12 Outdoor Party Themes

Plan a Mad Men–inspired soiree, a faux pool party, and more with these inventive ideas for backyard bash menus

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Faux pool party

Pull up a chair by the pool and enjoy some refreshing, fruity sippers alongside some grilled bites and a sweet-spicy fruit platter.


Margarita "Poptails"

Watermelon Daiquiri


Caramelized Tomato Bruschetta

Grilled Meatball, Halloumi, and Baby Squash Skewers

Fancy Fruit Platter (pictured)

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Mad Men party

Stock up on the martini and highball glasses and serve plenty of finger food with the booze—you don't want too much scandal! Put on your curve-hugging knits or that skinny tie and flirt like it's 1963.


Death Valley Martinis


Boozy Olives (pictured)

Salmon Rillettes

Smoked Oysters on the Half "Shell"

Lemon Drop Chicken Wings

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Graduation party

Celebrate the big day with crowd-pleasers: mini steak tortas, classic guacamole, cheesy stuffed peppers and, of course, some big, bold drinks for toasting the grad.


The Party Starter

Pulaukotok's Spring Punch


Gabriel's Guacamole

Chile and Lime Steak Tortas (pictured)

Mini Peppers Filled with Goat Cheese and Asparagus

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Downton Abbey party

Borrow some tips from the gorgeous PBS series and put out your best serving pieces for this classy do. Maybe even pass around a few of the appetizers, in grand manor style.


Pimm's Cup


Deviled Cucumber Cups

Salt-and-Pepper Gougères

Spiced Beef Tenderloin with Crusty Rolls and Chutney

Yogurt Honey Jelly with Strawberries and Roses (pictured)

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Izakaya party

Japan's answer to tapas—a spread of savory morsels you can't seem to stop eating. Hang up some paper lanterns to set the mood, and bring on the sake, the Kirin lager, and the shochu.


Infused Sake


Yakitori (pictured)

Sesame Spinach Salad

Skillet-Roasted Edamame

Hard-Boiled Quail Eggs with Dipping Sauces

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Diner-style party

When you're thinking comfort food, but not the same-old same-old, here's how to wow your guests.


Brandy Shakes (pictured)

Citrus Kiss


Pine Nut-Salad Spears

Puttanesca Meatball Sliders

Sweet Potato Fries

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Sopranos party

Think big, bold flavors, rich tomato accents, dirty martinis, and lots of red wine to finish it off.


Dirty Martinis

Your favorite red wine


Sicilian Bruschetta

Puttanesca Meatball Sliders (pictured)

Broccoli Rabe Fritto Misto

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Breakfast for dinner party

Get your eggs, sweets, and toast in appetizer style, and enjoy some twists on our favorite breakfast cocktails, the mimosa and the Bloody Mary.


Sea Breeze Mimosa (pictured)

Garden Bloody Mary


Tomato Breakfast Toasts

Mediterranean Deviled Eggs

Cardamom Rolls

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Bollywood party

Queue up Bride and Prejudice and try out your dance moves for this celebration of Indian flavors.


Grapefruit Mimosa (a.k.a. Madras Mimosa)

Frozen Mango Lassi


Spicy Indian Snack Mix

Potato-Chutney Crisps (pictured)

Cauliflower Panko Pakoras

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Vegan party

Here's what to serve when your eco-conscious pals show up to party.



Apple of My Iced Tea


Eggplant with Mint Bruschetta

Spiced Potato and Cauliflower Samosas with Two Chutneys

Tofu Fries with Gingered Ketchup (pictured)

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Prohibition Era party

Slip on a flighty little cocktail dress and some wine-dark lipstick, put on some jazz, and invite your friends over to your very own speakeasy.


Negroni (pictured)


Shrimp Cocktail

Garlic-Stuffed Mushrooms

Blue Cheese Cocktail Crackers

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Chocolate lovers' mini-desserts party

Okay, so it's a little decadent. But hey, you can always skip dinner, right?


Ruby Port Sparklers

Keoke Coffee


Chocolate Chip Shortcakes with Berries and Dark Chocolate Sauce (pictured)

Chocolate Panna Cottas

Chocolate Candied Almonds



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