How to Plan a Last Minute Pool Party

Planning a pool party on a short timeline has never been easier. Learn how.

By: Kyle Benzinger

Planning a party on short notice can seem a little daunting — but it doesn’t have to be! Adding a pool to your party planning to-do list might seem like an unnecessary obstacle, but who doesn’t want fun in the sun with friends and family? A pool is the perfect venue to make this happen, and it’s worth the extra effort. Here are a few tips on making your spur-of-the-moment pool party as smooth and stress-free as possible.

  1. Location, Location, Location ! Just like real estate, planning a party is all about location. Quickly survey your friends and family (especially those who will be attending the party): Does anyone have a pool at home? Does someone belong to a swim club, recreation centre or YMCA? Maybe someone you know has a clubhouse at her apartment complex? If the answer is “no” across the board, then do a little research on the affordable pools convenient to where you live. You should be able to find a pool relatively close that’s available for your use and for a reasonable fee (or even free).

If you own a pool or have one nearby that’s easily at your disposal, consider yourself fortunate and the first hurdle easily avoided.

  1. Make a List Once you have settled on your party strategy and location, be sure to make a list of what you’ll need, including:
    • Who you’re inviting
    • Food and paper goods (There’s nothing worse than making delicious burgers and forgetting the ketchup — and worse yet — plates!)
    • Music options and equipment
    • Game supplies
    • Towels and rafts (if permitted)

Making a list will help you stay organized on an extra tight timeline.

  1. Food That’s Quick and Easy Deciding on a menu for any party can feel overwhelming because there are so many options. But given the carefree atmosphere of a pool party, there’s no need to worry about fancy appetizers and decadent deserts. Stick with simple and you’ll win every time.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Get Grillin’ — Most pools have grills available for a cookout. Grab some hamburgers, hot dogs and all the fixin’s on the way to the party. Also, if you’re inviting your guests last minute (like the day before) — most will be happy to bring their favourite side dish and make it potluck-style.

Tip: Don’t forget that ordering pizza is always an option. A couple of hot slices by the pool paired with cold beverages spells fun for anyone.

  1. Music Nothing steps the party up a notch like some good tunes. There’s no need for a private DJ, though. Do you have a friend who is always in the know when it comes to the next big hits and latest music artists? Have them bring their gear and portable speakers, so that they can help create the party vibe.

Worried that you don’t have the music everyone will enjoy? Brush off that dusty boom box in the corner of your closet and stop by the library to pick up some CDs from a variety of genres. Whether it's old school Motown, classic rock, country, jazz, R&B or pop — a mix of many types will let your guests find their own groove.

  1. Safety First —Be sure a lifeguard is in place during your party to ensure everyone is safe. Pool safety is the most important ingredient to a successful pool party.
  1. Fun and Games for Everyone Kids, big and small, love a good game. Here are some options that are fun for all and easy to execute:
    • Stop by the bank and pick up some rolls of change. When the time is right, scatter the coins in the pool and have those little ones with a knack for swimming go dive for treasure.
    • For the adults, having a deck of cards on hand is always a good idea.
    • You never know how many card players you might have on the invite list.
    • Call ahead to see if your pool party location has a basketball hoop or volleyball court. Some guests might want to take a break from the water and switch to a pick-up game of basketball, so come prepared. If volleyball isn’t an option, how about badminton? There’s no sense in letting a good net go to waste.
    • And who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned game of Marco Polo? Get the game started with just a few volunteers and watch how many more will want to join in. This is a great way for everyone to have some fun and cool off in the water.

Don’t forget the fun! Remember that enjoying yourself is paramount to a successful pool party, last minute or planned in advance. Try to be calm and relaxed so that your guests can feel that way, too. Setting a relaxed tone for the party with a touch of excitement is important for everyone’s enjoyment. Being genuinely excited about the party will make your guests feel welcome and allow them to have a good time — even at a moment’s notice.


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