Summer parties are fun, and the party space--whether indoors or out--is easy to decorate. Whether the party is for an adult or a child, continue the theme throughout with your decorations. If you visit a party supply or craft store, you should be able to find everything you need.
The possibilities for a beach or tropical theme seem also endless. Hang a fishnet with a variety of seashells. Skirt your table with a "grass" skirt and trim with silk hibiscus flowers. Use foil, paper or inflatable palm trees. Use coconut shells as candle holders or put floating candles in the shapes of seashells or fish in a glass bowl of water, tinted blue with food coloring. Fill small sand pails with goodies for your guests.
Line the path to your patio with luminaries or pillar candles in hurricane lamps. String paper lanterns around your deck or patio. Use lots of gold and red in your color scheme. Mini Chinese take out boxes filled with treats make great party favors. Decorate your table with bonsai or bamboo plants, chopsticks, a papier-mache dragon, a bamboo table runner or place mats and paper fans. Prop paper parasols on their sides or attach to your deck railing.
Setting up for a camp-out party for teens or even younger kids is simple because nature does most of it for you. Create a fire pit in your backyard (supervise young children). Place logs around the campfire for seating. Set out lanterns or Tiki torches and don't forget some citronella to keep mosquitoes at bay. Small flashlights make great party favors. Cover the food table with camouflage fabric and use tin plates for serving.
Dress up an ordinary picnic. Start with the traditional red checked gingham tablecloth. Use a picnic basket as your centerpiece and to hold napkins and silverware. Wrap your silverware in a napkin, tie with a pretty summery ribbon and tuck in a summer flower. For a summery centerpiece, fill a tin watering can with a large bunch of daisies. Cut a watermelon in half and scoop out the melon. Use both halves as ice "buckets."
Naturally for Memorial Day or the Fourth of July your decorations should be red, white and blue. Line the path to your party with small flags. Start with a plain white tablecloth and scatter red and blue star confetti. Fill a large clear vase with water colored blue with food coloring and add red and white carnations for your centerpiece. Suspend groups of red, white and blue foil streamers from your ceiling and attach a foil star at the bottom of each.
If you are planning an outdoor party, always have a contingency plan in the event of rain. Parties for children should be supervised by an adult, particular if it involves candles, lanterns or a campfire.