Fiesta Friday - Poolside Bash, Afternoon Splash

Summer birthdays guarantee a bevy of pool parties. Have a tween/teen to throw a soiree for without breaking the bank and keeping your 'coolness' factor? One of my readers posed this question, 'My 14 year old boy wants to have a pool party and my budget is tight!! It's going to be about 8-10 people and no pizza please. He does not like ice cream or cake and I don't want to give them a bunch of junk food.'

At this age, it's more about the little details than the overblown decor reserved for the kiddie set...sure when she was 4, Ariel was da bomb and everyone had to dress up like mermaids, and you hung up a thousand seaweed streamers and balloons. At 14, not so much.

A pool party pretty much guarantees guest participation, and doesn't require complicated decor, after all, at this age, everyone is more concerned about who's there, not what's there.

Get The Party Started
Create miniature kickboards by using foam core cut in the shape of a kickboard. Print the invite directly on a piece of the cardstock color of your choice.

Attach the invite to something that says 'pool party', like a pair of flip-flops or a bottle of suntan lotion. Write your party info on a beach ball...yes, that will never get old.
Take out the guess work and use printables. Kara's pool party used fun banners and pinwheels from Paper & Cake's pool party package. The package also comes with paper lanterns, food labels, snack boxes and printed patterns to jazz up just about every aspect of your party!

Setting The Scene
Let me tell you, the dollar store will be your friend. I've seen just about everything under the sun there! Stock up on summer goodies; inflatables, pool noodles, small bottles of sun screen, little water guns and sand buckets and molds. Check out the summer craft section of your favorite craft store for small Chinese paper lanterns, they are usually about a $1 a piece.

Sprinkle a runner of sand down each table and decorate with sea shells for a beach look; add the water guns, sunscreen bottles and inexpensive sunglasses. They can double as table decor and guests can take them home as favors!
Drink umbrellas are not just for drinks...check out this topiary from Craft Stylish.
Never underestimate the power of a wall of streamers! Hang up the small Chinese paper lanterns among those famous tissue poms in bright colors. We did this at our Silly Socks Party, the blank wall was just screaming for details, but had to be budget-friendly. Don't forget my other friend, butcher paper. Make giant surfboards and palm trees and other themed items, similar to what I did for the farm party.

Keep the menu simple. Cold cuts and cheeses-sliced and cubed, fresh fruit such as melon cubes or balls and berries and grapes are delicious and easy to serve. Make sure to have ice-filled buckets of bottled water and other drinks so everyone stays hydrated.

The Playlist
Cruel Summer - Bananarama
California Dreamin' - Mamas and the Papas
Summertime - DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
Going Back To Cali - LL Cool J
Anything by Bob Marley
Walkin' On Sunshine - Katrina and the Waves
Miami - Will Smith
Summer Nights - Grease soundtrack
Sheryl Crow - Soak Up The Sun
Hot, Hot, Hot - Buster Poindexter

Send Them Home With A Smile
Head back to your dollar store for small plastic totes that they can add your table decor to. Didn't go that route? Fill the tote with flip flops, a beach towel and a burned CD with songs played during the afternoon.

Need more inspiration? See my beach ball-themed post.

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