There is a reason we use fireworks to celebrate our country's independence. It signifies the end of the Revolution and the beginning of freedom for the United States of America. Remember the line from the Star Spangled Banner, "The bombs bursting in air...?"
For most Americans, nothing says patriotism like fireworks on the 4th of July. Whether it's sparklers held by little children, or huge fireworks in the sky, you can't celebrate the Fourth of July without an explosion or two. If you'd like some ideas on how to plan your own independence day celebration, you're in the right place!
Pick the Location
Choosing a date isn't a problem, it wouldn't make much sense hosting a fireworks party on July 10th now would it? As for the location, there are several factors to consider. For example, does your city or county allow the use of fireworks? For many there are severe limitations on what sort of fireworks you can use. Be sure to double check your area's regulations.
If it's safe in your area, host the party at your home and plan to use the street in front of your house or your driveway to set off your sparkly celebration.
If you live close enough to where your city will be displaying the big fireworks, then you can host the party in your backyard and simply look up when it's time for the show. If you don't, then you can either host the party at a local park near where they'll be setting off the fireworks, carpool to the area or forgo the big blasts for your own home-made celebration.
Create and Distribute Your Invitations
If you're good with design, you can put together a really festive invitation using clipart, borders and backgrounds. It's pretty easy to do, even in the most basic word processing programs. If you'd rather have it done for you, browse our collection of pre-designed firework party invitations
. You can just edit the party details online and print from home.
Whatever method you use, be sure to include the basics such as time, location, directions and items you're expecting your guests to bring. You can add some extra fun at the party, and on the invitation, a "best patriotic outfit" contest.
You could post your invitation on Facebook, send via email...but it's a lot more fun to hand deliver or mail the paper invitations. It allows your guests to fasten the invitation on their refrigerator -- they'll have a permanent reminder and an excuse to get excited about the day.
Food and Drinks
Unless you have a big budget and can afford to have your meal catered, the easiest way to go is to ask each guest to bring something. Hosting a potluck is easy on the pocket book and allows everyone to try new dishes. Consider asking half the guest list to bring starters, the other half the desserts. You can provide the main dishes and drinks. Or mix it up and just provide plates, cutlery, cups and beverages.
There are so many wonderful ways to decorate your home to get it ready for your 4th of July party. You'll want your standards: balloons, streamers, bunting...but you can also get a little more creative. Try some of these ideas:
- Luminaries: Use paper lunch bags. Stamp each with red, white and blue stars. Cut out a star or two on the outside of the bag as well. Now fill with a sand or small pebbles and drop a tea light (electronic or a candle) and use to line your driveway.
- Flags: It's fairly inexpensive to buy a whole bunch of small and medium sized American flags and use them liberally for decoration. Have a few on hand for kids to wave, too.
- Patriotic Candles: Buy inexpensive votive candles and decorate the glass with red, white and blue ribbon, stickers or whatever suits your fancy.
- Cake: Don't forget to use your food as a form of decoration. You can make a cake with red and white stripes using frosting and strawberries, and even make the blue area with blueberries!
Even adults like to have some activities at a party. Having music will encourage guests to dance. Mingling is always a good activity but with a little forethought you can use your 4th of July theme to your advantage:
- Trivia: At your tables, put a small metal bucket (you can find them at the craft store) filled with red, white and blue M&Ms and a few trivia cards (US History, revolution, whatever you want).
- Flag Relay: This is a super fun activity, good for adults or children. Here are instructions on how to host this activity.
- Patriotic Puzzle: There will be guests who don't want to be quite as physical, so set out a table and a fun USA themed puzzle. Start it first, maybe just the edges? Then let your guests sit and work the puzzle while they visit.
- Stilt Walk: Save some larger tin cans (pineapple juice size) and paint them red, white and blue. Drill a hole in the side of each and loop a jump rope through them. Voila! Stilts! Have enough for two people and host races.
- Sidewalk Art: Have several buckets of chalk and as your guests to do their best Statue of Liberty or Uncle Sam drawings.
- Confetti Launchers: Have toilet paper and paper towel tubes available and supplies so that guests can decorate their own mini "fireworks." They can fill the inside with confetti or have crepe paper streamers off the end. Or, make them ahead of time with candy inside and let them decorate their party favor. This is popular for children.
Once the sun has gone down, it's time to spark up the real
fun: fireworks! Here are some things to keep in mind before you turn your guests lose with lighters:
- Be safe! Set up an area that's only for your fireworks. You might consider setting up cones or plastic chairs around the perimeter to keep the area clear.
- Plan ahead: Have a hose near your fireworks area, preferably with a nozzle so the water is turned on but not flowing unless you squeeze the handle. Also have plenty of lighters on hand so you're not searching for them!
- Trash: Have a metal trash can handy so that as you finish with one item, you can toss it before starting another.
- Monitor children: Have one person who's dedicated to keeping an eye on younger kids so they don't walk into the fireworks area. Consider having sparklers available for those over 4.
- Be legal: Do not purchase dangerous, illegal fireworks. There is a reason they're illegal. Unless you're evening's plans include a trip to the emergency room, it's not worth the risk.
If you're planning on having your guests watch the big fireworks display from your house, it's a good idea to have some blankets or extra jackets as well as lawn chairs or blankets to lay back on.
With a little planning, hosting your own fireworks party can be so much fun, you'll want to do it year after year.