You had good plans to be prepared for your fourth of July gathering and now you’re freaking out because you don’t have anything ready yet for the big party. Here are some last-minute ideas for a stress-free Fourth of July cookout.
1. Pack Smart and Use Household Items
If you and your crew will be celebrating Independence Day at a park or in a friend’s backyard, don’t load down your cooler with unnecessary items. Store liquor bottles in a large container so guests know exactly where to look for the good stuff. When the party’s over, you won’t have to individually collect all the bottles — just place the large container back in the wagon. Use small paper cups for beverages and bite-sized snacks and berry baskets from the grocery store to serve larger quantities of food — they’re more compact than paper plates. Place bread, fruit, sides and sandwich toppings in separate containers the night before your picnic. You can store leftovers and/or dirty dishes in these containers after your party. You can also repurpose items around the house as cute serveware. Instead of an ice bucket try a planter. Use a tin can for a vase. Mason jars are great to use for everything: drinks, soups, salad or dessert.
2. Banish Bugs
The absolute best way to keep mosquitoes away is with a fan. Set up a few cheap floor fans on your deck or patio to keep bug bites to a minimum. Citronella candles can be effective at keeping mosquitoes away, but only if they’re the real deal. Light them around the perimeter of your outdoor living spaces to create a mosquito-free zone. You can also repel them with plants, such as marigolds, lavender, lemon balm and basil. For a more potent solution, make these herbal bundles and toss them on the fire or BBQ during your next outdoor get-together.
3. Stay Cool
It’s hot out there! That’s where a fan comes in handy. Of course keep cold water on hand along with frozen aloe and a soothing facial spray.
No one wants to play bartender all night. Set up a self-serve drink station with these big-batch cocktails.