These are the longest days of the year, so fill them up with great memories. From a small family gathering to an outdoor bash across the neighborhood, outdoor entertaining is a perfect way to get together, enjoy fresh air and make the most of the incredible summer weather. But before you light up the grill, make sure you have everything you need for a spectacular summer bash.

  1. Food for all. Plan out your menu with all your guests in mind. Dietary restrictions aren’t uncommon these days, and while a lowcountry boil is a classic Floco favorite, guests with a shellfish allergy or vegetarian diet would not be able to enjoy it. A potluck-style gathering ensures that everyone will have something they can enjoy. Need some ideas for sides? Try these vegetarian baked beans, gluten-free baked sweet potato fries, or paleo and keto-friendly deviled eggs.
  2. Stay active. Food and conversation are good, but you can make a party great with something to get everyone involved. From classic yard games like frisbee, cornhole or badminton to creative ideas for kids like flamingo ring toss or glow-in-the-dark bowling, there are so many ways to keep the fun going.
  3. Bug off! Mosquitos are pervasive pests, especially during the summer season. Since they are most active from dusk to dawn, it’s important to take bug bite prevention measures before the evening starts setting in. Bug spray is a must but lighting some Citronella candles or kindling a fire in your fire pit can be helpful in keeping mosquitos at bay, too.
  4. Take a seat (or several). Be sure you have some outdoor seating for guests. It can be as simple as blankets on the ground, beanbag chairs or a full patio furniture set, but nothing cuts a party short like folks needing to get home to get off their feet. Seating can also create spaces for conversation, activities or just help everyone comfortably maintain distance as needed.
  5. Light up the night. When the sun does drop below the horizon, some outdoor lighting can help keep the party going. The lighting you choose can also set a mood: whether you have elegant candles, cozy lights strung up or playful colored lighting, the light can make the theme of your party. And it’s also a good safety decision: dark conditions can be dangerous if guests can’t see where they’re going!