Put the 'Great' in the Great Outdoors

Celebrate under the sun with these 5 unique outdoor party ideas

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Host a pool party sans pool.

The summer season always gives hosts a reason to celebrate. Nothing is better than throwing burgers on the grill or having the neighbors over for a swim, but these summertime traditions can become rather trite by the end of the season. Go beyond the barbecue and look to other summer traditions worth celebrating for some true fun in the sun. Here are a few themes to throw a party around for your next outdoor bash:

Water Park Party: Maybe you aren't one of the lucky ones who have a pool in the backyard, but that doesn't mean you can't make a splash this summer. Guests should be invited to dive into the fun by arriving in their swimwear and prepare to turn on the water works. Kids — and let's face it, adults, too — will have a blast soaking each other with water balloons and Super Soakers. Get guests in the spirit and set up sprinklers or create a homemade slip-and-slide. Serve guests blue cocktails and sweet watermelon treats while drawing décor inspirations from everyday pool parties. For a cute party favor, fill little water-shoes with candy or give guests a water park care package with sunscreen, sunglasses and beach towels.

Make a Splash with These Great Recipes:
• Blue Independence Cocktail Recipe
• 5 Tantalizing Watermelon Treats

Paintball Party: With a few cardboard boxes and DIY targets, transform your backyard into a summer battlefield for an all-out paintball war. Forget the painful paintball guns. Arm your attendees with loaded squirt bottles and let the games begin. Food should be fun and colorful , as should the backyard décor. Provide guests with plain white T-shirts to serve as protective gear that will also make for a great party favor, too.

Make Your Party Pop with These Colorful Recipes:
Festive Rainbow Recipes
• Colorful Rice Krispie Cake

At the Drive-In: Host your own summer blockbuster with a drive-in-movie-themed party. Have guests turn in their admission tickets and set up a rented projection screen for an outdoor feature film. The "audience" will love munching on concession stand snacks like popcorn and candy while laying out under the stars for a truly unique screening.

Make a Scene with These All-Star Recipes:
Negroni Carmel Popcorn
Movie-Inspired Recipes

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