinkle with gelatin. Let soften 5 minutes. Add to currant mixture; stir until gelatin has dissolved, about 5 minutes.
3. Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl set in an ice-water bath, gently pressing out liquid with a spoon; discard solids. Remove from water bath, and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cool but not set. Pour 3 to 4 tablespoons currant gelatin into each of twelve 8- to 10-ounce glasses; set remaining currant gelatin aside. Refrigerate glasses until gelatin is completely set, about 1 hour.
4. Meanwhile, make the panna cotta: Put 1/3 cup cold water into a small bowl; sprinkle with gelatin. Let soften 5 minutes.
5. Put milk, cream, and sugar into a medium saucepan; bring almost to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Add gelatin mixture, and stir until gelatin has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl set in an ice-water bath. Remove from water bath; let stand, stirring occasionally, until cool but not set.
6. Spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons panna cotta over currant gelatin in each glass; set remaining panna cotta aside. Refrigerate glasses until panna cotta is set, about 1 hour. Repeat with another layer of currant gelatin and panna cotta. If either mixture becomes too firm, set over a pot of simmering water until softened.
7. To serve, top each parfait with blueberries and currants, dividing evenly.
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