How to Host a Pool Party

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Pool parties help you and your guests beat the summer heat while having fun at the same time. Whether it’s an adult party, kids’ party or an “everyone” party, some tips and tricks assist you in being the ultimate host while providing a safe environment for all to enjoy.

Making a Supply List

  • Make a list of supplies before the party. While some items are obvious -- beach towels and sunscreen -- others may not come to mind right away.

    • Invitations (and stamps if you're mailing them)
    • Aloe or other sunburn treatment
    • Goggles
    • Q-tips (for water in the ears)
    • Extra sunglasses and hats
    • Pool toys such as beach balls, noodles, flotation devices
    • Life jackets or water wings for guests who do not swim well or at all
    • Party decorations
    • Insect repellent
    • Games for in and out of the pool
    • Blankets or jackets for nighttime chill
    • Plates and utensils
    • Napkins
    • Extra trash bags

Party Planning

  • Planning a party can be fun but slightly overwhelming because so many details are involved.

    1. Decide on the maximum number of guests and make a guest list for the invitations; set a rain date and request RSVPs to determine the amount of food and drink needed. Tell guests on the invitation what to bring.

    2. Once the RSVPs are received, shop for food, decorations and other items on the supply list.

    3. Clean the pool, an essential step in providing an attractive and clean atmosphere. If you use any harsh chemicals, clean the pool two days before the event to ensure that the chemicals have filtered through the system.

    4. Hire entertainment to keep the party lively and fun for the guests. If entertainment isn't available, make a special pool party play list on a digital music player.

    5. Prepare a variety of games to be played in the pool (volleyball, relay races, swimming or diving competitions, tag, etc.) and to be played outside the pool (horseshoes, volleyball, badminton, tag, baseball, scavenger hunt).

    6. Arrange for chaperones to watch over the pool and children.

    7. Clean and prepare the area for food and conversation.

    8. Decorate the outside and pool areas.

    9. Set out food and beverages along with ice and paper goods.

Food and Beverages

  • Items served at a pool party vary by taste but all should be delicious and easy to eat. Consider serving finger sandwiches, vegetables and dip, party snacks such as chips and pretzels, brownies or cookies, and pizza rolls. Keep away from greasy foods and those that are too heavy for a full day of activity. Also avoid any foods that contain mayonnaise or other ingredients that will spoil in the heat.

    Beverages consist of fruit punch, sodas, lemonade, juice, flavored waters and tea. If you plan to serve alcoholic beverages, keep it light to avoid intoxication or pool-related accidents. Stock plenty of bottled water to keep guests hydrated.

Tips and Warnings

  • Supply games and activities suitable to your guests, including their age range. Games help to keep the children entertained in and out of the pool and give adults a chance to interact with each other.

    Consider hiring one or more lifeguards to watch the pool at all times to ensure pool safety. Never leave older children in charge of younger children in the pool. Also limit pool time for younger guests to prevent dehydration or exhaustion.

    Help adult guests avoid becoming intoxicated, which can cause falling, drowning dehydration or accidents. Keep any alcoholic beverages out of reach of minors.

    Be aware of which guests may not be strong swimmers, and offer life jackets or other approved safety devices for pool time.

    Obtain lists of any potential allergies -- food, bee stings -- particularly for younger guests. Also, if a child’s parents are not present, have their emergency contact information.

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  • Photo Credit Brian McEntire/iStock/Getty Images
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