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How to Throw a Pool Party

Make your pool the centerpiece of your next celebration! This checklist will ensure that your bash is a blast.


  • Step 1: Decide if it's adults only Decide whether your party includes children and specify it on the invitation. If you are hosting kids, post safety signs around the pool and ban diving. Make sure parents know they're responsible for supervising their youngsters.
  • TIP: Consider contacting your local parks and recreation department about hiring a professional lifeguard.
  • Step 2: Plan the food Plan the menu. Focus on finger food that can be served straight from the fridge or at room temperature. Avoid anything that could go bad in the sun. Use unbreakable plates and cups so you don't have to worry about bare feet on broken glass.
  • Step 3: Prepare the pool Clean the pool, check its chemical composition, and place a few life preserver rings nearby. If it's an evening party, set out floating candles at dusk, and arrange tiki torches near the pool.
  • Step 4: Set up food stations Set up the bar away from the buffet to prevent bottlenecks. Space permitting, have more than one food station and a few tables where guests can sit to eat.
  • TIP: Serve a signature cocktail that you can prepare ahead of time and serve in pitchers.
  • Step 5: Add some niceties Designate one room for changing, and stock it with clean plastic bags for wet swimsuits. Put a bottle of hair conditioner on the bathroom sink for guests whose wet hair needs a little help getting untangled.
  • TIP: If a guest is feeling the heat, give them a paper towel-wrapped ice cube to hold against their wrist. This can reduce body temperature quickly.
  • Step 6: Stock some extras Have on hand extra sunscreen, bug spray, and several pairs of inexpensive new flip-flops so guests don't traipse wet feet into the house. And plenty of clean towels for swimmers --in case someone lands in the pool unexpectedly!
  • FACT: The design of the Ritz hotel pool in Paris is inspired by ancient Roman baths.

You Will Need

  • Invitations
  • Pool safety signs
  • Finger food
  • Unbreakable plates and cups
  • Food stations
  • Tables
  • Life preserver rings
  • Floating candles
  • Tiki torches
  • Sunscreen
  • Flip-flops
  • Clean towels
  • Professional lifeguard (optional)
  • Signature cocktail (optional)
  • Ice wrapped in paper towels (optional)

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