The fourth of July is rooted in American history. It’s a day for backyard barbecues, hometown parades and fireworks. It’s the celebration of our independence as a nation, and it’s been known as America’s birthday since the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
On July 4, cities across the country will celebrate with concerts, parades, festivals, food, and of course, fireworks. But, if crowds aren’t your thing, host your own festivities from home. Here are some simple ideas to celebrate the red, white and blue from your own backyard.
BBQ Cookoff — Kick your Independence Day cookout up a notch with a BBQ cookoff. Create categories such as meat, veggies and appetizers and invite your friends to bring their favorite recipe in a specific category. Have guests vote on their favorite and award the winner in each category a prize. Need a little inspiration? Check out these fun and festive 4th of July recipes from Good Housekeeping
Movie Under the Stars — All you need is a projector and an outdoor screen (or white bed sheet) to enjoy a movie under the stars. Popcorn and s’mores will make it the perfect night. (Don’t forget the bug spray!) Here are a few films full of patriotism and celebration of America the whole family will enjoy: American Graffiti (PG-13); Independence Day (PG-13); Stand By Me (R); Glory (R); National Treasure (PG); Lincoln (PG-13); Yankee Doodle Dandy (G); Miracle (PG); Apollo 13 (PG).
Backyard Carnival — Break out the slip ‘n’ slide, set out the yard games and decorate with banners, flags and lights for a backyard carnival and fun for kids of all ages. Sparklers, poppers and fireworks will make the perfect ending to your Fourth of July backyard carnival (be sure to check your local ordinances regarding fireworks).
Go Camping — Set up tents and a firepit for a campout with the kids. This is a simple, low-key way to enjoy the great outdoors with your family. Cook hotdogs and roast marshmallows over the fire, tell ghost stories, sing songs and catch fireflies. A backyard campout is certain to create lasting memories for you and your children.
Celebrate with Red, White and Blue — Don’t forget the decorations! From tablecloths and paper plates to banners, flags and flowers, make your party festive with plenty of red, white and blue. Decorating doesn’t have to break the bank — check out your local dollar store for plenty of festive and affordable balloons, decor, paper goods and more.
No matter how you choose to celebrate, here are a few tips to ensure your backyard celebration is enjoyable for everyone:
- Watch the weather. If there’s a chance of rain in the forecast, have a backup plan so you and your guests can enjoy the day, rain or shine.
- Keep unwanted pests away with citronella candles, tiki torches and bug spray. Be sure to remove any standing water from in and around your yard.
- Be sure there’s plenty of lighting. Hang outdoor lights or strategically place lanterns around the yard to create a soft glow when the sun goes down.
- Keep cool. It’s sure to be hot in July, so offer plenty of ways for your guests to stay cool. Pop up shade tents, place fans and/or misters around the yard and keep drinks chilled with plenty of ice in the cooler.
- Start early. July 4 falls on a Wednesday this year, so start your party early so guests can enjoy the fun without worrying about staying out too late on a weeknight.
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