It's that time of year friends! We're all dying to be outside so much after the long winter that we can hardly even stand to eat inside-so what better excuse to get outdoors for your next meal than to invite your friends and neighbors over for an cookout! Here I've gathered 10 of my favorite ideas for your next evening outdoors ranging from what to serve to how to serve it and how to keep the kiddos entertained! Let's go!
1.) Keep your guests bug bite free!
One year after a great night under the stars we had a guest go home with 20 mosquito bites covering her entire body, to make matters she was allergic to them and she was swelling up before our very eyes. Cannot begin to tell you how guilty I felt! I started researching different methods for keeping away mosquitos and trying them out. As weird as it sounds Listerine is a must. It really works! It has to be the original kind, and it cannot be generic, but all you have to do is slosh it around your yard about an hour before your guests are to arrive. You will have a bit of a minty scent, but it's not unpleasant and it is SO worth it! All my friends use this trick now as well and we all swear by it!
2.) Purposeful decorating
I love this idea! Use this as a centerpiece for not only an impressive look but a delicious treat for your guests to snack on throughout the night.
3.) Make it cute, make it easy
Let's face it-these days anything in a mason jar is instant cute. I love this idea though for making it super simple and cute! All everyone needs to do is grab a jar and they've got a napkin, utensils, and a drinking glass! No more fielding 10 of the same "where's a fork" question!
4.) Use what you've got
Entertaining does not mean you have to go to the party supply store for the plates and other paper goods. Get creative and use what you've got! I love this idea of using a muffin tin for the condiments for a few reasons. 1-you don't have to use 10 different small disposable plates that blow off the table. 2-you've got everything together, no more pass the mustard, pass the tomato, pass the pickles. 3-you probably already have this, and if you need extra you easily ask a guest to bring one with them and just load it up when they arrive.
5.) Bubbles for the Kids
Easy ways to keep the kids entertained and having fun means the adults get to have more fun too! I love this Bubble Refill Station because it is an inexpensive idea that the kids can come and go with all evening without anyone having to do anything with. I would highly suggest marking this very clearly so that nobody mistakes this a beverage, as well as keeping this in an area away from the food/eating area.
6.) Grab-it food for Kids
Prevent the upcoming argument of trying to tame the kids in their seats long enough for dinner. Make some easy and quick to grab food options. The adults will enjoy it for the delicious factor and the kids will love it for the we-can-keep-playing factor.
7.) Set the Mood
Grab every jar you've got-mason, pickle, jam, canning, anything! Secure them with wire and a place a votive candle in it and hang securely! When it starts to get dusk you've got some instant magic. Just make sure to hang this way out of kids reach if they'll be attending as well.
8.) Make clean up easy-for you & your guests
Make your guests feel more comfortable and your job at the end of the night a breeze by designating (and clearly marking) a spot for dirty dishes.
9.) Keep decorating bright and simple
Bunting is quick and easy to make if you don't want to spend any money to purchase it. Simply tie it among the tree branches or around the fences surrounding your yard for a quick and festive way to add color.
10.) Night Lawn Bowling
This is one of those ideas that is fun for both kids and adults alike, and the perfect way to end the night!