The dog days of summer are creeping up on us. It won’t be long before the days are sweltering and pool parties and ice cream will be our only solace from the heat. If you’re a summer bunny who thrives in the sunshine, then take a good long look at this list of fun and fabulous summer party themes for a little inspiration! We’ve gathered some classic themes, some super unique ideas, and all the little details you need to throw an epic summer bash!
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20 Sizzling Summer Party Themes
In this article, we are going to focus on summer party themes for adult friend groups. However, any of these themes can be easily adjusted for a children’s birthday party, a corporate team-building event, a quirky bridal shower, or a fun family reunion. Just make a few tweaks and get creative!
1. English Afternoon Tea Party
There’s nothing more classic than a posh English garden party. This is the perfect summer party theme idea for a bridal bash, a teenage birthday party, or a group of ladies who need an excuse to dress up and wear fancy hats!
You’ll need lots of greenery, and a few fresh flowers for centerpieces. Go for a boho, vintage look by using collected small glass jars with a single large flower in each. Fingerfood is best for this kind of brunch soiree. A few mini sandwiches, yogurt-covered pretzels, some fancy cupcakes, and a charcuterie board will do. For drinks, mimosas are a necessity. Fresh lemonade or ice cream punch is also a great idea. While the Brits would serve traditional Earl Grey, if summer in your region is really hot, you might consider a fruit-flavored iced tea instead. Make sure to set up a little photo booth, as you’re going to want to document your extravagant fascinators!
2. 70s Disco Days
The iconic nightlife of the Disco Era produced a playlist and a dress code that will live on in infamy. Bring back the good old days of sparkle, roller skates, and platforms will a modern-day disco. Whether you turn your living room into a nightclub or rent a larger space, music is key here! Load up your Spotify with Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Gloria Gayner, and The Village People. Crank up the speakers, and keep the Galliano-infused drinks flowing. Cocktails in the 70s were as fancy as the outfits, so make sure you have plenty of fruit, little umbrellas, and flair! Disco balls, confetti, and a strobe light round out the necessaries for this incredibly fun summer party idea!
3. Inflatable Festival
Want to throw a pool party? An easy and hilarious theme is to have your adult pals purchase their own gigantic inflatable and create a costume that matches. When your boss shows up in a tutu with a unicorn floatie, you know you’ve hit the nail on the head! Costumes and floatation devices are likely to be vibrant and fun, so keep the rest of the party theme light as well.
Fill your playlist with the Beach Boys, Abba, and Smashmouth. Set up some outdoor games. Fill metal bins with ice, beer, and fruity alcoholic beverages. Grill up some hot dogs or hamburgers, snag a few bags of chips, and so easy desserts like cookies. If you don’t want to mess with cooking, hire a fun food truck to park in the backyard for the day! Whether you’re throwing a work party, birthday bash, or just some Friday night fun, this is one of our favorite pool party ideas!
4. Southern Ice Cream Social
Nothing screams summer like an ice cream sundae. This is an easy party to set up, and one that most people will love. All you need is a long table with a plastic tablecloth (ice cream is messy), some vibrantly colored dishes for toppings, and several flavors of ice cream. Then, pile the table high with sprinkles, marshmallows, fruit, whip cream, caramel, chocolate, nuts, and candies. This works great for a quick, casual family get-together or as an assist to a pool day!
5. Superhero Dreams
Who says capes are for kids? Capes are for everyone! Having your friends show up dressed as their favorite superheroes lets you in a whole new side of their personality. It’s fun to guess and then be surprised at who shows up as what character. You will definitely need a photo booth for this one, and a few props is not a bad idea either. To make your party next level, focus your games on strength, agility, and power. Which superhero can lift the heaviest stone? Which superhero can run the fastest sprint? Who can “leap tall buildings with a single bound?” Also, a costume competition is pretty much a given here.
This theme goes along well with a summer bbq or a 4th of July gathering. Party favor ideas include comic books, epic stickers, or medals for winning the superhero events. Superheros consume a lot of food, so you might consider making it a potluck!
6. Water Balloon Extravaganza
It’s likely that some of your fondest childhood memories involve some sort of water fight! A water-themed summer party is the perfect remedy for the scorching summer temperatures. This one works best if you have a nice-sized field or lawn to play on. Even better, if you have hay bales or trees to hide behind. Divide your guests into teams. Supply each team with their color of water balloons, and let the battle begin. If you get hit, you’re out. The last team standing wins a prize!
To add to your water theme, set up a few kiddie-pool conversation areas, where you and your childish friends can gather with beers or adult kool-aid. If you really want to have a good time (and bruised hip bones), head to your home goods store for a roll Visqueen. Grab some dish detergent, and create your own giant waterslide!
7. Treasure Hunt
For an easy and exciting summer party idea, utilize the Let’s Roam Scavenger Hunt App to explore your own city! Choose a sightseeing tour, an urban art walk, a spooky ghost tour, or a fun-filled bar crawl, and gather your crew. Our hunts are epic fun! We include destination-specific trivia challenges, photo and video prompts, and a designated route that takes you to all the top spots. We can even customize a hunt for your special occasion. Also, we do birthdays, bachelor/bachelorette bashes, custom team-building events, and any other major milestone you feel like celebrating! Check out all your options, and book your summer party today!
8. Wild Wild West
What is it about Cowboys and Native Americans that fascinates us? The images of an untamed frontier, shootouts, cattle rustling, and saloons just captivate the imagination somehow. For a fun outdoor party, have your crew come as their best Wild West character. Rustle up some grub over the bbq, and compete in outdoor games like fake calf roping, hay bale toss, horseshoes, and cap-pistol target shooting. End your evening with cowboy tales and s’mores around the bonfire. If you want to do party decorations, hay bales make great seating arrangements. Old boots are good facades for wildflower vases, and upside-down cowboy hats make great bowls for beef jerky and potato chips.
9. Brazilian Carnival
There’s no summer party like Carnival! It’s the original block party extraordinaire! If you want to throw a summertime bash that nobody will soon forget, then put on your Brazilian party spirit and get ready to go big!
You’re going to need lots of colored beads and vibrant feathers. Glitter, confetti, and layers of fabulous colored cloth should be your table settings. The music should be vibrant and Latin. Serve up platters of barbecued meats and fresh fruits and veg. As entertainment, you can set up an arts and crafts area where friends can design their own elaborate headdresses. You will also need to organize a dance competition. It’s compulsory! As an incentive for participation, make sure you have some really good gifts for the best costume, dance competition winner, best headdress, etc!
10. Indian Holi Color Party
If you have ever had the pleasure of experiencing Holi, or the festival of colors, in India, you know that it’s a time of immense joy and absolutely unabashed fun! For a fantastically exuberant summer party, create your own DIY Holi Festival!
As guests arrive, you will give each of them a white gown (or a cheap paper painter’s suit from Home Depot Works). While you can certainly buy Holi dust online, you can also create your own vibrant colors with rice flour or corn starch and food coloring. You will need buckets and buckets of it! When it comes to the color war, there are many options for dispensing. You can fill balloons, use your hands, or let each person figure it out on their own. We also highly recommend a large cache of loaded water guns.
For food, go with simple appetizers, or go big with a full traditional Indian meal. Your local Indian food restaurant will be glad to provide it, and they’ll be overjoyed when they make the delivery! For decorations, you will need yards of colored cloth. Indians often use elaborately decorated silks or saris for table decor, photo backdrops, and furniture covers. The brighter and more colorful, the better!
11. Spanish Flamingo Fiesta
Spice up your summer bash with a little Latin flavor! Spanish flamingo dancing is exuberant, loud, and absolutely spell-binding! The costumes are flamboyant. The moves are seductive, and the music captivating.
You’ll need a playlist of traditional flamingo music. Friends will need advanced notice to get their costumes together. For food, we recommend a giant communal bowl of Paella, a traditional Spanish rice dish with vegetables, sausage, or seafood mixed in. It’s traditionally served in the center of the table in a giant flat saucer, and everyone digs in. If you want to take it to the next level, hire a Flamingo instructor to give your crew a few tips!
12. Watermelon Crawl
For a cute summery party theme, head to your local watermelon patch! Watermelon is an awesome party favorite because it’s multi-purpose. Its gorgeous color scheme allows it to serve as its own decoration. Plus, it can be used as food and drink as well. Hop on YouTube and watch a few watermelon-carving videos to create festive food bowls and decor out of your melons. You’ll need some pink and green tablecloths and a few fresh flowers, and you’re all set on decor.
For games, watermelons again come in so handy! Watermelon bowling is easy to set up. A watermelon toss is a given. You can set up a relay with a wheelbarrow and watermelons. One melon is put in the barrow, and the person runs to the other end of the field, where their teammate will put in another watermelon and run back to the other end. It continues until one team can longer push the barrow. If your friends are a bit redneck, watermelons make pretty good targets for shooting as well.
Watermelon cocktails, watermelon wine, and watermelon water (a traditional Mexican drink mixing watermelon, sugar, and water into a kind of Kool-Aid) are musts as well! You can also institute a slice-eating competition! This one might get messy, so don’t forget the napkins.
13. Lumberjack Jamboree
With the rise of axe-throwing facilities all over the world, we think a lumberjack-themed party would be a blast! While flannel is not really a favorable summer outfit choice, you can always cut off the sleeves! This is a Daisy-dukes and boots, redneck kind of function, so you’ll fit right in.
Gather a few small hatchets from your hardware store. You’re going to need some targets, whether they are official ones, or just an x painted on a board… you do you. Aside from ax throwing, a wood chopping competition would be fun. You could also have log-rolling races, wife-carrying competitions, and a wood-stacking race!
14. Diamond in the Rough
It’s time to get glam! This summer party theme is all about the shine. This one would work great for a bridal shower, tween girl party, or bachelorette party. Each guest will come in their best Marilyn Monroe or Jane Mansfield attire. Pink roses and tubes of red lipstick are the perfect centerpieces. Champagne should be flowing too!
For entertainment, you can set up a “diamond ring” treasure hunt. If you have young children, then set up sensory bins, where they dig for diamonds (rock candy). Have a Glamour Shots booth to document your over-the-top costumes with a few pin-up pics, and end your night with an Audrey or Marilyn movie marathon!
15. Roman Romp
There’s just something fun about a toga! Plus, the Romans really knew how to party. For this summer dinner party, you’re going to need a low-level table with reclining cushions. We suggest renting a wine fountain and serving up heaps of Mediterranean food on large silver platters.
For games, you’re going to go traditional summer Olympics. (Yes, that is Greek, but we all know Romans stole a lot of their fun from the Greeks.) Javelin and disc throws, wrestling matches (keep your toga on please), and footraces will be rewarded with golden-spray painted laurel wreaths, and the ultimate champion should receive a gift certificate to the local Mediterranean restaurant!
16. Big Boy Summer Camp
Ahh… summer camp! Days on the lake, sneaking kisses with your summer crush, and nights around the campfire, what a time! Bring back the joy of summer camp with a day of traditional outdoor games. Think tug of war, ring toss, archery, capture the flag, pool volleyball, etc. This one obviously lends itself to a cookout and s’mores, and we think this theme would be perfect for the Fourth of July.
17. Murder Mystery Night
When the summer days get too steamy, move the party inside for a Let’s Roam Murder Mystery Party. Our murder mystery themes are entirely scripted, and you’ll be guided through the night by our engaging party hosts. You’ll invite your crew. Let them know which article you have chosen so they can dress appropriately, and provide food and drinks to match your theme. Connect through your favorite video chat software or our own platform, and we take care of the rest!
18. Partner Swap Costume Party
A few years ago, there was a trendy Halloween costume for couples, where the woman dressed as herself, and the man dressed as his best version of her. The Insta pics were fabulous and hilarious. We love it, and we think it would make for a fun summer party theme.
This one works great for an engagement party or milestone anniversary. Challenge each of your friends to come dressed as their best imitation of their partners. Prizes should be given for the best costumes. Games should revolve around couple’s initiatives… think The Newlywed Game, couple trivia, etc
19. Meeting of the Mentors
Another costume party idea that works great for work parties is for all your crew to come dressed as their mentor or hero. It could be a real-life person, a movie star, a sports hero, or a famous artist. As adults, we don’t talk about the people we look up to very often, but we can learn a lot about each other by analyzing who we idolize.
Make it a potluck, asking each person to bring a food item that somehow represents their mentor. That could be Grandma’s famous chocolate cake, Hemingway’s Daiquiris, or Elvis’s peanut butter and banana sandwiches. You might have a hodgepodge of food, but it will be fun!
20. Polynesian Pool Party
A luau is a pretty classic summer party but for good reason! It’s colorful, it comes with great games and food, and it reminds people of the beach… and who doesn’t want to be on the beach? For your Polynesian party, greet your guests with flower leis. Serve up some fresh sushi or Poke bowls. You could also slow-roast a pig if you have the patience. Keep the pina coladas flowing too.
Set up the tiki torches and blast that Moana soundtrack. Have a widdling competition to make the best totem pole. Compete in a hula hooping contest or a limbo challenge, or learn to do a traditional hula dance together!
Time to Party
We’re running low on time here, and we could keep on going for days! There’s still the Nile River Rendezvous, Arabian Nights, the Venetian Masquerade, Scottish Highland Games, and Christmas in July, but we’ll save those for another day! For now, we hope you found your next bash ideas on our list of the top 20 sizzling summer party themes! Now, get out of here, you have a party to plan!
For more incredible summer activities, check out “49 Ideas for a Perfect Family Picnic.”
If you and your crew are a bit more adventurous, check out these “24 Adrenaline-Pumping Activities for Adventurous Friends.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Want to make some incredible summer memories, grab a copy of Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition and spend all summer long exploring new activities together!